Nemacolin Golf Resort, Farmington, PA Review

Golf, Luxury, Art, Adventure and A Little Bit of Everything Else

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Ryan Heiman
Founder and head author at Independent Golf Reviews

Independent Golf Reviews stayed at the Nemacolin Golf Resort in the fall of 2023. I enjoyed 3 days on property and 5 rounds of golf.  I also took in many of the other sites, adventures, tastes and little things that can be found on the sprawling, luxurious and eclectic Nemacolin Golf Resort in Farmington, PA.

This is my definitive Nemacolin Golf Resort Review for 2023.



Nema-what?? This was a phrase I heard a few times as I told friends where I was going on vacation.  It is named after Chief Nemacolin was a trailblazer whose work created the Nemacolin Trail which was the inspiration for the original hunting lodge built by Willard Rockwell now owned by Maggie Hardy. It has been a well kept secret of southwestern Pennsylvania.  Let’s change that because this resort is special.  It offers everything for a perfect golf vacation: 2 great golf courses, luxurious lodging, amazing food choices, relaxing spa, plus a collection of art, animals and adventure unrivaled by other resorts.  This huge, sprawling resort highlights the beauty of the area, along with creating an oasis for golfers, couples, corporate retreats, wedding parties, and adventurers. If there is something that you enjoy doing on vacation, odds are you’ll be able to enjoy that activity at Nemacolin.  Pearl (the Nemacolin mascot) is found all around the resort playing up the humble and humorous style as she walks around in high heels.

1. Luxury

Luxury was the one word that came to mind throughout my entire stay at Nemacolin.  Once you get on site, you rarely have to lift a finger to do much of anything.  They will shuttle you to and from every activity on the property, they will move your luggage, they will keep you comfortable, they will set up any activities, they have so many options to make you feel pampered and special whether you are tackling the adventurous activities or just chilling at the pool.  It is all the little touches, decorations, nice staff, etc that make you feel like their honored guest. The lodging is all about luxury from the current top lodgeing option at Falling Rock which is one of the few 5 star forbes rated hotels to the expansive Chateau, to the soon to be completed Grand Lodge to the Townhomes or even the private residences on property.  All are some of the best and varied lodging options I’ve ever seen.

2. Mystic Rock:

Pete Dye designed one of his best courses at Mystic Rock.  It is very playable, challenging, beautiful and scenic.  The design is less  “Pete Dye” than some with almost no railroad ties and very few funky design elements.  It is a true championship course that blends in and uses the topography perfectly.  It has a great mix of holes and distances.  There are mulitiple tee boxes which can be used for whatever skill level of golfers are in your group.  The green are kept around 12 on the stimp meter so they move fast.  The bent grass is lush and soft while being near perfect on every hole.  There is plenty of water to test your confidence yet nothing too hard making golfers feel like a hole is unplayable.  There are a few forced carries, but big drives aren’t required unless you are playing the tips.  The memorable pars 5s: the 5th and 16th holes have water features that are both in play, but also offer amazing beauty with a waterfall greeting golfers at the green on 5 and a pond all along the left and wrapping around the 16th green.  The hills and water of holes 10 and 11 make for stunning views and challenging shots.

3. Shepherd’s Rock:

This course certainly feels more “Pete Dye” than Mystic Rock.  It is more scenic, more dramatic, more quirks, and has more undulated greens.  The back 9 is a unique treat of beauty and challenge.  Hitting the right lines, the correct distances and getting good bounces are key to scoring at Shepherd’s Rock.  It feels much like Maggie Hardy’s ecclectic home which towers over the 7th hole.  It is a mixture of beautiful holes, blended with challenging holes, along with a few holes that can either be very easy or very hard depending on your shots and bounces.  The conditions on both courses are as good as anywhere you will ever play.  Everything is tight, lush and the greens run fast.  Bunkers are pure and tees are flat.  The agronomy crew is top notch and it shows.

4. Art, Art, and More Art:

You might not expect a $50 Million+ art collection to be displayed throughout a resort both indoors and outdoors, but you can’t miss art pieces that are literally around every corner.  If you walk into any building, play golf, walk around the grounds, check out the mini-museums, you will see an eclectic collection of art.  Numerous statues are large art pieces are on the golf courses.  The majestic flower creations by Ed Libby are amazing which decorate the entrances to every building.  There is even an art school for aspiring artists to show off their work and space even for them to create more.  If you like art, you could spend a week exploring all of the amazing pieces of art housed at Nemacolin.

