Although a recent Bloomberg study indicates the business of golf is slowly rebounding, many local Chicago golf courses are continuing to face challenges at the start of the 2012 golf season. Included among those being affected by the downturn in rounds played are park district-owned golf courses in Naperville and Lisle, which have been cutting costs to stay afloat.
According to a recent TribLocal report, Springbrook Golf Course and Naperbrook Golf Course, both owned and managed by the Naperville Park District, have seen their total rounds played per year drop by about 15% since 2007. Despite continued belt-tightening, the Park District continues to lose money from their investment.
River Bend Golf Club in Lisle is a challenging nine-hole track located on Route 53 that is owned by the Lisle Park District. Rounds played at River Bend have also been declining annually and are down approximately 18% since 2007.
The Lisle park district has been working to bring more golfers to the course by starting new initiatives like a rewards program and Wednesday morning ladies league. River Bend Golf Course will also be co-hosting a cross-town golf outing with Downers Grove in August that should help expose the course to a wider potential audience.
All three golf courses are also offering new programs to help attract younger golfers to the game of golf. Golf participation among younger players has mirrored the overall decline in participation that has taken place since the downturn in the economy beginning in 2007.
On a positive note, Chicago Golf course owners have already been receiving cooperation from mother nature this year in the form of an extremely mild winter that has produced a drastic upturn in the playable golf days for 2012. Many local golf courses opened in mid-March this year, approximately a month early, to take advantage of the warm temperatures and splendid conditions for golf.
Springbrook Golf Course
2220 West 83rd St
Naperbrook Golf Course
22204 W 111th St
River Bend Golf Course
5900 State Route 53