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    Lancaster in the Spotlight: The U.S. Women’s Open returns to Lancaster Country Club

    Photo above by Christian Hafer

     

    Located just outside the city, Lancaster Country Club (LCC) has been a destination for families and golfers since 1900. Following the success of the 2015 U.S. Women’s Open—Lancaster’s first major professional championship—LCC is once again putting Lancaster in the spotlight with the return of the Women’s Open this May, bringing thousands into the community to experience what Lancaster has to offer. Take a look back at LCC’s 120+ year history, how the record-breaking 2015 event paved the way for more community impact, and what you can expect from the 2024 Women’s Open event.

     


     

    More Than a Century in the Making

     

    Through a world-class course design, thoughtful upgrades over a century in the making, and a continued commitment to community involvement, Lancaster Country Club is paving a path forward with the Lancaster community at the heart of their focus.

    March 1900: During the industrial boom at the turn of the century, Lancaster looked to form a country club as a retreat from increasingly hectic lives.

     

    April 1900: The club charter was officially signed. Qualifications for membership were any person over 16 with an initiation fee of $10 for singles or $25 for families. From the beginning, Lancaster Country Club was to be a family club.

     

    May 1900: The Lancaster Country Club makes its temporary home on Juliet Avenue in Manheim Township with its first clubhouse and nine-hole golf course.

     

    1913: As membership outgrew the Juliet Avenue property, the Board of Governors purchased 60 acres off New Holland Pike where the club has made its home for over 110 years.

     

    1919: The Club invested in an additional nine golf holes and the revamp of some of the existing nine holes, contracting William Flynn who is now revered as one of the most influential golf architects of his time.

    1920s–2000s: LCC continued creating the atmosphere and experience around golf—including the addition of a driving range, new facilities and other sports, purchasing golf carts, and building the nine-hole Highlands Course.

     

    2015: The world took notice of Lancaster and golf at the Country Club when the most prestigious international women’s golf event came in July 2015. In Gee Chun of the Republic of Korea earned the title of champion.

    2018: Inspired by the support she received from the Lancaster community, In Gee helped form the In Gee Chun Lancaster Country Club Educational Foundation.

     

    2020: The LCC: A Defining Moment project broke ground in 2020. The expansion project brings forth the next generation of first-class amenities for families to accompany the championship golf course, creating an unparalleled membership experience.

     

    2024: The U.S. Women’s Open Championship is set to make its return to the Lancaster Country Club in May.

    Championship Level Golf

     

    In agreeing to host the 2015 U.S. Women’s Open, LCC recognized the Club’s world-class golf course provided a unique platform for Lancaster County to gain worldwide attention. The event had a large-scale economic impact and garnered days and weeks of media coverage for the community.

     

    “The most important and gratifying aspect of the Open was the way in which our community rallied to support the championship as sponsors, volunteers, and spectators,” shared Rory Connaughton, the Club’s Greens Chair. “People from all walks of life came together to set Women’s Open records for attendance, volunteers, and merchandise sales that have not been eclipsed in the nine years since. That only happens in a ‘can do’ place like Lancaster County.”

    A Record-Breaking Event

     

    • 135,000 spectators were hosted—the record for a Women’s Open.
    • 80 percent of spectators came from within a 30-mile radius.
    • Within 30 days of the opening of volunteer registration, a record 2,500 people had registered and paid to volunteer with another 400 on the waitlist.
    • 9.39 out of 10 in Spectator Survey for Overall Enjoyment—an all-time record.

    "The Lancaster community will forever hold a special place in my heart. I’m excited to play the upcoming U.S. Women’s Open at LCC, and I’m looking forward to another successful year of fundraising for the In Gee Chun Lancaster Country Club Educational Foundation.” – In Gee Chun, Professional Golfer and 2015 U.S. Women’s Open Champion

    Giving Back: The Foundation

     

    After In Gee won the U.S. Women’s Open in 2015, she not only received her LPGA Tour card—she also gained friends and a community in the U.S. who support her. Growing up, there were many people who helped In Gee reach her professional career goals, which is why she immediately started making contributions after her U.S. Women’s Open win to other Lancaster charitable endeavors. In Gee and the Foundation Board formed the In Gee Chun Lancaster Country Club Educational Foundation (a 501(c)(3) organization) with the specific goal of helping others achieve their educational goals—something that has always been of critical importance to her.

