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What You Need To Know: Mystic Rock

What You Need To Know: Mystic 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.

Mystic Rock is a sterling example of a more 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. Past home to the PGA Tour's 84 Lumber Classic, Mystic Rock showcases a cinematic variety of golf holes.

If Someone Was Looking To Golf In The Area, Why Should They Play Your Course?
Mystic Rock is consistently ranked the #1 resort course in Pennsylvania thanks to its delightful routing through the Allegheny Mountains, pristine playing conditions, and hole after hole of alluring challenges and postcard-worthy vistas. This course presents holes that are great scoring opportunities combined with holes that present demanding shot values. In all, a round at Mystic Rock features fun at every turn and will leave you wanting to play it again if only to try some different strategies and replay the most thrilling shots.

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.

Any recent changes to the golf course? Or any upcoming changes?
In 2021, golf course architect Tim Liddy oversaw a "softening" renovation of Mystic Rock. By strategically taking out some waste areas and several sand bunkers (40,000 square feet of bunker coverage, in all), 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. The golf course is so much more fun and strategic now. Tim Liddy ensured that the character of Mystic Rock is still pure Pete Dye while making it more enjoyable round from each set of tees. We did add about eight bunkers, bringing the total to 57, that help golfers directionally or frame holes better and even kept one of Pete's signature small Dornoch pot bunkers.

Recent Awards or What You Are Most Proud About The Course?
#1 "Best Courses You Can Play: Pennsylvania" - Golfweek 2022
Editor's Choice "Best Golf Resorts in the Mid-Atlantic" - Golf Digest 2022
#9 "Top 50 Casino Courses" - Golfweek 2022
#16 "Best Golf Courses in Pennsylvania" - Golf Digest 2021
#22 "American's Top 50 Courses for Women" - Golf Digest
#40 "Best Resort Golf Courses" - Golfweek 2021
#92 "Best 2022: Top 200 Resort Golf Courses in America" - Golfweek 2022

What Is The Signature, Most Talked About, or Most Photographed Hole?
MYSTIC ROCK - #5 is fascinating, not only with the two greens, but with the waterfall and the statue of John Daly in the water hazard left of both greens. High above the waterfall is the enormous bronze statue of Chief Nemacolin as well.

What Is Your Favorite Hole? Any Tips to Play It?
MYSTIC ROCK - I thoroughly enjoy #11 as there are so many ways to play it. It's uncomfortable over every shot with water on both sides of the fairway and the angles of your approach really test your metal. It's a challenging green and difficult to get it close. Quietly take your par and move on to #12.

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?
Mystic Rock, JL Lewis, 62-PGA tour 2003 84 Lumber Classic

Back Tee Stats
Par: 72
Yardage: Championship Yardage - 7,526 yards
Slope: 149
Rating: 77

More Information
Mystic Rock 1001 Lafayette Drive
Farmington, Pennsylvania, 15437

Revised: 01/17/2023 - Article Viewed 1,762 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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