The Shepherd’s Rock course at the Nemacolin Resort debuted in 2017. It’s a re-designed layout from Pete Dye and Tim Liddy which first appeared nearly fifty years earlier as The Links, having been originally fashioned by Willard Rockwell.
The Hardy family (proprietors of the 84 Lumber company with more than 250 stores in 30 states) spent around $250 million in the Nemacolin resort in the three years leading up to the re-launch of the Shepherd’s Rock layout in an effort to re-establish the property as one of the leading getaway destinations.
The course is built on rolling terrain comprising two very different nines: the longer front nine is more open, with generous landing areas off the tee and spectacular views of the Laurel Highlands, while the back nine demands more precise play as holes are tree-lined with sloping fairways that rarely offer a flat lie.
The 18th is the signature hole on the course, a dramatic par four which lies in what appears to be an amphitheatre of rock with the clubhouse sitting off to the side. The approach shot plays to a green protected by water on the right and back dropped by a rock waterfall.
In actual fact, this hole is totally different to the one originally envisioned and it took moving 30,000 cubic yards of earth, replacing a recreational vehicle park with a lake, building a stone wall along the right side of the fairway, and four attempts at building a waterfall behind the green before the hole was completed satisfactorily.
It was originally intended to be the 9th hole but the owners liked it so much it was decided to use it as the finisher instead, which means the par five on the other side of the clubhouse is now the 9th hole, with its green perched on a rise offering a ‘50-mile view’ of the Allegheny Mountains.