In 2008 work began on the £20 million redevelopment of St Mellion International Resort, of which an integral part was the enhancement of the original golf course. First designed by J. Hamilton Stutt, it opened in 1976 and quickly became a “must play” course. Inclusion on the European Tour saw it ranked alongside the elite, and it soon went on to host other tournaments, including the TPC. Changes included improving the existing holes and adding nine new holes, and in 2010 the newly-renamed Kernow Course was born.
At just less than 6,000 yards it is the perfect foil for the Nicklaus Course, and although danger lurks in the form of well-placed bunkers and water hazards, it also offers generous fairways and greens. There are several stand-out holes, but the run from the sixth to the ninth both tests and excites the golfer in equal measure.
However, St Mellion’s star attraction is undoubtedly the Nicklaus signature course. Designed by Jack Nicklaus and opened in 1988, the course instantly began its strong association with the European Tour by hosting the B&H International Open and always attracted a strong field – illustrated by winners including Bernhard Langer and Seve Ballesteros.
It was always noted as one of the year’s toughest tests for even elite players and that remains the case today, even though it can be made playable for higher handicappers by playing off the 6,200-yard tees.
Water hazards, large bunkers and rough punish waywardness – not least on the stellar closing hole or on St Mellion’s ‘Amen Corner’ from the 10th to the 12th.
The Nicklaus signature course is amongst the finest golf courses anywhere, and was also the first European course personally designed by Nicklaus: “I knew it was going to be good, but not this good… it’s everything I hoped for and more… St Mellion is potentially the finest golf course in Europe.”