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Butler County golf courses tourism boon

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A beautiful view of the Par 3, No. 3 hole at Cranberry Highlands Golf Course, one of the Butler County Tourism and Convention Bureau’s member courses. The number and quality of golf courses in Butler County are a major tourism draw. Butler Eagle File Photo

The promotion of Butler County and its amenities is the goal. Teeing off on one of the many courses the area has to offer is a pretty good place to start.

“Golf is a pretty big industry for Butler County, just because of the quality of golf courses that we have in the area, as well as the quantity of them and popularity of the game,” Butler County Tourism and Convention Bureau communications manager Jeff Martinelli said. “We try to do what we can to bring some folks into Butler County in different ways to experience some golf courses around here.”

Martinelli said that the Butler County Tourism and Convention Bureau has about 10 golf members. Those include Butler’s Aubrey’s Dubbs Dred Golf Course and Conley Resort and Golf Club, Sarver’s Buffalo Golf Course, Cranberry Highlands Golf Course, Slippery Rock Golf Club and Events Center, and Harmony’s Strawberry Ridge Golf Course.

Butler Country Club and Gibsonia’s Treesdale Country Club are also members. While they are private clubs, they do sponsor golf outings, weddings, and events — much like the others.

Such occasions attract local tourists in neighboring counties, and Martinelli said that one of the strengths of the golf courses in the county are their abilities to hold events of the like.

A budding partnership with the Penn-Ohio Golf Trail, which the Butler County Tourism and Convention Bureau got involved with while attending an out-of-state golf show recently, is another tool Martinelli and company are using to draw visitors.

“That’s something that we really just started working with as far as trying to increase the promotion of golf packages into Butler County,” Martinelli said. “In addition to promoting things through our social media and our website, we’ll do other things as far as going to golf shows to try to bring people from neighboring states into Butler to play.

“The whole idea is just really to raise that awareness of Butler County, our location, and how that benefits golfers.”

The Penn-Ohio Golf Trail — which also has destinations in Erie, Cleveland, Canton, and Youngstown — sets up packages for those who want to visit and try their hand at a couple golf courses in the county over the course of a weekend, including lodging and eating

“However they want to set up, they’ll work with those customers that are interested in doing it,” Martinelli said. “If we know that they’re coming, we’ll give them the information on area hotels, area restaurants — things that go along those lines — to make their stay a little bit better.”

Martinelli is a resident of South Fayette Township, which is nearby TopGolf. Butler County has its own non-traditional golf attractions.

“Golf has become a little bit more popular than just playing golf,” he said. “There’s The Turn Club in Cranberry, which also offers golf simulators. There’s All About Golf (in Franklin Township) and then there’s the Mars-Bethel Golf course, which is a Par 3 and a great spot to get out and get kids in the game.

“It’s a great sport to take up and getting involved, however you do it — it can be a little intimidating, for sure — but it’s just a great activity.”

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