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Officials promote new Ohio Professional Golf Trail as part of state’s tourism recovery

The Plain Dealer  Cleveland logo The Plain Dealer Cleveland 5/3/2021 Susan Glaser, cleveland.com

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Tourism officials are hoping that golf plays a key role in Ohio’s tourism recovery in 2021, as the state hosts six professional tournaments this summer.

Officials on Monday unveiled the new Ohio Professional Golf Trail, which kicks off this month with the annual Memorial Tournament outside Columbus and ends in September in Toledo with the biennial Solheim Cup, featuring the best female golfers in the United States competing against a team from Europe.

“It’s the biggest event in women’s professional golf,” said Solheim Cup director Becky Newell, a long-time LPGA executive and native of northwest Ohio. “It’s going to be a huge, spectacular event.”

She suggested that even non-golfers might be interested in the competition surrounding the Solheim Cup, which is held in the United States every four years and will run Aug. 31-Sept. 6 at the private Inverness Club in Toledo. “It’s all about the red, white and blue, “ she said. “It’s all about supporting your country. It’s about spirit and camaraderie.”

The creation of TourismOhio’s golf trail is designed to draw attention to the tournaments, which also include the Prasco Charity Championship near Cincinnati, the Bridgestone Senior Players Championship in Akron, the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship in Columbus and the Marathon LPGA Classic outside Toledo.

A stop at the Jack Nicklaus Museum in Columbus is also included on the trail, as are recommendations on places to stay, dine and other, nearby attractions.

“We are very excited to be able to show off some of the best golf that the world has to offer,” said Lydia Mihalik, director of the Ohio Development Services Agency. “These tournaments are going to highlight the state’s great golf courses, as well as showcase our communities as travel destinations that visitors are going to want to return to again and again.”

The new golf trail is part of the state’s broader effort to rebuild the tourism economy, after a devastating year in 2020.

Mihalik said TourismOhio this week is launching a $4 million campaign to help promote the state to eager travelers who have been cooped up at home for a year.

The state campaign includes a broader message than in previous years, targeting not only potential visitors but also people who might consider relocating to Ohio.

One ad, for example, called “Reach for the Top,” showcases not only Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Dayton Air Show, but also the Cleveland Clinic, Lakewood Public Library and GE Aviation’s Peebles Test Operation in Adams County. The ad closes with the line, “If you can dream it, you can find it here.”

Earlier this year, Governor Mike DeWine proposed spending $50 million of federal COVID-relief money on a campaign that would seek to boost the Ohio’s declining population, particularly among young, mobile workers. The Ohio House version of the budget, passed last month, omitted the $50 million campaign, but Mihalik said the broader goal of promoting the state as a place to live, learn, work and play would be pursued.

“If we get a chance to expand the campaign beyond what we’ve proposed at this point, we’ll do that,” she said.

Read more:

Floating tents, Harding presidential library, John Glenn centennial: What’s new in Ohio travel for 2021

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