USGA presents Lancaster CC Super Josh Saunders with E.J. Marshall Platter at U.S. Women’s Open

By |  June 3, 2024 0 Comments

The United States Golf Association (USGA) presented the 2024 E.J. Marshall Platter to Josh Saunders, CGCS, director of grounds at Lancaster (Pa.) Country Club, at the 79th U.S. Women’s Open this year.

Photo: USGA

Photo: USGA

Established in 2022, the E.J. Marshall Platter celebrates excellence in golf course management. It acknowledges superintendents who demonstrate dedication, expertise and seamless collaboration with the USGA in preparing a pristine course that meets the demanding standards of a national championship, fit for the world’s elite golfers. The ceremony at the 18th green also extends recognition to the entire course maintenance team and volunteers for their vital contributions.

Saunders, a 20-year member of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA), is serving his sixth year at Lancaster CC. Alongside his team, Saunders has partnered with USGA senior director of championship agronomy, Darin Bevard, to prepare the 6,583-yard, par-70 course for the championship. A Virginia native, Saunders served as an assistant superintendent at Southern Hills during both the 2001 U.S. Open and 2007 PGA Championship before joining the Lancaster CC team.

The historic course, designed by renowned architect William Flynn in 1920, features Penn Trio creeping bentgrass fairways and A1-A4 creeping bentgrass greens. Jim Nagle renovated the course in both 2011 and 2022. The most recent work added nine new bunkers, including five from the original Flynn design. Extensive tree work opened views and improved airflow to improve turf health.

Saunders, who interned at both Westchester Country Club and Augusta National Golf Club, has been a proven leader with a longstanding team to help manage Lancaster’s championship conditions. They include Superintendent Matt Wolfe, who joined Lancaster CC in 2011, Senior Assistant Superintendent Nathan Schell and Assistant Superintendent Eli Thompson — who both started at Lancaster CC as high schoolers — as well as Assistant Superintendents Cameron Foreman and Zach Smith.

The platter’s namesake was the chair of the green committee at the Inverness Club in Toledo, Ohio, in 1920. After he approached the USGA and the Department of Agriculture for help at the course, the USGA formed the Green Section to provide course care expertise to golf facilities.

Saunders was featured in our 2024 Golfdom Tour Guide, where he talked about how his journey in the golf industry led him to hosting the Women’s U.S. Open and more.

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