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World class golf tournaments are a rarity in the Midwest, something which makes the upcoming Four Winds Invitational in South Bend a special event.

Factor in a spectacular casino, the Chicago Cubs Class-A minor league affiliate, the University of Notre Dame, and the charms of a college town, and you have the makings of a memorable late-spring family outing.

Whether you decide to take a scenic ride aboard the historic South Shore Line to South Bend, or pack up the car for the hour and a half drive, the Friday, June 7, through Sunday, June 9, tournament at the Blackthorn Golf Club in South Bend holds attractions for everyone.

There are special events being held the week leading up to the golf tournament itself, some of which benefit Beacon Children’s Hospital in South Bend.

The Four Winds Invitational was established in 2012 as part of the Symetra Tour – Road to the LPGA. The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians and Four Winds Casinos are the title sponsors.

The Symetra Tour is the official qualifying tour of the LPGA Tour. The mission is to prepare the world’s finest young women professional golfers for a career on the LPGA Tour.

Since 2012, the tour has grown from 16 tournaments and $1.7-million in prize money to 24 tournaments and $4-million in prize money.

The tour attracts female golfers from over 30 countries to compete throughout the year. At the tour’s conclusion, the top 10 money winners are invited to become members of the national LPGA Tour. Former Symetra Tour players have captured 437 LPGA championships.

Tournament week festivities begin on Monday, June 3, with the fifth annual nine-hole Daddy-Daughter Pro-Am Tournament starting at 5 p.m. (EDT).

Each dad and daughter twosome will be joined by a future star of the LPGA. Hot dogs and ice cream will be served. Registration is $50 per player and $100 for a father-daughter team with all proceeds benefiting Beacon Children’s Hospital in South Bend.

On Wednesday, June 5, the Ladies Golf 101 Clinic will take place from 5 to 7 p.m. It will feature instruction from LPGA Symetra professionals, practice, a champagne bar, appetizers, and a Q&A with Symetra players.

Sponsored by The Inn at Saint Mary’s, Hampton Inn & Suites, Hilton Garden, and the Gillespie Conference Center, the cost is $40 per person.

On Thursday, June 6, there will be a Grapes on the Green Wine/Food Tasting starting at 5 p.m. Guests drive golf carts along the course and stop for special wine or food tastings at each hole. It ends with a party on the green with live music provided by Shake N’ Chill.

Sponsored by Panzica Building Corporation, the cost is $100 per pair, two people per cart, with all proceeds benefiting Beacon Children’s Hospital.

The tournament itself begins with Round 1 on Friday, June 7, and Round 2 on Saturday, June 8. The final round is set for Sunday, June 9. The main tournament admission is free courtesy of Martin’s Super Markets.

A special part of the final round of competition on Sunday is the “KidZone” family day from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. Highlights include Wings, Etc., KidZone at the Pavilion with crafts, activities, hot dogs and ice cream, golf games, and other free activities. It is open to the public.

For more information about the Four Winds Invitational and registration for the special events, please contact Ben Mesaros of Blackthorn Golf Club at 574-232-4653, email ben@blackthornoperatinggroup.com, or visit fourwindsinvitational.com.


BLUE CHIP: Fans of the late country-western music legend Johnny Cash won’t want to miss the “Man in Black Tribute” show on June 1 at 8 p.m. in the Stardust Event Center. Internationally renowned Johnny Cash impersonator, Shawn Barker, has perfected his role with over 15 years of performances around the world. Tickets are $15, $25, and $35 and available through ticketmaster.com or at the Blue Chip Gift Box in the casino pavilion. Fans can win a prize package with the “Man in Black” that includes a pair of front row tickets, an overnight hotel stay June 1, and a $100 voucher for dinner for two at any Blue Chip dining venue by entering at BlueChipCasino.com/MIB19 through Saturday (May 18). The winner will be notified via email on May 20.

HARRAH’S JOLIET: Play your way to the “#MyCaesarsRewards Giveaway” this month for your chance to drive home in a brand new 2019 Ford Mustang. Fifteen winners will be drawn at the finale at 7 p.m. on Sunday, May 26, one of whom will win the car. You will receive one additional entry for every 25 Tier Credits earned through the day of the promotion. On Tuesday (May 21) Caesar’s Rewards player’s club members can earn five-times entries for their slot and table game play.

MAJESTIC STAR: The “Pitching Promo Cash” promotion is being held at the Gary property every Saturday this month from 6 to 9 p.m. Four winners every hour will receive up to three chances to pitch a ball to the catcher. The first successful throw wins a prize on the big Prize Wheel for a chance to win $250 to $1,000 in Promo Cash. The grand prize drawing at 10 p.m. includes a $5,000 Promo Cash bonus prize.

HOLLYWOOD JOLIET: The $100,000 “Spring into Luxury” headlines the May promotional line-up with the next drawings scheduled for May 18, May 25, and June 1. Marquee Rewards members have a chance to win a share of $100,000 cash or free slot play. Swipe your card at the promotional kiosk to receive one complimentary entry every day. Earn additional tier-based entries for your play. Earn two-times entries every Tuesday. Five winners will be selected every hour from 4 to 9 p.m. on promotional days to select an envelope from the game board. At the grand final drawing on June 1, a drawing will be held at 9 p.m. to select the winner of $15,000 cash and $10,150 in free slot play.

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Opinions are solely those of the writer. Reach him at jgbrokopp1@gmail.com.