Having played the Nicklaus course now on five different occasions over the last two years and not yet posted a review, I felt I’d share my thoughts after reading all the earlier posts with some interest. I think there are too many fawning comments and few over-critical reviews. The course is supremely challenging and is perhaps too tough for the high handicapper but in many places it has been forced onto land and capped off by ugly mounding. When Nicklaus designed St Mellion in the 1980’s farmers up and down the country were swapping potato fields for golf courses and St Mellion is certainly one of the finest examples from farmer Giles.
“Potentially the finest golf course in Europe” was how Nicklaus described his course after the exhibition match to commemorate its opening. Finest – no way. Toughest maybe. Nicklaus should go back to Cornwall and take a 21st century look but avoid any Cornish ale beforehand. There are however some fantastic holes (but there are a few poor holes too, especially on the back nine). The elevation changes make for excitement but the up and down nature of the routing and the long walks between holes make it a miserable experience to play on foot. Good job St Mellion was built with cart paths and good job they have an excellent revenue generating fleet. If the visiting golfer is expecting an architectural masterpiece then St Mellion will disappoint. If you’re looking for an exciting and brutish round and prefer modern to classic then you’ll be a happy golfer.
Some misguided ex-golf pro posted below that this a young course that will naturally blend in with its surroundings as it matures. It won’t. We’ll have to wait for somebody to reshape areas of this course before it will appear natural I’m afraid. Somebody said below that it’s one of the best stay and play golfing facilities in the UK for golfers. If you like staying in Travel Lodges you’ll be fine but it’s not the place to take your non-golfing partner as they will be bored rigid while you’re enjoying your five-hour round. Niall
Date: November 30, 2011