Change at CPD


Need for Change at Chicago Golf Courses

 The City of Chicago owns an urban, municipal golf course and driving range portfolio conveniently located within the city limits – some with magnificent views of Lake Michigan and the city skyline, others with rich, cultural history.   The conditions of the seven golf courses and high traffic ranges had steadily deteriorated over the past several years.  Guests noticed a sharp decline in service and amenities. The city did what many municipalities and county boards have done in tighter economic times – issued an RFP looking for help to manage the portfolio.  

Immediate Project 

Billy Casper Golf had already established a reputation as a high-quality golf course operator with more than a dozen successful operations in the Chicagoland market. This leader among management firms was the obvious answer for CPD.  BCG’s aggressive proposal to operate the golf courses for 15 years won the highly competitive bid.  The team found that plenty of work lay ahead:

  • Develop long-term agronomic plan to improve turf conditions on fairways, tees, and greens
  • Undertake high level training in superior guest service, using BCG’s exclusive ACE™ The Guest Experience Program
  • Design comprehensive retail purchasing plan to reduce COGS and move more merchandise  
  • Overhaul Food & Beverage operations
  • Build new or restructure current operating systems
  • Create new player development programs and events
  • Rebrand the courses as the Chicago Park District
  • Start aggressive marketing campaign to bring new players to the game and renew relationships with golfers who had gone elsewhere

The top BCG management team oversaw this highly visible project in a major city. The entire golf industry watched the progress unfold:

  • Highly respected agronomists dramatically improved course conditions, sometimes using inexpensive solutions producing maximum results.
  • BCG’s retail experts stocked the golf shops and moved merchandise.
  • Top level chefs and F&B operators re-configured snack bars, introduced new value-priced menus, and revitalized on-course beverage service.
  • Golfers now found well-trained, helpful employees welcoming them back to the re-branded “Chicago Park District Golf.”  They noticed! 
Far exceeded the city’s expectations...Golfers noticed: “Jackson Park is the best public course in the city...These courses offer 9 or 18 holes at a great price.


CPD Graph

The immediate improvement of financial results in the first year of BCG management was staggering.  In the first year, the portfolio experienced a 30% increase in rounds played and revenue over prior years.   Perhaps just as importantly, the team sustained and increased the new rounds and revenue levels.