GLENWOOD | Success in booking golf outings and social events in the clubhouse of the village-owned Glenwoodie Golf Course has led to the village's recent decision to hire an architect to draw up plans for an additional building to accommodate more events.
The new clubhouse, which can serve a wedding party of about 450 people, was dedicated in July 2011. The former clubhouse did not have banquet facilities.
The village sold bonds to pay for the new clubhouse. The total cost of the project, including the new parking lot and cart paths, was about $3 million.
Glenwoodie's recent success seems to be largely a result of not only the picturesque views provided by the new clubhouse, but also the hiring of Tim Donohoe, who serves as both general manager and executive chef.
Donohoe worked off and on for 30 years at the popular Glenwood Oaks restaurant, where he served as chef and general manager after working his way up from a dishwasher position in high school.
He was brought on as chef at Glenwoodie in April 2012 and became general manager in July 2012.
Donohoe said in the past, outside caterers had to be brought in for parties, but doing food preparation in-house provides a better price for those who book engagements.
"Since Tim has been here managing this facility, it is the first time since the village bought this, that the village is actually in the black on operating the facility," Village President Kerry Durkin said.
Glenwood bought the 18-hole, par 72 golf course from the Archdiocese of Chicago in 1996.
Donohoe said the past fiscal year, which ran from May through April, was financially the best the golf course has ever had. He said $1.8 million in revenues resulted in the course operating "somewhere between $136,000 and $150,000 in the black."
"It was the first year that we did not use taxpayer money to pay any debt that's owed by the course," he said.
Durkin said revenues for the golf course had typically run between $1.15 million and $1.25 million, while expenses to operate the course usually ran about the same.
But the old clubhouse only hosted golf outings.
Donohoe told the Village Board last month the clubhouse's two banquet rooms have proved insufficient to handle the amount of event requests being received, and thus the need for a new building to allow for a third venue.
"We've turned down a lot of weddings," Donohoe said. "We've turned down a lot of anniversaries because we've already got parties booked in those rooms."
Donohoe said there were probably only two events booked every three weeks when he came to Glenwoodie, but now they are averaging 4.75 events a week.
"I've got probably four to five weddings every month between July and October," he said.
Donohoe feels the popularity of Glenwoodie is on the rise in part because of a fresh look, an attractive new pro shop and positive referrals.
In addition to the probable addition of a new building, Durkin said additional parking will be needed.
Donohoe said the golf course itself is still being enhanced, and that there has been talk of adding fountains in the course lakes. He also spoke of installing a gazebo outside for weddings.
"Glenwoodie has always been, it's even more so now, a hidden gem," Donohoe said. "It's just a beautiful place."