Designed by Harry Colt and opened for play in 1937, the course at St Mellons Golf Club lies halfway between Cardiff and Newport, so it’s conveniently positioned to cater for golfing needs of players in both cities.
In The Golfers Guide to Wales by John Pinner, the author has this to say about the course: “The opening hole, a par-4, which is perfectly flat and straight from tee to green, more often than not gives the first-time visitor a feeling of complacency.
The same can also be said about the 2nd hole if you are not in the habit of slicing your tee shot, which, although a dogleg left, is another comparatively easy par-4. After this the course throws up an exciting challenge.
Especially so at the the slightly uphill par-3 3rd, which is guarded by some large bunkers and a grassy bank at the front and to the right of an undulating green. The remainder of the outward nine holes go gently downhill and uphill with woods awaiting the sliced shots.
The inwards half levels out somewhat, but has many trees to contend with. The closing two holes offer a tremendous, challenging finish. The 17th, a par-4, is all about accuracy from the tee. The same can be said about the par-5 finishing hole.
You realise you have done rather well if only one shot has been dropped over these two excellent finishing holes. Definitely a course to visit!”
Another of those parkland courses in the Cardiff area, St.Mellons does seem a bit hemmed in and carpark and clubhouse areas on arrival seem in need of some tlc. I've played St Mellons a number of times over the years and I've never played when you could describe the course condition as anything better than average; once it was poor, once it was very wet, other times just about ok. The course itself could not be described as a Colt Classic, with surprisingly a lack of fairway bunkering, but it has a reasonable mix of holes including five par 3's and three par 3's.
The course layout does seem a bit disjointed in that it is transversed by a number of tracks/small roads that seem to divide the course up into 2, 3 or 4 holes sections. The 1st and 2nd holes seem separate from the rest of the course but the 2nd is a good dogleg par 4 over 400 yards where you need to position yourself to the right of the trees on the left. The 3rd seems to be on it's own and is the pick of the par 3's, around 200 yards uphill to a narrow tiered green with trees left and slope right. The 4th is probably the pick of the short par 4's with the green raised on a plateau and guarded by bunkers. Holes 5 and 8 are probably the weakest of the par 3's and just seem to get you to and from holes 6 and 7 which are on their own the other side of a track. Holes 6 and 7 are both around 470-480 yards, the 6th being a par 4 because it's downhill and the 7th a par 5 because it's uphll. There are some other long par 4's including the 10th, 17th and 18th so the course is no pushover. Holes 11-14 is another section of holes worth mentioning as 11 is a nice short par 3, 12 is a longer par 5, 13 a shorter par 5 and 14 a reasonable par 3 over a dip.
Overall St.Mellons lacks flow and has no stand-out holes but (possibly helped by quite an unusual layout) has enough interest to warrant a visit if in the area.