Nemacolin Woodlands celebrated the opening of the new Shepherd’s Rock golf course in grand style recently, christening the 7151-yard Pete Dye/Tim Liddy track with a gala weekend that included a private concert by Huey Lewis and the News.

Nemacolin has a reputation as one of the finest resorts in the country, having played host for four years to the PGA Tour’s 84 Lumber Classic at its Mystic Rock course. The resort is the vision of 84 Lumber Founder Joe Hardy. It’s now run by his daughter, Maggie Hardy Magerko, who has also taken over as Owner and CEO of 84 Lumber. Still sporting his signature cigar and garrulous personality at the grand age of 94, Hardy remarked that he sees Shepherd’s Rock as something completely different on the golf landscape. “This course is not only a great golf course to play; it’s a fun place to be,” Hardy said.

Maggie Hardy Magerko (left) and her father, Joe Hardy.

Shepherd’s Rock definitely sets up as a more forgiving track than Mystic Rock. The course is bent grass from tee to green including the primary rough, with a fine fescue blend populating the secondary rough. There are generous landing areas from five separate teeing locations, and the bunkers are not as numerous or as penal as those that can be found on many a Dye-influenced track, including Mystic Rock. But the legendary Dye magic (or sorcery, depending on how you feel about it) is apparent as well. From the tips the course carries a burly 74.7 rating/138 slope.

There are majestic views from elevated tee boxes on a number of holes on the front and back nines, and Dye aficionados will be well familiar with the forced carries, blind tee shots, and railroad-tie features that dot the track. The greens are an effective scoring deterrent. There’s plenty of undulation with potential hole placements that are virtually impossible to read unless you’ve played them before. The course logo is a mountain goat, and there are several holes on the back nine that feature fairways that are so severely sloped you almost have to be a mountain goat to stay standing on them. But overall, the feeling after 18 holes is similar to riding a really good roller-coaster; you want to get back on and do it again.

Nemacolin Woodlands is located approximately 90 minutes Southwest of the Pittsburgh International Airport.

A great way to do that is the premium “Double Dose of Dye” getaway. Ideal for playing both Shepherd’s Rock and Mystic Rock while savoring Nemacolin’s world-class amenities, the package features two-nights of luxury accommodations and a round of golf on each of its layouts from July 12 until the end of the golf season. Another alternative is Nemacolin’s Stay & Play Golf Package, which includes overnight accommodations and a round of golf on Shepherd’s Rock or Mystic Rock over the same timeframe. Both golf packages include cart fees, forecaddie fees (gratuity extra), and locker room and range access. The resort’s Nemacolin Golf Academy offers an array of game-improvement programming with PGA Professional Eric Johnson, a Golf Digest “Top 100 Teacher,” and the full array of the latest in instruction technology.

There are more than 70 pieces of original artwork on and around Shepherd’s Rock from the family’s extensive art collection, a bold reflection of the Hardy family’s grand sense of style that is apparent all throughout the Nemacolin Resort. The resort features luxurious rooms, 5-star restaurants, and activities ranging from golf and tennis to shooting sports, fishing, an award-winning spa, and even a casino. “The whole idea of Nemacolin is about fun,” said Maggie Hardy Magerko. “We have fun trying to give our guests the best experience possible. If it’s not fun, then what’s the point?”

Whether it’s on the golf courses or at one of the many other amenities, if you aren’t having fun at Nemacolin, you just aren’t trying.

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Williams has a reputation as a savvy broadcaster, and as an incisive interviewer and writer. An avid golfer himself, Williams has covered the game of golf and the golf lifestyle including courses, restaurants, travel and sports marketing for publications all over the world.

He is currently working with a wide range of outlets in traditional and electronic media, and has produced and hosted “Sticks and Stones” on the Fox Radio network, a critically acclaimed show that combined coverage of the golf world with interviews of the Washington power elite. His work on Newschannel8’s “Capital Golf Weekly” and “SportsTalk” have established him as one of the area’s most trusted sources for golf reporting.

Williams has also made numerous radio appearances on “The John Thompson Show,” and a host of other local productions. He is a sought-after speaker and panel moderator, he has recently launched a new partnership with The O Team to create original golf-themed programming and events.

Williams is a member of the United States Golf Association and the Golf Writers Association of America.


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  1. Never had the chance to get to Nemacolin Resort, but family lives nearby and the area is beautiful. Golf in the fall is especially nice. I’ve toured the resort and hope to stay there some day.

  2. One of my all time favorite vacations was the time my family spent the week at Nemacolin Woodlands. Golf was great and there was lots for everyone to do. Great resort and great food. Now I live on the West coast so there is little chance for me to try this new golf course. I still hope to make it back there again someday. if you haven’t been there, it is worth checking out.