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A sweet partnership

Hershey, Pa., is known as the home of the famous candy-making company. But along with tasty chocolate treats, the town boasts a long history with golf dating back more than a century when Hershey's first golf course opened in 1909.

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In this 1950 photo, youngsters learn the game of golf at Juvenile Golf Club in Hershey, Pa., which opened in 1932 and was a one-of-its-kind club for players 18 years or younger. (Getty Images)

The History of Golf in Hershey, Pa.



Circa 1909

-- The town's first golf course -- the nine-hole Hershey Golf Club -- opens. The course is located between the chocolate factory and Milton S. Hershey's home, High Point. As the chocolate factory expands, this course shrinks. The remaining holes are later incorporated into Hershey Country Club.

1930   

-- Mr. Hershey organizes Hershey Country Club in April and offers his home, High Point, as its clubhouse. It serves as such until 1970.
-- Maurice McCarthy designs a new course for Hershey Country Club. This course is now known as the Club's West Course.
-- McCarthy also designs Hershey Park Golf Club, which opens in July. This course is later renamed Parkview Golf Course, and it closes in 2005.

1932   

-- The Juvenile Golf Club, renamed Spring Creek Golf Course in 1969, opens. It's the first club of its kind. At this time, players have to be 18 years or younger -- or the invited guest of such a junior player.

1933   

-- The first invitational golf tournament, called the Hershey Professional Invitational Golf Tournament, is held and continues again in 1934. The name changes to Hershey Open in 1935, and the tournament continues as such in 1936, 1937, 1939 and 1941.
-- Hershey Chocolate Company becomes the first corporate sponsor of the PGA Tour.

1934

-- The Hotel Hershey Golf Course opens on May 4. It closes in November 2005.
-- Henry Picard is hired as the golf professional at Hershey Country Club and serves until 1941.

1938       

-- The Hershey Round Robin Four-Ball Invitation Tournament is held. Golf professionals participating in this initial event include Harry Cooper, Ed Dudley, Vic Ghezzi, Jimmy Hines, Ben Hogan, Ky Laffoon, Lawson Little, Dick Metz, Byron Nelson, Henry Picard, Johnny Revolta, Paul Runyan, Gene Sarazen, Horton Smith, Sam Snead and Jimmy Thomson. Hogan teams with Ghezzi to win the event, his first professional triumph.

1940   

-- Hershey Country Club hosts the 23rd PGA Championship in August. Byron Nelson wins, defeating Sam Snead 1 up.

1941

-- Ben Hogan becomes the golf professional at Hershey Country Club and serves until 1951. During his tenure, Hogan earns 52 of his 63 victories, including six major championships.

1967   

-- Construction starts on the George Fazio-designed East Course at Hershey Country Club. It opens in June 1969.

1969

-- The Hershey Classic tournament is created, and still takes place today as a local event.

1970

-- Hershey Country Club's new clubhouse opens on March 21, and member operations move from Mr. Hershey's former home.

1978   

-- Hershey Country Club hosts the LPGA Lady Keystone Open. The tournament was established in 1975 and first held at the Sportsmen's Golf Club in Harrisburg. When it moves to Hershey, Hershey Foods Corporation becomes its major sponsor. The Club hosts the Open until 1994.

1994   

-- Hershey Entertainment & Resorts Company (HE&R) sells Hershey Country Club and Parkview Golf Course to National Golf Operating Partnership, L.P. The Club is renamed the Country Club of Hershey. HE&R buys back the courses in 2002 and renames the club Hershey Country Club in 2004.

1997

-- The East Course becomes the home of an event that is eventually called the Reese's Cup Classic. It begins as a Nike Tour event (1997-1999), becomes a Buy.com Tour event (2000-2002) and then becomes a Nationwide Tour event (2003). The event runs through 2004.

2006

-- Hershey Country Club's new clubhouse opens in May.
-- The renovated Spring Creek Golf Course reopens in July.

2007

-- Hershey Entertainment & Resorts starts leasing and managing Wren Dale Golf Club and renames it Hershey Links.
-- A replica of the Wanamaker Trophy won by Byron Nelson during the 1940 PGA Championship is created and displayed at Hershey Country Club's clubhouse.

2009

-- The new clubhouse for Hershey Links opens in April.
-- Hershey Links launches its Get Golf Ready program, serving as an official site for the World Golf Federation's GOLF 20/20 initiative.
-- The Hershey Golf Collection hosts the first annual Hershey Amateur Tournament in October.

2010

-- The Hershey Golf Collection hosts the NCAA Division III Men's Golf Championship in May.