Another example of big, bold Jack Nicklaus course design where there is almost no let up in challenge from first to last. I found St Mellion did at least offer some subtlety and variety unlike the Nicklaus-designed PGA Centenary course at Gleneagles, which I played in 2011, prior to its pre-Ryder Cup changes. The 3rd fairway, 4th green and each of the 307 yards of the 5th demand precision, thanks to water hazards which feature on many holes. The lake at the 18th looks far smaller than when shown on television during the 1990s when the course hosted a European tour event. However, it is still a sufficient menace given the narrow entrance to the green and the various run offs. In contrast to the need for precision, many of the long holes permit (or demand) a lusty blow with the big stick. The ability to hit the ball both ways is also helpful with the numerous doglegs. The conditioning throughout is of high quality and some of the holes are outstanding, although this should be no surprise given what appears to be favourable land. My apologies if this was not the case at time of creation. However, the 9th still has the look of a placeholder, similar in design to many holes of the visitors’ course at the London Club (The International). St Mellion is a big test especially when playing it on a windy, damp and grey Sunday afternoon in June. Playing it in afternoon sunshine would have given me a better impression but regardless of that, the top notch challenge and conditioning are there for all to see.
Date: June 15, 2012