I’ve played the Nicklaus course at St Mellion regularly over the last few years so it’s overdue a review. There’s no doubt it can be tough challenge if you’re wayward from tee. Most of the fairways don’t contain too much undulation other than incline, however miss them and streams, trees and thick rough with an awkward stance await you if you can find your ball. The course starts out with a blind tee shot that requires you to be bold to ensure the green is visible; it’s also very easy to under club with your approach and come up short. The course then works its way up and down a wooded valley where water is never far away. Personally I feel the back 9 is better, too many long grinding par 4’s on the front 9, feels like you’re always hitting uphill! For me the best sequence of holes starts on 9, a mediocre par 4 followed by 10-12 which are the courses standout holes, 10 is a great downhill par 4 which needs an accurate drive to the left hand side of the fairway, 11 a great par 3 needing a very precise iron shot to carry the water and hazards and have any chance of par. The 12th is probably my favourite, a par 5 needing a fade from the tee too have any chance of seeing the green in two. If you fancy your chances of having an eagle putt you need to carry the stream which crosses the front of the green complex which itself is shaped to reject any careless shots. The round ends with two tough par 4’s, both needing you to position the ball in the right place and have any chance of reaching the greens, the 18th has a pond in front to collect any shots which are short or left. Whenever I’ve visited the greens (and indeed the whole course) have always been in good condition, as earlier reviewers have said they have lots of slope and random humps, a typical Nicklaus design. They’ve always been very true when I’ve played and will punish any loss of concentration with the putter.
The course markets itself a lot to societies and groups so slow play can be problem if you get stuck behind some high handicappers, I always tend to play mid-afternoon when they do some great deals on green fees and most of the large groups will have finished. I prefer to walk courses but I would advise taking a buggy here, there are some severe inclines and long walks between holes, I only made the mistake of walking once. It’s one of those courses I would play if in the area rather (I have family in Plymouth and it’s certainly the best course nearest to the city) than make it a destination, there are much better courses in Cornwall and Devon although if you like the resort style and great conditioning you’ll enjoy St Mellion. Overall a 4 ball course for me when compared to the local competition.
Date: May 10, 2019