DUNCANSVILLE - Located along Route 36, just a few miles south of Hollidaysburg, there is a little gem of golf course that many people don't even know is there.
The main reason this nine-hole layout remains relatively unknown is the fact the course, known as "The Farm at Barneywood" is part of a larger, private facility built and maintained by the owners of NPC - a digital-solutions company with locations in Claysburg, Roaring Spring and Altoona - for use by company employees, customers, vendors and guests.
The former farmland on which the golf course now sits was purchased years ago by NPC's founder, the late Barney Barnhart. It was his vision that the property include a golf course, lodge and other meeting facilities which could be used to foster relationships with the stakeholders of their company.
Luke Barnhart and his father, Mark Barnhart, stand near the fifth hole of their golf course, Barneywood.
Barney's son, current owner Mark Barnhart, has been the person responsible for making this vision a reality and has overseen the transformation of this property. In addition to the many other facilities, the first semblance of a golf course appeared in the early 1990s when the first green was constructed.
"Our family and friends really enjoyed golfing, and it wasn't long before we built a second green - so we could play back and forth between the two," Mark Barnhart said.
A third green followed, and soon plans were under way to construct a full nine-hole layout on the 50-acre property. While the Barnharts oversaw the design, course caretaker Pete Rinker was in charge of the construction and maintains the course to this day.
"You would hardly recognize the property from what it looked like in the beginning," Rinker said. "We've really made a lot of changes."
Today, the nine-hole golf course stretches nearly 3,000 yards and includes three par-3s, four par-4s and two par-5s - one of which measures over 500 yards. Several ponds and other water hazards are located throughout the course. Tightly mowed fairways and strategically placed sand traps are also features of this scenic little course.
"We had some help in the beginning from some local greenskeepers," Barnhart said. "But the entire course was built and is maintained today by our own employees."
While not a public facility, any NPC employee (in good standing) is welcome and encouraged to play the course at no cost. They can also bring a guest who is charged a nominal fee. Rob Laubenstein of Altoona is a document processor at NPC's Roaring Spring facility who has played the course many times.
"I often play a couple of times a week," Laubenstein said. "I'll stop after work and walk nine holes. The course is really nice, and it's so great they offer this to employees - they're a fantastic company to work for."
To focus only on the golf course would do the entire property an injustice as many other activities are conducted on the premises. Meetings, conferences and team building seminars are often scheduled in any one of the property's many custom-built structures.
The company also hosts summer movie nights on the property at a temporary outdoor theater that is open to all employees and their families. In the spring, a large-scale Easter egg hunt is attended by children and grandchildren of the nearly 500 employees of NPC.
All of these activities are just part of the culture at NPC, according to Barnhart.
"It reflects one of our basic philosophies - 'we take care of the people who take care of the company,''' he said.
It just happens that along the way they've created one of Blair County's best-kept golfing secrets.