After an extensive search last fall, the Club hired Benjamin Gotwalt as the First Assistant Golf Course Superintendent. Ben joined our team this past January.

Ben was the Senior Assistant Superintendent in charge of all operations on the West Course at Hershey Country Club. His previous posts have been at Woodway Country Club (Darien, Connecticut), Merion Golf Club, and the Penn State Golf Courses.

Ben’s tournament resume includes the 2016 Barclay’s (Bethpage Black); 2013 US Open (Merion); and 2012 Sybase Matchplay Championship (Hamilton Farms GC).

He graduated from Penn State University in 2013 with a B.S. in Turfgrass Science and was a member of the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society.

Ben has beekeeping experience that we are looking to bring the Club as part of our on-going efforts towards environmental sustainability and achieving certification as an Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary.

2017 Season Preparation

Over the last several weeks, a plethora of activity has occurred on the course despite dealing with different weather extremes.


On March 29th, our staff began the spring season with green, tee and approach aerification. This was followed by deep-tine aeration of the greens on April 3rd, then Dry-Ject aeration on April 5th seen below on #18.


When weather did not allow for aerification, our staff was busy leveling irrigation sprinklers at the greens. Over time due to sand build-up from topdressings throughout the year and bunker play, sprinklers need to be adjusted in order to operate efficiently.


It is quite a lengthy process to level sprinklers. It averages two and a half man-hours to raise and level the sprinkler. Each green has an average of ten irrigation heads. As time permits, we will continue with these adjustments concentrating on the greens, then moving to the tees by late fall and subsequently the fairways next spring. In all, this could take a few seasons to complete.

IMG_3121 (1)

On March 30th, internal drains were installed on the 12th green, followed by the Chip Green hitting area. The Chip Green will remain closed for a short period of time to allow the sod lines to heal sufficiently to withstand traffic associated with shot selection practice of the short game. In the picture below on the left side, you can see the sod stacked on the Chip Green that was replaced after the lines were tamped level.


Yesterday was our first opportunity to punch the fairways. We had intended to begin fairway aerification on March 20th but the course was still under the cover of snow. This process will be finished today and the team will turn our attention to ready the golf course for the Dick Wilson Derby Day occurring in 25 days.


The work being conducted near the range tee is for the septic system. The area to the left of the tee and part of the landing area is the drain field for the facilities at Bidermann. The contractor is flushing the seepage pipes and installing clean-outs for future preventative maintenance.


Lastly, we are currently mowing the native rough in preparation for the application of pre and post-emergent herbicides. We will again mow the native in a few weeks with the intention of having a thinner stand of turf in the deep roughs to allow you to find and advance the golf ball.