Since the very first days of the company’s founding, KemperSports has managed municipal golf courses owned by all forms of government agencies. In fact, KemperSports’ very first management client was Vernon Hills Golf Course, a nine-hole facility owned by the Village of Vernon Hills and affectionately known as “The Muni” by its many devoted golfers. Nearly forty years later, with a portfolio of golf facilities that rank amongst some of the best in the world, KemperSports still proudly manages Vernon Hills Golf Course and many other municipal facilities throughout the country. KemperSports is dedicated to combining its love for the game with its operating expertise to grow the game at some of the nation’s top-performing municipally owned courses.
KemperSports manages dozens of municipal golf courses across the U.S., some of them which rank among the best municipal golf courses in the country, including:
- Chambers Bay, owned by Pierce County, WA
- Desert Willow, owned by the City of Palm Desert, CA
- Harborside International Golf Center, owned by the Illinois International Port District in Chicago, IL
- Butterfield Trail Golf Club, owned by the City of El Paso, TX
- Ash Brook and Galloping Hill Golf Courses, owned by Union County, New Jersey
- Bolingbrook Golf Club, owned by the Village of Bolingbrook, IL
Among its work with municipal golf courses, none has been higher-profile than Chambers Bay in University Place, Washington, host of the 2015 United States Open. The Chambers Bay project began when Pierce County Washington looked to transform a series of gravel quarries along the Puget Sound into a world class golf course designed to attract golfers from around the world and capable of hosting a national championship. Following a national search, Pierce County selected KemperSports to help bring its vision to life, based on KemperSports’ rich history working with municipal clients and in developing world-class golf destinations.
From the beginning, KemperSports knew that a world-class golf course by itself would not be enough to align the development with all of the goals of the County, so they recommended environmentally friendly practices, including reclaimed water irrigation systems, organic fertilizer and Audubon Society certification. Additionally, the Chambers Bay development included miles of hiking and walking paths, parks, and picnic areas for all visitors to enjoy.
KemperSports worked with the United States Golf Association to assist Pierce County with its goal of hosting high profile events at Chambers Bay. The USGA provided guidance during the development of the facility, with the end goal being that the golf course and related infrastructure would be world-class and capable of hosting the biggest events in golf. All this work paid off much sooner than expected when, less than eight months after Chambers Bay opened, the USGA announced that Chambers Bay would host the 2010 U.S. Amateur and, a few short years later – one of golf’s four majors, the 2015 U.S. Open.
The U.S. Open at Chambers Bay was a resounding success, with Jordan Spieth claiming the victory for his second major championship. The event was also a financial boon for Chambers Bay and Pierce County – resulting in an overall economic impact to the area of $134 Million. According to Pierce County executive Pat McCarthy, this event fulfilled the County’s initial vision because “the overarching theme when developing Chambers Bay was to build a course that would attract tourism and benefit the fiscal health of the county.” Chambers Bay proudly hosted the first U.S. Open in the Pacific Northwest and only the third to be played on a municipally-owned golf course (after only Bethpage Black and Torrey Pines). In another first, Chambers Bay was the first U.S. Open host course to be managed by a third-party management firm.
In addition to helping Pierce County realize its major championship vision, KemperSports has been involved in all aspects of pre-construction planning, construction, and operations of the facility. Beyond the great golf, Chambers Bay also boasts award-winning contemporary restaurants and some of the most picturesque wedding backdrops in all of Washington. KemperSports proudly assists Pierce County in continually improving Chambers Bay and helping to create one of the most unique destinations in golf. Pat McCarthy again credits KemperSports’ involvement stating that, “KemperSports has been part of Chambers Bay success from the beginning. We value what KemperSports has brought to Pierce County and credit their dedicated service as a big reason Chambers Bay is already a world-class facility.”
From Chambers Bay to Vernon Hills, KemperSports understands how to execute the vision of its municipal clients and help their facilities be “Best in Class.” This is why municipal owners continually seek help and guidance from KemperSports in achieving their properties’ visions and goals.