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Pittsburgh Golf Articles | Golfer’s Lifestyle MagazinePittsburgh Golf Articles | Golfer's Lifestyle Magazine

35 Years into Its Thrilling History, Nemacolin Continues to Amaze

Nemacolin-Fall-2022-A---Golf-Mystic-Rock
Fall 2022

Nemacolin, in the picturesque Laurel Highlands (about one hour southeast of Pittsburgh), is a resort destination that exceeds just about every expectation you can set. Even if you’re well-traveled. Even if you’re a golf snob. Even if you’re a food and wine aficionado, an art lover, adventure junkie, buddies’ trip captain, or family vacation czar. This place has itall. And, then some.

This larger-than-life resort nestled in the Allegheny Mountains is home to Mystic Rock and Shepherd’s Rock, two imaginative championship courses designed by the legendary Pete Dye that take full advantage of the area’s vast, rugged topography, lush terrain, and majestic sweeping vistas. Just down the road from architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s acclaimed masterpiece Fallingwater and Fort Necessity National Battlefield (siteof the opening action of the French and Indian War in 1754), Nemacolin is making its own distinctive brand of history in the nature-rich Laurel Highlands.

Owned by the visionary Hardy family who founded and operates 84Lumber, Nemacolin has amenities and attractions to indulge every taste and almost every whim, including a diverse and internationally acclaimed art collection, The Cigar Bar, The Tea Room, The Pantry general store, Forbes Five-Star dining at Lautrec, the superb and satisfying Rockwell’s steakhouse, Italian (at the family-style Barattolo) and luxe seafood (the chic Aqueous)restaurants, luxury shopping boutiques, a cozy tavern, and even a 1950s-styleice cream parlor.

Beyond golf, outdoor adventurers can enjoy The Nemacolin Field Club; Wildlife Adventures that feature everything from safari tours to dog sledding; The Peak (complete with expansive pool areas, zip-lines, and a climbing wall, combat paintball, and cosmic bowling); and Jeep off-roading, fly fishing, as well as antique auto and aircraft collections.

You’ll find artwork and sculptures at almost every turn at Nemacolin. It’s a feast for the senses that somehow fits seamlessly along with the 2,200-acre resort’s breathtaking, natural surroundings. Nemacolin offers guests 320 luxuriously appointed guest rooms, suites, townhomes, and private upscale homes, including Falling Rock, a AAA Five-Diamond boutique hotel with rooms overlooking the Mystic Rock course. The first sight that captivates your attention once you enter the resort property is The Chateau, a stunning, palatial structure inspired by The Ritz Paris in France. It’s fun to roam its hallways and enjoy the art, shopping, and numerous places to sit and enjoy the setting.

The Lodge, a classic English Tudor-style hotel, townhomes, and luxury vacation homes are also available, giving Nemacolin one of the most versatile overnight accommodation offerings in the region.

After a visit to Nemacolin for the golf, you’ll want to tell everyone about all the transcendent experiences on Mystic Rock, Shepherd’s Rock, and all the state-of-the-art toys inside The Nemacolin Golf Academy.

The 4,000-square-foot, all-season entertainment and game improvement space is one of the premier, luxury golf training facilities in the country. With a renovated building design, all new furnishings, seven flat-screen TVs, and dazzling new décor, the luxe learning, practice, and entertainment space has also been outfitted with the most sought-after simulator, launch monitor, and biomechanical feedback technology in the golf industry.

This includes cutting-edge hardware like Trackman launch monitors and simulators, Foresight Sports’ GCQuad launch monitor, and Swing Catalyst’s Balance and Dual Force Plates. The Nemacolin Golf Academy’s four spacious, customized hitting bays can open to the 25-station driving range that sits adjacent to two short-game practice areas and a large putting green. The Golf Academy, which also features a dedicated, 1,000-square-foot putting room, is optimized for expert golf training and club fitting from Director of Instruction Michael LaBella and his team.

INTO THE MYSTIC

Teeing it up at Nemacolin means being ready to tackle the crafty Pete Dye and walk in the footsteps of the PGA Tourplayers who competed in the 84 Lumber Classic from 2003 to 2006, including champions like Vijay Singh Open Championship winner Ben Curtis. Mystic Rock is a sterling example of amore subtle and cerebral side of Dye. He lets the rolling land dictate the routing and shot values here with ample landing areas, walkability, and serene sight lines. There are very few daunting forced carries, but endless risk-reward scenarios and plenty of ways to make the round more complicated than it needs to be. Positioning off the tee and hitting to the correct parts of the green comes into play routinely as Dye plays with angles, misdirection, false fronts, and greens that run off the sides or back if you mis-club.

There’s a great mix of short par fours like the first hole and the sneaky-long, uphill fourth — which is one of the few holes that asks for a tee shot to carry water —plus more humbling long holes like the daunting 476-yard ninth with water left off the tee, and a narrow, sloping green. You can gain momentum early in the round with manageable par fives at the fifth and eighth holes and a wedge-shot par three at number seven. However, the geometry Dye throws at you on holes like in, the winding 439-yard par-four 10th,and the long, dogleg-right, uphill par-five 11th, will test even the most skilled players. After a satisfying stretch of distinctive par fours at 13, 14, and 15, Mystic Rock closes with a fun risk-reward par five, along and challenging par three, with water lurking left, and an uphill par four that demands solid strikes and respect of the angles of play. This golf course belongs in the conversation with some of Dye’s best work.

