Twenty-five years since its founding, Heritage Club in Mason continues to hit a hole-in-one with its members, staff and surrounding community.
“We consider ourselves family-friendly and golf-centric,” says Chief Operating Officer and General Manager, Dana Cimorell. “We have one of the best conditioned golf courses and one of the most challenging. While we are not a mega-club, we offer not only golf but tennis, a swimming pool and an amazing social calendar people have really warmed up to.”
More than 600 Heritage Club members took part in a fun-filled, three-day 25th anniversary celebration in August. The special weekend opened with a Friday evening “Back to the 90s” couples’ golf mixer followed by a delicious dinner, and musical entertainment featuring the Real Live Humans. A reception was held Saturday evening featuring cocktails, food stations, circus performers, hot air balloon rides, and more musical entertainment featuring The Remains. Members wrapped up the weekend with a family par-3 tournament followed by a cookout, ice cream served by The Mobile Cone, Looney Ballooney balloon twisters, and a guaranteed children’s favorite — a bounce house.
Eighteen original Heritage Club members were on hand for the big event, Cimorell notes. “We treated them as dignitaries. For me, that’s what made it special, to see the looks on their faces. The party could not have gone any better.”
John Schroeder says he and his wife, Kelly, joined Heritage Club in 1998 for two key reasons.
“First, it offers a challenging championship golf experience one never tires of playing,” Schroeder says. “And the no tee time policy makes for convenient and spur of the moment playing opportunities. Second, while it was a new club when we joined in 1998, we felt a sense of welcoming and family in both the members and in the club staff.”
Schroeder, who served as the first president of Heritage Club’s Board of Trustees, recalls that the board was committed to encouraging and fostering that “all in one family, all in this together, we all must get along” culture.
“I am happy to say that this is an enduring feature of Heritage Club,” he adds.
Throughout the club’s 25-year journey, many improvements have been made to the golf course, the pool and the clubhouse, and improvements will continue to be made to ensure the best in golf and community living, Schroeder notes. “We have now reached our cap of 295 equity members, with a waitlist to join. But most important, we still have that welcoming, family culture that attracted Kelly and I and will continue to attract others into the future.”
It’s no accident that Heritage Club, co-founded by longtime friends Ken Campbell and Bob Rhein in 1996, has come to be heralded as one of the best private country clubs in Cincinnati.
From its inception, Campbell and Rhein were committed to combining the customary traditions of golf with modern, upscale conveniences to ensure members enjoyed the ultimate, unique membership experience.
“Both of us had been members of various private golf courses, so we had a good idea of what we wanted to do from a design standpoint, and what kind of club we wanted to have,” Campbell recalls. “We wanted to attract members who wanted a strong golf experience.”
And they wanted to be sensitive to the staff’s needs.
They immediately established a club policy stating the Heritage Club would be closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and they started a Christmas Eve Eve Dinner tradition for members each Dec. 23 so all staff could spend more time with their families during the holidays. “As members of other private clubs and courses, we saw too many staff sacrificing too much family time for members,” Campbell says. “The neat thing is the members really enjoy having that family time on Christmas Eve, too. We’ve never seen anything like it at any club we’ve belonged to. It’s been great.”
But Heritage Club’s concern for their staff’s well-being doesn’t start and stop with the holidays.
In 2011, longtime Heritage Club member Don Greer passed away at the young age of 48. His family — also Heritage Club members — and his friends created the Don Greer Heritage Club Memorial Scholarship Fund to benefit employees and their dependents. Each year the scholarship committee hosts a golf outing and dinner reception, generously supported by the club’s membership and Greer’s friends and family. Since its inception, the Don Greer Memorial Scholarship Fund has provided 61 scholarships totaling $308,000.
This year’s event, in observation of the scholarship fund’s 10th anniversary, was held Sept. 10, featuring a dinner reception, silent and live auctions, and recognition of the eight 2021 Don Greer Scholarship recipients.
About five years ago, Heritage Club created the “Angel Fund” for emergency relief for staff members during times of hardship. The fund is built solely on members’ donations. The fund was recently renamed the Deb Edmonds Angel Fund in memory of the 23-year dining staff member who lost her battle with cancer. The fund had been utilized to help Edmonds during chemotherapy treatments.
The Christmas Eve Eve Dinner, the Don Greer Scholarship Fund, the Deb Edmonds Angel Fund — all are made possible through the generous and caring Heritage Club members, according to Chin Lin, certified public accountant and Heritage Club Controller, who also happens to be one of the longest-tenured club employees.
“I enjoy working here because it feels like a big family,” Lin says. “Members never hesitate to contribute to help out when staff are in need. In addition, my colleagues are the best in their league. They make Heritage Club a special place to work. I am fortunate to be part of the team.”
Other events are held throughout the year at Heritage Club in support of various philanthropic foundations around the Queen City, including Junior Achievement, Children’s Heart Hospital and Paying It Forward.
“We like to do our part helping those in need in Cincinnati,” Cimorell says.
Some people may think that golf and other social activities at Heritage Club begin winding down in the fall. Not so, says Cimorell.
“Sometimes, if the ground isn’t frozen, they’re still golfing through December. We do close in January – sometimes it’s frozen, sometimes it’s not – because we have to be careful with the greens.”
A couple of popular upcoming social events for Heritage Club members include the Halloween-themed Family Freak Out (an indoor/outdoor haunted house and festival), soon followed by the annual Thanksgiving Feast.
Great Golf, Family Celebrations, Lifelong Friendships
“Golf courses are not static,” says Campbell. “They can and do change with time. Number one, vegetation grows. More importantly, equipment has changed. Golf balls have changed. Golf balls fly a lot longer than when I took up the game 45 years ago. Clubs are much more forgiving. [Golf course] construction and maintenance equipment have changed. And lastly, agronomy. We are so much more advanced in agronomy
and the different kinds of grasses that can withstand drought and various infestations.”
Thankfully, Heritage Club’s course was designed by P.B. Dye, a third-generation golf course architect and son of legendary golf course designer Pete Dye. With more than 50 courses to his name, P.B. Dye is considered one of the game’s most talented designers.
“Over the years, since Heritage Club’s first holes opened, P.B. Dye was here personally to supervise ongoing modifications, some simple, some involved,” Campbell says. “Heritage Club is fortunate to have a designer with such talent and tradition behind him.”
Clearly, it’s been a quarter century worth celebrating.
“Every day at Heritage Club is different. That’s what drew me here,” Cimorell says. “The members’ stories about the weddings, celebratory functions and family gatherings … I was in the hotel business, and while hotel guests come and go, here at Heritage Club, members become family; they become lifelong friends.”
Heritage Club — just as its co-founders envisioned it — continues to be about more than just getting the lowest golf score.
“It’s a different feeling here,” Cimorell says. “Heritage Club offers special moments you can’t get anywhere else.”
Heritage Club is located at 6690 Heritage Club Drive, Mason, Ohio 45040. For more information, call 513-459-7711 or visit heritageclub.com