By Michael Pramik
Posted On: Jun 7, 2021
The amenities surrounding this summer's Prasco Charity Championship at TPC River's Bend are well-known to Ohioans, even if the event might not be.
The women's professional golf tournament is a stop on the Symetra Tour, the official qualifying circuit of the LPGA Tour. The junior tour is in its 41st season and has a mission of preparing the best young women golfers to play with the best of the best.
This is the third year for the Prasco Charity Championship, to be held June 25-27. It's in its third year, and it's in the middle of one of Ohio's most-visited entertainment regions. The course is in the Warren County village of Maineville, about five miles from Kings Island Amusement Park and Great Wolf Lodge in Mason, and a short drive from the classic Golden Lamb Restaurant and Hotel in Lebanon.
Thanks to the support of Symetra, an insurance company based near Seattle, the tour has grown from 16 tournaments and $1.7 million in prize money to $4 million being awarded this year. The tour has had 600 former players move on to the LPGA.
Admission to the tournament is free.
TPC River's Bend
A lot of Ohioans might be unfamiliar with this excellent course 25 miles northwest of Cincinnati, which doesn't boast the type of history as do revered courses such as Muirfield, Firestone South or Inverness. But Golf Digest labeled it one of the top 10 private clubs to open in 2001 and has consistently called it one of Ohio's best.
It's also Ohio's only Tournament Player's Club layout, courses that the PGA Tour operates. The Arnold Palmer design opened in 2001, on a hillside perched above the Little Miami River. It's a winding, scenic walk in the woods, its impressive natural features garnering recognition by Audubon International as an Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary.
River's Bend has been the site of professional tournaments on the Champions Tour and the Web.com Tour, and since 2017 has been host to the Big Ten Women's Golf Championships.
What To Do
It's a year away from its 50th anniversary, but Kings Island never seems to grow old. It's a family-friendly amusement park in a woodsy setting that offers a noted kid's section in addition to thrills for adults.
The biggest new name is Orion, a giga coaster that opened during the July 4 weekend last year. At $30 million, it's the park's largest investment ever, and a worthy complement to The Beast, the world's longest wooden coaster. Orion starts riders off with a sharp climb to a 300-foot drop, then propels them along seven more hills and more than 5,000 feet of track at a top speed of 91 miles per hour.
Kings Island also has built a reputation for kid-friendliness. That's apparent in Planet Snoopy, a spacious park section that has two coasters that parents can ride with their children. Its well-loved blue ice cream often draws long lines.
Kings Island has other thrill rides, including Diamondback, Banshee and the indoor Flight of Fear. Those wishing for a slower pace can take off on the K.I. & Miami Valley Railroad, drive a classic touring car at the Kings Mills Antique Autos ride or get an expansive view of the park at the top of the replica Eiffel Tower.
New in 2021 is Camp Cedar, a luxury campground located a mile away from the park. It boasts plenty of modern amenities, such as comfy accommodations, luxury RV sites and a multitude of activities.
Where To Eat
Ohio's oldest inn is just a few miles away from River's Bend, in the pleasant, venerable city of Lebanon. The Golden Lamb has been at the town's center since 1803 and continues its glorious past as an inn and restaurant.
This 17-room inn has welcomed a dozen presidents, countless stars of stage and screen, and lots of regular folks since Jonas Seaman sauntered in from New Jersey at the beginning of the 19th century and plunked down four bucks for license to open a public house.
It's been operated by the Jones family since the mid-1920s, when Robert Jones and his wife, Virginia, turned it into a destination. Today, it's in the hands of retiring Ohio Sen. Rob Portman and his siblings, grandchildren of the Joneses.
Dining at The Golden Lamb is a comforting experience, from the classic, unpretentious menu to the jar of complimentary mints on the checkout counter in the well-furnished lobby. Here you can enjoy hearty entrees such as roast turkey, braised lamb, Shepherd’s pie, prime rib and fried chicken. The Lamb also has a line of burgers and sandwiches, sliders, appetizers and desserts.
The menu also is available in the Black Horse Tavern bar, a communal drinking and dining space that perhaps best embodies the spirit of the original public house. In 2019 it was renovated to expand the seating area to the outdoors.
Where To Stay
Great Wolf Lodge, located next to Kings Island, is one of the state's premiere indoor waterparks. And this year it's ready to show off an $8 million upgrade completed in late 2019, a few months before the coronavirus crisis forced it to pare back.
The renovation changed the design of Great Wolf, which opened in 2006, from a log cabin theme to a more modern Northwoods look and feel. The operations are much the same – to provide families with indoor, watery fun.
With 401 guest suites, Great Wolf has several room types for various group sizes. They all include entrance to the water park, which has attractions for all ages, from the four-story Alberta Falls tube adventure to the lazy Crooked Creek raft ride, to the outdoor Raccoon Lagoon, which is reopening in 2021.
New this year is an all-in-one package that for one price offers discounted rooms, a food-and-beverage credit, and several games credits. Check with the lodge on the latest requirements regarding COVID-19 protocols.
Where To Play
Shaker Run Golf Course in Lebanon has been voted the top playable course in the greater Dayton area. A glance at the architects tells you why.
Toledo native Arthur Hills designed Shaker Run's original 18 holes in 1979. Hills, who passed away in May at age 91, was one of the top architects of the game. He designed more than 200 public and private courses, including one of Ohio's top public layouts – the former Longaberger Golf Club, now called The Virtues Golf Club, near Newark.
Shaker Run's other nine holes (added in 1999) are the work of the former Columbus-based architect team of Michael Hurdzan and Dana Fry.
The original 18 holes, set in a mature, wooded valley, is one of Ohio's top public courses. It has held senior tournament qualifiers as well as an Ohio Amateur Championship and the U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship.