Jonathan Penney, president of the Cincinnati Curling Club, slides a stone down the ice toward concentric circles known as “the house” in a demonstration of the sport. The Cincinnati Curling Club is opening the first dedicated curling only facility in the tri-state area at 5150 Duff Drive in West Chester Twp. The former warehouse includes three lanes. ERIC SCHWARTZBERG/STAFF
Photo: Eric Schwartzberg
Photo: Eric Schwartzberg

This former West Chester warehouse is now a unique curling-only facility

The Cincinnati Curling Club is opening the first dedicated “curling only” facility in the tri-state area at 5150 Duff Drive in West Chester Twp. The former warehouse includes three lanes.

Since its inception in 2012, the Cincinnati Curling Club has rented and borrowed ice time on hockey rinks in the Greater Cincinnati area, according to Jonathan Penney, the club’s president and founding member. But those venues couldn’t provide the level ice needed for the sport.

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“It was a lot of effort and a lot of work and often the quality of play is just not good enough, not like you see on TV,” said Penney, who is a master curling ice maker. “With dedicated curling facilities, we’re able to take the time, scrape the ice properly and get it level right from the beginning … and you’ll get better quality of play for the membership.”

Curling involves four players sliding a 40 pound stone down a 140-foot sheet of ice to score points inside of four circles called “the house.” Whichever team scores the most points after eight ends of play wins the game.

“It’s got some strategy to it,” he said. “Placement of those rocks, how do I outmaneuver my opponent … A lot of people call it ‘chess on ice.’”

The sport, which is played on rubber-soled shoes, includes participants from a wide variety of groups, Penney said.

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“It’s a pretty accessible game,” he said. “It really draws in a lot of science-minded people. There’s a wide variety of professions that get involved in the sport.”

The sport’s popularity has increased following the gold medal earned by Team USA in the 2018 Olympics, Penney said.

The nearly 12,000-square foot facility features world-class curling ice construction for its more than 100 members, who hail from as far south as Hebron, Independence and Fort Mitchell, Kentucky, and as far north as Tipp City.

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It also is expected to help the club double its numbers to more than 200 members and allow it to offer corporate events to help grow the sport.

The Cincinnati Curling Club offers “Learn to Curl” classes and curling leagues for all levels of play. Upcoming Learn to Curl sessions, which cost $45, include 8:30 p.m. today, 6:15 p.m. Nov. 20, 1 p.m. Nov. 30. and 10 a.m. Dec. 14. All equipment is provided.

Being a member costs $550 per year and allows a person to play in as many leagues as they wish, as well as clinics with World Championship athletes.

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