Northbrook Park District

For nearly 90 years, Sportsman’s Country Club operated as a municipal golf course in Northbrook, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. Yet its two courses, facility and brand name were tired and in need of a reboot.

Northbrook Park District undertook a multi-million-dollar facility renovation that included a new brand to be developed by a5 Branding & Digital.

a5 worked with a team of eight, including two board members, and six staff members, on the rebrand.

We employed a robust engagement process that included 20 interviews, four focus groups, two site visits and secondary market research.

During that research and engagement phase, it became clear that a new name was in order. Working with the Northbrook Park District team, a5 came up with dozens of new name options organized into five categories.

The name Heritage Oaks Golf Club was chosen because the course features many oak trees, including several Heritage Oaks. The course is also Audubon-certified, an important environmental designation.

We then developed a half dozen graphic identity concepts. The chosen logo is a distinctive acorn topped with a golf tee resembles a woodcut image. (It also appears to be a person’s head with a hat perched atop.)

The new name and graphic identity were applied to signage, merchandise and more. We also named the restaurant Acorn Grill + Terrace and developed the corresponding graphic identity.

The result? The Northbrook Park District has been extremely pleased with the outcome of the rebrand. The comments and feedback received — and continue to receive — from golfers and the community at large have been extraordinary. Positive feedback along with the data support the effectiveness of the campaign.

The following figures, provided by our client, are based on anticipated 2022 end-of-year revenues and are compared to 2019 which was the last full year of operations prior to renovation: