PrairieView Golf Club: A Tallgrass Prairie Where the Buffalo Roamed

In 2019, GrahamSpencer was privileged to be invited to help the Byron Forest Preserve District re-brand PrairieView Golf Club. A favorite course of GS Founder and Co-Creative Director Jay Graham, Co-Creative Director Scott Spencer (who lived in Byron as a child) and Technology Director Adam Tobias, our team’s enthusiasm for PrairieView was built-in.

Among other insights, our proprietary research and strategic planning method, GSearch, revealed the things fans of the tough, sprawling course admire most: it’s layout, challenges, conditioning, the District’s dogged preservation of the natural landscape and even PrairieView’s somewhat remote location. 

Anyone who visits the fascinating Jarrett Prairie Center or any of the Byron Forest Preserve District’s lovely preserves can quickly see how seriously its board and staff take their responsibility to preserve and protect natural lands and educate fellow citizens. Early in the research process we knew the creative brief would suggest exploration of brand identity concepts that focused on the natural heritage of northern Illinois’ lush tallgrass prairies and stately oak savannas. 

The iconography of an iconic bison tested extremely well during Validation Research. Respondents liked the nod to the natural world inhabited in the early 19th century by the giant bison and the native Americans who once pursued and revered them. They said it made them feel good – and it seemed natural. 

The new bison logo and naturalistic brand positioning carves out space in the public’s frame of reference and helps PrairieView stand apart from the generally more urban competition. Even the distance from Rockford, Byron’s largest nearby population center, has been cast as positive in the showcase video created by GrahamSpencer.  

After the logo was finalized in the fall of 2019, GS launched a concerted effort to create a dynamic, responsive e-commerce-enabled website and other branded elements.

Although the brand was quietly unveiled during the Covid-19 crisis of 2020, Prairie View Golf Club and the Byron Forest Preserve District have received a great deal of praise as returning players are delighted to encounter the surprising new work and fill the bison-emblazoned tee sheet.

Concurrently alongside the rebranding of PrairieView Golf Club, GrahamSpencer also branded the spectacular new Toptracer facility PrairieFire Golf + Grill. We will cover that project in another Case Study soon.