5. On-Site Adventures & Activties: 

While we at iGolfReviews love a golf focused vacation, we also know that having other activities to enjoy while on vacation make for a well rounded experience.  Many of the other great things to do at Nemacolin start at the Peaks.  This adventure area will teach you how to drive a Jeep through extreme off road terrain, you can enjoy the huge pool, enjoy the ropes course, or hop on the chairlift for winter skiing.  The entertainment space is amazing while the jumbo-tron is a perfect place to watch football.  If you enjoy gambling, Lady Luck is just down the hill, if you prefer to enjoy peaceful relaxation the Spa is huge, if you want to shoot clays, the shooting club it right there too.  Fallingbrook Mini golf, e-bikes, a carousel, even a small animal preserve with lions, tigers, bears and wolves is all just a shuttle away.  If you want even a little more adventure, they will set up private white water rafting just down the road.  There is an equestrian center for horseback riding too.  Since we are all about golf, the Nemacolin Golf Academy on property is one of the best we’ve seen with multiple training bays, state of the art technology and outdoor Trackman technology which allows you both indoor and outdoor training.  The putting section is huge which also has indoor and outdoor greens to dial in the scoring clubs. 

6. The Bachelor: 

In 2020 Nemacolin was the host of the reality TV the Bachelor.  Matt James went looking for love at the Nemacolin Resort.  While the producers transformed the resort for his romantic search, many of the scenes which aired during the season were not just made for TV, but can still be explored by resorts guests.  While we are 3 years past the filming of the Bachelor at Nemacolin, it is still woven into their recent history.  It is part of their push to be on the map of great resorts in the world.  You can experience many of the romantic dates and settings for yourself at Nemacolin.

7. Eclectic Touches:

Around every corner at the Nemacolin Resort you see a different style.  The Townhomes almost feel like Alice in Wonderland, while the Chateau feels like Paris, The Grand Lodge will feel like ultra luxury and Falling Rock is pure Franklin Lloyd Wright.  The “secret” Blue Room is worth seeking out for a cocktail and an additional artistic experience.   No matter your style, you will find something that appeals to you.  The Woodlands Auto Toy Store, Franco Harris’ Immaculate Reception Ball, the Pride and Joy Airplane Hanger, Laurel Lane Shops, a piece of the Berlin Wall, the Carousel; something will appeal to your preferences.

8. Food For Every Occasion

The variety of food at Nemacolin matches everything else from the fanciest of fine dining to the laid back bar food while watching the game means you can enjoy steaks at Rockwell Steak House, seafood at Aqueous, pasta and pizza at Barattolos, burgers at the Peaks, ice cream at PJs, and everything in between.  If you like a fine wine, the Nemacolin has an incredible selection; if you like a fancy liquor, they probably have it on site; even if you want a good smoke, their cigar bar is impressive.  They do intimate dinners for two, they do large banquets for weddings plus you can get it brought directly to your room. Everything was delicious and perfectly prepared.  Of everything I had, I highly recommend the filet at The Rockwell Steak House which was one of the best steaks I’ve ever had.

9. What’s Next for Nemacolin?

Renovations and additions was all the buzz around Nemacolin.  Maggie Hardy continues to invest significant capital into making Nemacolin one of the best resorts in America.  The Wisteria neighborhood project on-site is a testament to her true commitment to Nemacolin since this is a housing, shopping and living section for associates to live on-property with all the amenities they would need like a gym, pub, grocery store and housing.  The Grand Lodge opening soon will be their highest luxury lodge yet, the planned renovation to the Chateau, the talk of more golf, the list goes on and on of future expansion and renovation to Nemacolin.  If you’ve been here before, you might just want to come back and see how much it has changed and will be changing.


I knew very little of Nemacolin before this trip, however I was blown away by the impressive golf courses, the eclectic display of art, and the adventures that await around every corner.  Everything was top notch.  It could be a family vacation, a couples getaway, a guys weekend, a wedding celebration or a corporate retreat.  Everyone will have a good time and enjoy their passion at Nemacolin.  You can see the heart and soul of the Hardy Family poured into this resort as their style, touches and personality comes through in all the details. If you live on the East Coast or Midwest, it is very central and accessible just 9o minutes south of Pittsburgh.  If you live further away like I do, I still highly recommend putting Nemacolin on your vacation destination map.

For more information: Nemacolin Resort Website

Nemacolin Golf Resort, Farmington, PA – KEY POINTS
  • ℹ️  About: The Hardy Family transformed this simply hunting lodge into a sprawling golf resort with 36 Pete Dye holes and multiple lodging and dining options to support. The additional adventures and expereinces make this a perfect destination for couples, families, weddings and corporate groups.

  • ✅  Pros: Some of Pete Dye's Finest work, Outstanding turf conditions, Amazing staff, Eclectic art everywhere, Fine dining, Relaxing spa, Jeeps, White Water, Ropes, Skiing, Shooting, Horseback Riding, Casino, Luxury, and Nature.

  • ⛔  Cons: Luxury has a price, Visual overload, Unknown.

  • ⛳  Verdict: Put Nemacolin on your list of vacation destinations because it has everything you want in a golf vacation both on the course and off the course. These Pete Dye golf courses are some of his finest and the resort surrounding them has so much to offer. You will never lack things to do and explore while at Nemacolin.

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About The Author

Ryan Heiman – Founder and Head Author of Independent Golf Reviews
Ryan has over 10 years of experience testing and writing golf reviews of nearly every brand out there.
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