Reader Greg Hall reviews St Mellion Golf and Country Club, Cornwall, England
St Mellion Golf and Country Club nestles in England’s Cornish country side, a short drive over the border from Devon and readily accessible to the golfing tourist.
A former venue of the European Tour’s Benson and Hedges International Open, this golf course has a pedigree with Olazabal, Langer and Ballesteros being among the names to have lifted the trophy here.
No bigger name in golf
If we really are name dropping then St Mellion can pull its trump card because one of its two courses was designed by the great Jack Nicklaus.
Built in 1988, the Nicklaus course was meant to answer criticism directed at the original course. The club brought in the big guns to build something a little bit special and it’s something they did very well.
They had a good starting point.
Full of character and beauty
Cornwall is full of natural splendour and the site for the Nicklaus was true to form, set around the hilltop of the original course, it uses the steep valley sides and natural waterways to frame a course that is as full of character as it is beauty.
Jack has built in his signature undulations, presented smaller, quirky greens and the fairways offer you just enough width but no more, making this a course to be thought through, not beaten into submission with a driver.
For those who might succumb to the temptation to outmuscle this course, or just those failing to stay on the straight and narrow, there is a wealth of danger around the course ready to dent your scorecard.
Steep banks of thick grass, deep and winding streams, lakes, hedge rows and gorse to name a few.
For the humble golfer this can only add to the charm though. The danger sets the challenge and sense of accomplishment when you do manage to tame a few holes.
Be ready to tip your cap and smile when from time to time you have to admit that “yep, you got me there Jack.”
The reward for your hard work will be a round of golf to remember.
Jaw dropping vistas
he number of signature holes on this course outnumbers the rest with the start to the back nine being a personal favourite of jaw dropping vistas in the late afternoon sun.
Should the golf be particularly gruelling, those choosing to stay in the hotel or surrounding lodges (recently built in a bid to host the English Open) have the added luxury of being able to unwind in the resorts pool, spa and sauna.
The resort also boasts a gym and tennis courts but if you’ve chosen to walk the hilly course, you will have earned the rest.
For any longer visits, there is also the Kernow course with its much shorter, more forgiving layout to take a breather and rebuild your confidence.
I dare anyone visiting St Mellion to drive down the driveway without a tingle of excitement at the opportunity to play ‘the course that Jack built’.