Category Archives: sports

Okeeheelee Park Wins Venue of the Year From the Florida Sports Foundation

The Florida Sports Foundation, which is the official sports promotion and development organization for the State of Florida, recognized one of Palm Beach County’s premier parks during the annual Florida Sports Summit. The Florida Sports Foundation presented its annual awards to recognize Florida communities and sports commissions for their efforts to cultivate sports tourism in Florida. The awards were presented at the annual Florida Sports Summit, which was held November 8-10.

Okeeheelee Park, which is a Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation venue, has been named the 2021 “Large Market Venue of the Year” by the Florida Sports Foundation. This award is presented annually to Florida’s small, mid, and large market venues that excel in fostering sports development while creating tourism impacts within the state.

Okeeheelee Park is one of the largest parks in south Florida, which covers over 1700 acres. Okeeheelee Park is a catch-all for traditional and action sports. One of the most versatile venues in Palm Beach County, Okeeheelee Park includes eight tennis courts, six pickleball courts, five lighted youth baseball diamonds, four lighted softball diamonds, and four lighted multi-purpose fields that are ideal for soccer, lacrosse, football, rugby, and more. Okeeheelee Park not only contains a 27-hole public championship golf course; it is also one of the few venues in the region with an 18-hole course for disc golf. Five expansive water-skiing lakes allow for professional water-skiing competitions. One of the nation’s premier cable wakeboarding facilities, Shark Wave Park, also resides within Okeeheelee Park. The site also features a premier equestrian venue in the Jim Brandon Equestrian Center and the top-ranked BMX track in Florida, Okeeheelee BMX.

Okeeheelee Park was a launching pad for sports tourism recovery in The Palm Beaches. The Palm Beach County Sports Commission and Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation partnered to host a diverse collection of sports events at Okeeheelee Park over the past year. The first youth sports tournament to take place in Palm Beach County, during a post-Covid-19 era, happened at Okeeheelee Park through baseball. During the year, a variety of youth baseball events, girls fastpitch softball tournaments, soccer showcases, and tennis contests filled the venue while providing an economic and tourism benefit to The Palm Beaches. Okeeheelee Park was also home to a national BMX event in addition to professional and amateur water ski events. The Jim Brandon Equestrian Center hosted national equestrian showjumping events and provided a stage for the Kids Fitness Festival of the Palm Beaches, which introduces Palm Beach County’s youth to a variety of sports.

“The Palm Beach County Sports Commission and Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation have an incredible partnership, which sparked a sports tourism recovery in The Palm Beaches,” said George Linley, Executive Director of the Palm Beach County Sports Commission. “Okeeheelee Park is one of Florida’s most comprehensive and resourceful venues with a sprawling footprint that is a setting for a multitude of sports. Together, the Palm Beach County Sports Commission and Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation utilized Okeeheelee Park to deliver sports tourism products over the past year. We are extremely grateful to the Florida Sports Foundation for recognizing Okeeheelee Park as Florida’s Large Market Venue of the Year.”

“I am very honored that Okeeheelee Park was selected as Sports Venue of the Year by the Florida Sports Foundation,” said Eric Call, Director, Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department. “The park was master-planned in the ’70s-’80s as Palm Beach County’s central park and designed to offer recreation and sports opportunities for both amateur and professional athletes. We’re very proud of the relationship we have established with the Palm Beach County Sports Commission and look forward to collaborating on many more events at Okeeheelee Park in the future.”

Free Fridays at Rick macci Tennis aCademy brings tennis to kids

Palm Beach County residents can enjoy a new amenity inside Burt Aaronson South County Regional Park – the Rick Macci Tennis Academy features newly-renovated tennis and racquetball courts, as well as plans to build indoor tennis courts! The facility now offers a “Free Fridays” program, where kids under the age of five can receive tennis instruction for free. Watch this video to find out more!

Lucky Palm Beach County Golfer Makes Two Holes-In-One

Palm Beach County Golfer Ted Moore makes two holes-in-one at Park Ridge Golf Course

According to GOLF Magazine/golf.com, the odds of making an ace is roughly 1 in 12,500 and the chances of making two aces in one round of golf skyrockets to about 1 in 156 million. Against these odds, Palm Beach County golfer Ted Moore accomplished this amazing feat at Park Ridge Golf Course, in Lake Worth. While playing a weekly skins game at Park Ridge on October 22, Moore made an ace on the par 3-9th hole and then backed it up with another ace on the par 3-16th hole.

After the round, Ted shared, “Yesterday while waiting in the doctor’s office, I picked up GOLF Magazine and one of the things that I happened to read were the odds of making a hole-in-one during a round of golf.” How’s that for some foreshadowing?

Due to course construction the 9th hole was playing from a temporary tee box and the hole measured 125 yards from the blue tees. The 16th hole played 140 yards straight up the hill. It should be noted that Park Ridge is a bit different than most golf courses as it features six par threes, six par fours and six par fives, while most traditional golf courses will feature no more than four par threes. This means Ted chances were slightly higher, but, the occurrence is still extremely unlikely.

PBC PARKS named 2019 Annual FRPA Award Winner for Excellence in Sports Tourism Award

The Florida Recreation and Park Association (FRPA) has awarded Palm Beach County Parks & Recreation as the 2019 recipient of the Excellence in Sports Tourism Award given out at the FRPA Annual Conference held in Orlando. This award recognizes the outstanding work done by the Palm Beach County Parks & Recreation department to advance the park and recreation profession in the area of Sports Tourism. To be considered for this award, a department must be an FRPA member in good standing and nominated by a Florida Sports Foundation Industry Partner in good standing (Regional Sports Commission).

“Sports Tourism is dependent upon partnerships such as the Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation department and the Palm Beach County Sports Commission working toward the common goal of not only continually bringing in repeat events each year, but increasing the scope of those events where possible and working together to identify new events. This award demonstrates just how important it is to have a great parks and recreation system in place in order to boost sports tourism”, says George Linley, Executive Director of the Palm Beach County Sports Commission.

The Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department is committed to engaging the Palm Beach County Sports Commission in order to effectively develop, promote and provide outstanding recreational opportunities and amenities for the purpose of sports tourism. In doing so, this partnership annually contributes over $27 million in economic impact and continues to be a premier destination for sports enthusiasts around the world to “Just Bring Their Game” to Palm Beach County.

“I am extremely proud to have been awarded the 2019 FRPA Excellence in Sports Tourism award. The Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation department prides itself on being a nationally recognized parks and recreation leader that connects people and parks by being the premier outdoor recreation destination in south Florida. By partnering with the Palm Beach County Sports Commission, we ensure that sports enthusiasts from around the world know of, visit and use our parks, and spread the word about the great sporting opportunities here in Palm Beach County.I’m also grateful to the County Commission and our Administration for their unwavering support of the Parks and Recreation Department and the benefits our services generate for the community,” said PBC Parks Director Eric Call.

The Florida Recreation and Park Association annually awards park and recreation agencies, employees, volunteers and partners that have made an impact on their community. Nominees must submit information and details supporting the nomination and a volunteer committee made up of their peers reviews and rates the submissions. The FRPA Awards presentation takes place at the Annual FRPA Conference in August. Winners are presented with a plaque and recognition through the FRPA Journal. More information on the Awards Program can be found at frpa.org/awards.