     

    The mission of the Foundation is to make a lasting impact in the Lancaster community by providing scholarships to LCC caddies, employees, and their dependents seeking to achieve their educational goals. Each year, In Gee makes generous contributions and visits LCC on a regular basis to assist with fundraising for the Foundation. Learn more by visiting lancastercc.com.


    Meet Three of the Scholarship Recipients

    Nathan Schell

    LCC Grounds Department

    Penn State College, B.S. in Turfgrass Science West Chester University, MBA

     

    “The In Gee Chun Foundation helped me obtain a higher education and advance my career in golf course management. Now as the Senior Assistant Superintendent, I have the opportunity to positively impact the community here at Lancaster Country Club.”

    Molly Kellom

    LCC Food & Beverage Department

    Penn State Berks, B.S. in Electro-Mechanical Engineering

     

    “The Foundation’s support came at a pivotal moment for me. The Club and Foundation’s unwavering faith in my work ethic and potential ignited a sense of purpose within me. Their contributions not only enabled me to pursue my educational goals but also fueled my determination to exceed expectations and succeed. I am forever grateful.”

    Hollyn Helsel

    LCC Caddy Program

    Lebanon Valley College, Physical Therapy Program

     

    “I’m so grateful to be chosen as a recipient for this scholarship. These funds help me further my education in exercise science, as well as allow me to participate in my various passions here at LVC, such as swimming and playing violin.”


    Setting the Course

     

    Building on the success of the 2015 U.S. Women’s Open, LCC began working on a series of upgrades and expansions for the Club that would continue to elevate the champion-level golf experience and were instrumental in bringing the Women’s Open event back to Lancaster in 2024.

    "We see ourselves as a venue for championship women’s golf. The area, community, and club embraces women’s sport, and our club has seen it as a great opportunity to be a community asset. The USGA estimates a $25-$30 million economic impact from a Women’s Open." – Rory Connaughton, Club Greens Chair

    A World-Class Design

     

    In 1919, William Flynn was hired to remodel the existing nine-hole course at LCC and add another nine holes. At the time, Flynn was the golf course Superintendent at Merion Cricket Club (now Merion Golf Club). No one could have predicted then that Flynn would go on to become one of America’s greatest golf course architects or that his work at Lancaster would be considered among his best.

     

    Following Lancaster, Flynn designed multiple major championship courses, including Shinnecock Hills, the Country Club (Brookline), and Cherry Hills while having a hand in the design evolution of American classics like Pine Valley and Merion. His relationship with Lancaster was unique. For 26 years until his death in 1945, Flynn returned to Lancaster to work on the course, eventually taking it across the Conestoga River in 1941.

     

    LCC recognizes the distinct responsibility to preserve Flynn’s masterpiece, and no changes are made to the course without the expert advice of Lancaster County native and golf course architect Jim Nagle, who is a studied Flynn expert. In keeping with the community’s instinct to preserve its natural resources and historical sites, no work is performed on the course unless it is in keeping with Flynn’s original design or intent.

    An Event for the Community

     

    In 2015, the USGA and LCC knew that a successful U.S. Women’s Open would require the support of the entire community. In recognition of Lancaster County’s tradition of community involvement, the USGA and LCC agreed that the Championship logo would not incorporate the Club’s logo. Instead, a Women’s Open hex sign was designed to ensure that the entire community was represented to spectators and television viewers alike. That tradition has been continued in 2024 with the use of a heraldic red rose of Lancaster. Originating in the 14th century, the heraldic rose was originally associated with the English House of Lancaster. The rose is part of the seal of Lancaster City and other flags and emblems throughout our community.

    We want all of Central Pennsylvania to see the value the Club brings to the overall community and be proud of the championship caliber facility right in our own backyard. We have the opportunity to put Lancaster on the international stage and be the center of the golf world for a week. That's pretty special.” – Ryan Granruth, General Manager, COO

    Get your tickets now!

    The Women’s Open

    From May 30 to June 2, the Lancaster Country Club will host the 2024 U.S. Women’s Open. For information, volunteering, and tickets, visit uswomensopen.com.