Two of the top names in the golf industry have joined the Nemacolin Woodlands Resort team.
Mike Jones, the resort’s new director of golf and recreation, comes to Nemacolin from Hawaii’s Kapalua Resort, one of the top golf resorts in the world. The new director of instruction, Eric Johnson, one Golf Magazine’s Top 100 teachers in America, arrived at Nemacolin just days after his former course, Oakmont Country Club, hosted the U.S. Open.
The hiring of Jones and Johnson signals a new era for golf at Nemacolin. The resort’s existing course, the Pete Dye-design Mystic Rock, is ranked among the best resort courses in America and will be joined next year by a second Pete Dye course that will truly elevate Nemacolin’s stature in the golf resort industry.
“With a highly rated course already here and a dynamic new layout on the way, this is an important juncture for our golf program,” said managing director Monte Hansen. “The Hardy family is committed to being the best of the best, which is evident by hiring two experienced leaders rated so highly in their fields.”
        Jones took over Nemacolin’s golf operation in late April after a successful nine-year career at Kapalua, during which he was responsible for working with the PGA Tour on the season-opening Hyundai Tournament of Champions, and also for overseeing more than 120 employees and an annual budget of $18 million.“I had a great position at Kapalua and that resort is known worldwide,” said Jones. “I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to be involved in the construction of the second Pete Dye golf course here at Nemacolin. I was so impressed by the commitment the Hardy family is making to the resort and to the golf operation here.”
Jones, a Chicago native, was also glad to get back to the continental U.S. and has hit the mainland running. He was immediately given oversight duties for the new course construction at Nemacolin, and scored his first coup with the hiring of instructor Eric Johnson from one of the nation’s top-ranked golf clubs.
“A guy with his experience and his acumen as a Top 100 teacher in America just adds a lot of credibility to the resort,” Jones said. “If we’re going to be the best of the best, we have to bring in the best. And Eric is definitely one of the best.”
Johnson, a Pennsylvania native, was a standout golfer at Mississippi State and played professionally before shifting focus to teaching. He was an instructor for the PGA of America in Palm Beach Gardens and The Breakers on Palm Beach in the early 2000s, and split time between The Breakers and Oakmont before moving to Oakmont full-time as director of instruction in 2005.
“It was an emotional decision to leave Oakmont, but I saw the vision here and I knew Nemacolin was serious about taking the next step when they hired Mike Jones,” said Johnson. “Once I saw the commitment to staffing of Nemacolin, that was what really changed my mind.”
Johnson’s teaching philosophy fits well with the overall philosophy of Nemacolin Woodlands Resort.
“In this world of golf scientists and all this technicality in teaching, I think we’re missing the boat,” Johnson said. “First of all, golf lessons have to be fun and golf has to be fun in general.”
The change in teaching focus was also alluring for Johnson.
“Being one of Golf Magazine’s Top 100 teachers for the last six years, I just felt that Nemacolin would be a phenomenal platform to reach people who generally couldn’t reach me in the private club environment,” Johnson said. “I pride myself on being a holistic teacher. You can’t be one-dimensional in the teaching business. You have to be versatile.”
Both Johnson and Jones are proponents of junior golf and getting younger players involved to grow the game in the future.
About Nemacolin Woodlands Resort:
Nemacolin is one of North America's premier luxury resort destinations. Situated on nearly 2,000 acres in Farmington, Pennsylvania, Nemacolin features 320 luxurious guestrooms, suites, townhouses and private upscale homes. The resort offers championship golf, including the Pete Dye-designed Mystic Rock golf course, as well as an internationally acclaimed spa collection. Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy our Shooting Academy; Wildlife Academy that features everything from safari tours to dog sledding; Adventure Center, complete with zip lines and climbing wall; and Jeep Off-Road Driving Academy. Nemacolin boasts 15 restaurants and lounges, including Lautrec, a Forbes Five Star and AAA Five Diamond restaurant experience. For meetings and events, Nemacolin's 32,000 square feet of conference space includes three ballrooms, a lecture hall and 25 meeting rooms.