“I knew it was going to be good, but not this good...it’s everything I had hoped for and more...St Mellion is potentially the best golf course in Europe.”
That’s designer Jack Nicklaus after his first creation on the continent opened in 1988. He’s pretty happy with it. As he should be.
So exemplary is the layout, it hosted the Benson & Hedges International Open for six years with Jose Maria Olazabal, Justin Langer and Seve Ballesteros some of the coveted names to land the trophy.
However, in recent years this route has become somewhat forgotten, rarely spoken about among the top table to UK tracks. Perhaps that is because it no longer stages a prestigious event (which the club doesn't do because it costs a lot). Perhaps it is because it’s tucked away in Cornwall.
Nonetheless, St Mellion deserves much more acclaim.
In the Tamar Valley, around 30 mins north of Plymouth. Saltash is the place. There is a hotel attached to the club, offering a vast array of accommodation.
Designed by an American, and the red, white, and blue influence can be seen throughout.
First, second and third cuts are manicured beautifully, while greens are fast and undulating.
Water and bunkers are the main gremlin throughout, and they are not in short supply. Get through the round without finding either, and you’ve had an outrageous day.
It is a stunning round of golf, with the serene water hazards and tall trees framing the holes in picturesque form.
Many of the tee boxes are elevated, offering plunging views down onto fairways and greens.
This is a tough design, requiring players to hit fairways off the tee. A wizard’s short game is required with two-tiered greens and tough pin placements aplenty.
A top-class design, well worthy of a trip down to Cornwall. American style with lots of water and bunkers, this will test even the best players.
Head to the St Mellion website for more.