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Lancaster C.C.'s Josh Saunders Receives E.J. Marshall Platter

By Andrew Dzurita, USGA

| Jun 2, 2024 | Lancaster, Pa.

Josh Saunders, the director of grounds at Lancaster Country Club, receives the E.J. Marshall Platter for his team's expert agronomy work at the conclusion of the U.S. Women's Open Presented by Ally. (John Mummert/USGA)

The United States Golf Association today presented Josh Saunders, CGCS, Lancaster Country Club’s director of grounds, with the E.J. Marshall Platter at the conclusion of the 2024 U.S. Women’s Open Presented by Ally. 

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, is serving his sixth year at LCC. 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 LCC 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 air flow 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 LCC in 2011, Senior Assistant Superintendent Nathan Schell and Assistant Superintendent Eli Thompson - who both started at LCC 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.