In the current golf course climate, which reflects the overall economic climate, we see among our clients a heightened interest in using design and renovation to maintain and (re)build brand/reputation. This seems especially important for public entities which rely on their golf facility to anchor their recreation portfolio. Case in point: Poplar Creek Country Club, the sole golf entity for the Hoffman Estates Park District (Illinois). The course lends itself to more than just golf, hosting banquets, weddings, fundraising events, community outreach programs and other critical Park District functions.
So any threat to this facility threatens the district itself. Therein lies the problem, the course sits in a floodplain, surrounded by development. As that development has grown thicker, any sort of rain event wreaks havoc on the course; mulitple holes can be rendered unplayable for days at a time. The result is a bad reputation and a deterent to those looking to book the course for a golfing event or a simple round with friends. Without a viable golf component, the property would quickly become an unviable operation.
Instead of waiting for that demise, the HEPD hired us to help in turning about Poplar Creek's reputation, namely by reinventing its brand. With the help of The Bruce Co., we will expand the course's water holding capacity by creating a giant system of ponds, while lifting up those fairways that previous flooded. We did largely the same thing down the road in Wheeling at the Traditions at Chevy Chase, a course that - like Poplar Creek - used to be a tired, soggy muni. That effort, combined with a host of other brand upgrades, changed the face of their golf course.
What Midwestern courses strike you as most needing this sort of brand makeover? We'd love to hear some stories about similar efforts, good or bad.
For more on the Poplar Creek story, see article in the Golf Course Industry Magazine e-newsletter.