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What You Need To Know: Shepherd's Rock

What You Need To Know: Shepherd's Rock

An Insightful Interview With Kelly O'Donnell, Director of Golf Operations

By Brian Weis

Whether you have played a course 20+ times a year or looking to play the course for the first time, insights from an insider can help enhance your golf experience. Below is an interview with Kelly O'Donnell who shares some valuable tidbits about the course, memorable holes and must eats and treats at the 19th.

Give Our Readers An Overview of the Golf Course/Property
This larger-than-life resort nestled in southwest Pennsylvania's Laurel Highlands 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 the majestic sweeping vistas of the Allegheny Mountains.

On the visually stunning Shepherd's Rock, the mischievous side of Pete Dye and his associate Tim Liddy come out to play with a bold collection of beautiful holes that rise up hills and plunge down valleys. The greens - and the angles into them - provide unique challenges with beguiling slopes and ledges that take the risk/reward proposition to new heights.

If Someone Was Looking To Golf In The Area, Why Should They Play Your Course?
Shepherd's Rock is a thrill ride through a brilliant array of topographical sections. At times, it's pure mountain golf then meanders into sweeping pastureland or gentle forested sections. Golfers agree that Shepherd's Rock plays through an unforgettable setting with a challenging array of holes that demand thoughtful play and well-judged shots from tee to green. The crafty and postcard-worthy 11th is one of the handsomest holes on the property while views from fifth, seventh, 16th and 17th holes are extraordinary places to enjoy the nature around you. The 18th hole is a terrific and memorable par 4 that demands a strong drive that is safe from ponds and marshes right and trees left. The waterfalls and majestic setting near the green inspire our golfing guests to return for another challenge.

What Tips or Local Knowledge Would You Provide To Help Them Score Better At Your Course?
Be patient, as you can ruin your round early here. There is a lot of visual deception out there which Pete Dye is always known for. There are definitely keys to playing each hole and that comes with the player's skill level and playing the courses more to establish a level of comfort and confidence as you navigate the green complexes and the constant swirling winds. Our forecaddies are the 15th club for most golfer's bags here, as they know every blade of grass and are familiar with the daily hole locations and how to play each hole no matter the time of year.

Recent Awards or What You Are Most Proud About The Course?
#5 "Best Courses You Can Play: Pennsylvania" - Golfweek 2022
Editor's Choice "Best Golf Resorts in the Mid-Atlantic" - Golf Digest 2022
#178 "Best 2021: Top 200 Resort Golf Courses in America" - Golfweek 2022
"Best New Golf Course" Honorable Mention - Golfweek 2017

What Is The Signature, Most Talked About, or Most Photographed Hole?
SHEPHERD'S ROCK - #4 is a jaw dropper as you leave the 3rd green and #4 just reveals itself with a double fairway and countless bunkers to navigate. People talk about the 3-tiered green as well, because you have to be very strategic in where you leave your ball on the putting surface or it may just roll off the front of the green!

What Is Your Favorite Hole? Any Tips to Play It?
SHEPHERD'S ROCK - #17 is a very short par 4 that many of our golfers talk about. I stood on the green one day and looked back to the tee. There is no reason to hit more than a 5 wood, hybrid or long iron as there is a flat area at only around 150 yards to the green. Many golfers see it being short and pull driver but more often than not, hit it into trouble. It's a thinking person's hole and like so many holes on either course, you have to take what the course gives you and you cannot be aggressive.

Must Have Dish or Drink after the round at the 19th Hole?
You can't go wrong with a cheeseburger and fries at the Sunset Terrace.

The 19th hole at Nemacolin is the Sunset Terrace. Located on the magnificent deck of the Falling Rock Infinity pool, guests can indulge in refreshing cuisine, table service, and expansive views under the highland sun.

For the traveling golfer, do you have lodging onsite or partner with any area hotels?
Nemacolin offers guests 320 luxuriously appointed guest rooms, suites, townhouses, and private upscale homes, including Falling Rock, a Forbes Five-Star and 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. The Lodge, a classic English Tudor-style hotel and townhomes and luxury vacation homes are also available, giving Nemacolin one of the most versatile overnight accommodation offerings in the region.

Who Holds Course Record and What Was Their Score?
Shepherd's Rock- Reid Howey, 67- Tristate PGA Section Championship

Back Tee Stats
Par: 72
Yardage: Championship Yardage - 7,290 yards
Slope: 138
Rating: 74.7

More Information
Shepherd's Rock
1001 Lafayette Drive
Farmington, Pennsylvania, 15437

Revised: 01/17/2023 - Article Viewed 1,390 Times - View Course Profile

About: Brian Weis

Brian Weis Brian Weis is the Publisher of, a network of golf travel and directory sites including,,,, etc. Professionally, Brian is a member of the Golf Writers Association of America (GWAA), International Network of Golf (ING), Golf Travel Writers of America (GTWA), International Golf Travel Writers Association (IGTWA) and The Society of Hickory Golfers (SoHG). In 2016, Brian won The Shaheen Cup, an award given to a golf travel writer by his peers.

All of his life, Brian has been around the game of golf. As a youngster, Brian competed at all levels in junior and high school golf. Brian had a zero chance for a college golf scholarship, so he worked on the grounds crew at West Bend Country Club to pay for his University of Wisconsin education. In his adult years, his passion for the game collided with his entrepreneurial spirit and in 2004 launched In 2007, the idea for a network of local golf directory sites formed and was born. Today, the network consists of a site in all 50 states supported by national sites like, and It is an understatement to say, Brian is passionate about promoting golf and golf travel on a local, regional, national and international level.

On the golf course, Brian is known as a fierce weekend warrior that fluctuates between a 5-9 handicap. With a soft fade, known as "The Weis Slice", and booming 300+ drives, he can blast it out of bounds with the best of them.

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