Lancaster Country Club long has been home to one of the finest courses in Pennsylvania but very few people from the outside were able to see it because of the members’ desire to keep the public out.
However, the club has rethought its philosophy in recent years and has started to welcome in tournaments that are open to the public, the biggest of which will be the 2015 U.S. Women’s Open.
Lancaster, a William Flynn design, will serve as host to the 98th Pennsylvania Amateur Championship beginning on Monday and continuing through Wednesday. Defending champion Cory Siegfried of Philadelphia Country Club heads a field of 127 players for the 54-hole event over the 6,850-yard, par-70 course.
Lancaster will be hosting the Pennsylvania Amateur for the eighth time, and first since 2000 when it was won by Michael McDermott of Merion Golf Club. McDermott is in this year’s field.
Lancaster, which is ranked sixth among Pennsylvania courses by Golf Digest and 66th by Golfweek in a ranking of the nation’s best classic courses, has slowly been redesigned in recent years. Holes were rebuilt, bunkers were redone and hundreds of trees were taken down to improve air flow.
Some holes have been lengthened and fairway bunkers repositioned to account for today’s long hitters.
With the improvements and the favorable rankings from the golf media, members feel it’s time to show the course off.
“We used to be a private closed club with no desire to bring in tournaments,” said Jerry Hostetter, a past president of the club. “But the younger members appreciated the history and we wanted to share it. When Mike Davis (the executive director of the USGA) was here the first time, he thought it was a very good track.”
The club also will host an American Junior Golf Association tournament in 2013 and the Western Women’s Amateur in 2014. But the big prize comes in 2015 when the U.S. Women’s Open comes to town.
“We want it to be a success for our club and for the county,” Hostetter said of the Open. “We want the tournament to be second to none. We want to blow them away.”
The club is continuing with course improvements. Following the state amateur, the greens will be redone – nine beginning on Aug. 1, and the other nine starting on Aug. 15.