Kildeer wants world to know it's home to Kemper Lakes
What's in a name? Kildeer officials hope theirs gets to bask in a national and international spotlight when the KPMG Women's PGA Championship begins play Thursday at Kemper Lakes Golf Club.
After all, Long Grove's name often has been associated with the prestigious course since it opened in the 1970s, even though Kemper Lakes never has been within that village's boundaries.
Having spent time in unincorporated Lake County, Hawthorn Woods and now Kildeer, Kemper Lakes' actual location frequently causes confusion. Even a current directory of course profiles from the Illinois PGA lists Kemper Lakes in Long Grove.
But Kildeer Chief Village Officer Michael Talbett hopes the confusion ends with the KPMG Championship. Kildeer annexed Kemper Lakes Golf Club and nearby residential properties in 2005, and the Kildeer name is featured in advertising and everything else connected to KPMG tournament.
"This is something that the village really wants to promote because, unlike some other places, Kildeer is a residential community," Talbett said. "We don't really have a downtown. So, the golf course and this event gives us some identity."
National and international media will cover the tourney, meaning stories should have a Kildeer dateline for out-of-town audiences. Golf Channel and NBC announcers would be expected to periodically inform their audiences the women's PGA championship is airing from Kildeer during the four days of coverage.
Talbett said village officials mentioned the importance of name recognition for Kildeer to tournament organizers.
"We would jokingly say, 'And remember, Kildeer only has one 'L' so they don't misspell it, because that happens quite a bit as well," he added.
John Golz, director of membership and marketing at Kemper Lakes, said the pro shop occasionally receives calls about what town the course is in. While Kemper Lakes has a 60047 ZIP code shared by Lake Zurich, Long Grove, Hawthorn Woods and Kildeer, he said, GPS technology accurately leads visitors to the club.
Kemper Lakes was in unincorporated Lake County when it opened in 1979. Talbett said the story goes that late insurance magnate James S. Kemper decided the course with no town to call home should be affiliated with Long Grove, which at that time bustled with weekend tourists hitting antique stores and other small retailers.
Hawthorn Woods annexed Kemper Lakes in time for the 1989 PGA Championship won by the late Payne Stewart. Despite the course being in Hawthorn Woods, Stewart's win was documented in many media reports as being in Long Grove.
In a lawsuit that was settled in 1990, Kemper Lakes disconnected from Hawthorn Woods and returned to unincorporated Lake County. The retreat was trigged by Kemper Lakes' dispute with Hawthorn Woods over a 3 percent entertainment tax the village wanted to collect from the 1989 PGA Championship ticket sales.
Kemper Lakes' second stint as an unincorporated property lasted 15 years before it officially became part of Kildeer in 2005.
Long Grove Village President Bill Jacob said the confluence of his town, Kildeer and Hawthorn Woods along Old McHenry Road near Kemper Lakes likely has added to the confusion over the years.
"It's not a stretch that somebody would think that's in Long Grove," Jacob said.