MYSTIC ROCK RENOVATION — HOW THE BEST GET BETTER

Nemacolin is the type of property that listens closely to its clientele, so when an opportunity came up in 2021 to make the famed Mystic Rock course more fun and playable under the supervision of Tim Liddy, that’s exactly what happened by strategically removing several waste areas and sand bunkers (40,000 square feet of bunker coverage, in all).“There were a number of instances where the fairways were pinched on both sides and recreational players just had a challenging time finding their landing area,” Director of Golf Operations Kelly O’Donnell says. “The golf course has become much simpler to navigate with more interesting angles into greens and even a few improved pin placements that just weren’t viable previously.

“Liddy also made two of Mystic Rock’s par fives better and more scorable. “The16th hole is the one instance in which we removed a greenside bunker from the right side of the green,” O’Donnell says. “With water all down the left, it didn’t make sense to guard the green so tightly. It’s a more fun hole now, and we opened up pin placements on the whole rear third of the green where it just wasn’t fair to pin it before. By opening up the right side of the fairway on the par-five fifth hole, we gave players more room to shape their shots and lay up their second shots now that the landing area isn’t squeezed by the fairway bunker on the right and the lake that remains on the left side.” The fairways on holes eight and 10 are also more generous now that waste areas to the left of each fairway have been removed in favor of more manageable fescue. The holes move more quickly, allowing for more strategy and forgiveness off the tee.

A WILD RIDE ON SHEPHERD’S ROCK

At Shepherd’s Rock, the mischievous side of Pete Dye and his associate Tim Liddy come out to play. You’ll find yourself playing shots 40 feet from the hole to allow Dye’s slopes to (hopefully) do their work, and you’ll come to respect false fronts that can send even well-struck shots that look pin high back down the front edge of the green and toward the person who hit it. What you won’t figure out on the first try is the wildly sloping greens or the ideal angles into those greens. A wrong move can have the ball roll 15 feet by the hole and on to the fringe, down the wrong side of slopes, and farther from the hole than where it began and, most often, sliding past the hole due to sneaky-swift speed. That said, there’s a great collection of beautiful holes that climb hills and plunged own valleys. The crafty and postcard-worthy 11th is one of the handsomest holes on the property while views from the fifth, seventh, 16th, and 17th holes are extraordinary places to enjoy the nature around you. The 18th hole is a terrific and memorable par four that demands a strong drive that is safe from ponds and marshes right and trees left. The waterfalls and majestic setting near the green will inspire a return for another challenge.

AFTER GOLF, ANYTHING’S POSSIBLE

Every visit to Nemacolin is an opportunity for individuals, couples, or families to enjoy a bucket list day. Start with world-class golf on Mystic Rock or Shepherd’s Rock while the rest of the family enjoys the pools, zip-lining, or cosmic bowling at The Peak. Then continue your day with spa treatments, Safari tours, or fly fishing, and close it out with an extraordinary meal at one of our six acclaimed restaurants. The resort’s entertainment and adventure offerings are so creative, you can’t help but feel the Hardy family’s personal touches all over the grounds. It’s like they’ve invited you to hang out at their estate and let your hair down for as long as you like.

SHOULD YOU DECIDE TO NEVER LEAVE …

Nemacolin recently debuted one of the country’s most exclusive, amenities- and service-laden membership opportunities with the freshly curated private club offering called The Woodlands Club. The Woodlands Club membership takes superb advantage of the award-winning 2,200-acre,four-season resort’s unparalleled recreational, dining, adventure, and leisure amenities plus around-the-clock concierge service and access to private aviation. With interest and inquiries already coming in from all over the U.S., The Woodlands Club comprises an elevated luxury membership model available in three tiers.

THE RESORT MEMBERSHIP

The Resort Membership includes priority, unmatched access to outdoor adventures, Forbes Five-Star dining at Lautrec or one of five other tantalizing restaurants, therapeutic treatments and relaxation at the Woodlands Spa and Holistic Healing Center, and spectacular pools. Outdoor activities include fly fishing, zip-lining, axe throwing, equestrian adventures, safari tours, tennis, off-road Jeep trails, live concerts, cosmic bowling, paintball, skiing, snowtubing, and countless other unforgettable experiences around the magnificent resort.

THE ALL-ACCESS MEMBERSHIP

The Woodlands Club’s All-Access Membership includes all Resort Membership benefits, plus most resort amenities, including VIP perks and full golf privileges on two Pete Dye-designed golf courses — Mystic Rock (former host site of the PGA TOUR’s 84 Lumber Classic) and Shepherd’s Rock — including preferential tee times, a breathtaking natural setting, and abundant leisure activities. And it all comes with impeccable, attentive service.

CORPORATE MEMBERSHIPS

Finally, Corporate Membership consists of either membership type, but for three or more employees to enjoy corporate preferred rates and exclusive benefits customized to a business’ needs. Regardless of the tier chosen, all members enjoy 24/7 concierge service. Think babysitting, pet care, or someone to make dinner and spa reservations for you — anything you need. Select accommodations also come with a butler who can draw a bath after a long day, hangup dresses and suits, steam, or iron clothing, make coffee — anything to pamper guests during their stay. Also included: Assistance with private jet travel via the on-property private airfield, which accommodates private jets, helicopters, and even jet-sharing services. Set in a secluded region steeped in rich American, architectural, and agricultural history, Nemacolin is carving out its own distinctive legacy in the nature-rich Laurel Highlands. To learn more about this one-of-a-kind destination, visit nemacolin.com.

Tom Poljak
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