For PGA Tour star Jim Furyk, one of the best things about having played golf for Manheim Township High School was getting to practice and play his home matches at Lancaster Country Club.
"I probably played two or three days a week there in the fall during the high school golf season. It was a treat that our school was allowed to call Lancaster CC home," the 22-year tour veteran said in an e-mail response to questions about the course asked by The Inquirer.
Given his familiarity with the course, Furyk likes that it will be in the spotlight this week when it hosts the U.S. Women's Open beginning Thursday.
"Lancaster was a great town to grow up in, and I'm happy to see the whole city on showcase," he said. "I have many friends there, and many of my early sponsors are/were members there. A few years back, Lancaster gave me an honorary membership. The town and the club will always have a spot in my heart."
Furyk, 45, winner of 17 career tour events, last played Lancaster in 2011, a few days before the start of the AT&T National, held that year at Aronimink Golf Club. He called LCC "always my standard for a great golf course growing up."
"It was a treat to play as a high school player," he said. "As I grew older and traveled and learned more about William Flynn and his design work, I came to realize even more how fortunate we were."
Furyk said the challenge presented by Lancaster Country Club comes from elevation changes that include a number of uphill approaches, plus "old-school" greens that will test the nerves of players.
"The ladies will have a lot of putts - even from short range - that have a lot of break in them," he said. "The player who putts well will have to be very comfortable with the speed of the greens to feed big-breaking putts to the hole."
As for the holes with the highest degree of difficulty, Furyk referred to one four-hole stretch - the eighth through 11th holes - and the 18th, a par-4 of 437 yards.
The characteristics of the four-hole run feature a narrow green at the 198-yard, par-3 eighth; an uphill trek at the 421-yard, par-4 ninth; a fairway pitched from left to right and an elevated green at the 443-yard, par-4 10th; and a severe green at the 416-yard, par-4 11th, he said.
Furyk called No. 18 "a tough hole to make 4 to win a U.S. Open."
"In order to reach the green in two, players must hit the fairway," he said. "They will be left with an uphill long iron to a severe green. The false front makes the player worry about coming up short, but anything long will be tough to get down in 2. It is a fair, but tough, hole."