St Mellion Hotel and Golf Club – Nicklaus Course

What we say

Set in 450 acres of prime rolling Cornish countryside, it’s the pride and joy – and flagship course – of Crown Golf. That’s not surprising considering its undoubted pedigree – it was the first European course designed by the great Jack Nicklaus and has hosted six Benson & Hedges International Opens.

The mighty Nicklaus course is the main attraction at Crown Golf’s flagship venue. It’s long and demanding – arguably the toughest inland course in the UK – and easy-on-the-eye. It celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2013 and it’s been thrilling golfers from all over the world ever since opening in 1988. A masterpiece and must play with one memorable hole following another. There’s quality on-site accommodation and outstanding facilities on offer too. 

There are so many star holes it’s difficult to know where to start and at the beginning of the back nine it even boasts its own version of Augusta’s Amen Corner. The stunning par-3 11th did however come about by accident. “We hadn’t anticipated this hole at all,” admitted Nicklaus. “We had gone from the 10th to the 12th and the 12th was going to be the 11th… and then I took another look and saw an opportunity for a great short hole.”  

This spectacular hole didn’t serve Nicklaus too well when he played it though, famously shanking it off the tee while locked in a St Mellion Trophy battle alongside Tom Watson against Nick Faldo and Sandy Lyle soon after the course opened in the late 1980s. Other memorable holes include the short par-4 5th, which offers a bit of respite on the ultra-demanding front nine and the sensational par-5 12th, which winds its way between towering timber with a babbling brook protecting the front of the green.

St Mellion Hotel and Golf Club is big, bold and brassy…and you’ll love it to bits. In fact, once you’ve played here, virtually all other golf courses will pale into insignificance: precious few inland layouts can match St Mellion’s dynamic combination of quality, challenging golf and awe-inspiring aesthetics. 

To say it presents a stern test of golf is a gross understatement and you certainly have to be on the ball from the word go: the front nine is particularly demanding and you need to keep it on the fairway – or else! There are many outstanding individual holes. In fact there’s barely a single weak link at this Cornish cracker which truly lives up to its star billing and reputation.

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The first European course personally designed by the 18 times Major winner, Jack Nicklaus, was officially opened at St Mellion on the Devon Cornwall border in 1988.

To celebrate the occasion a USA vs Great Britain match was held and screened live on the BBC, with Nicklaus himself partnering Tom Watson against Sandy Lyle and Nick Faldo, with Britain coming out victorious. After the occasion Nicklaus was quoted “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”.

Nicklaus’ belief proved to be well founded as the course went on to become a stalwart of the European Tour, hosting the Benson & Hedges International Open on 6 occasions, The Midas English Seniors Open on 2 occasions and confirmed as the host for the English Open for five years on its return to the tour in 2011.

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Even for Jack Nicklaus the course is unique, benefitting from the exceptional South West topography. It has its own Amen Corner not dissimilar to Augusta, including the signature hole 11, a daunting but stunning par 3.

The course has been a regular fixture on the UK Top 100 and narrowly lost out as the host venue for the 1993 Ryder Cup. It is also regarded as second only to Carnoustie as the most difficult golf course in Great Britain.

St Mellion International Resort is a surprisingly stylish and modern resort with a great golfing heritage.

The multi million pound re-development includes a brand new 4 star standard, 80 bedroom hotel and extensive refurbishment of the existing clubhouse, and awaits the return of the European Tour from 2011 where it will play host the English Open.

Set in 450 acres of stunning Cornish countryside, St Mellion International Resort is the leading venue for golf and the perfect destination for both business and pleasure.

With its two championship golf courses, including the UK’s first Jack Nicklaus designed ‘Signature Course’, one of only three in England; this famous West Country resort has hosted the Benson & Hedges International Open on six occasions and most recently the English Seniors Open, firmly securing St Mellion’s position as the finest venue for golf in the South West and as one of Europe’s premier resorts for both golf and leisure.

  • Course Summary

  • Costs 3 out of 5
  • TG Rating 4 out of 5
  • Players Rating 4.1 out of 5
  • Address
    St Mellion, , SALTASH
  • Tel 01579 351351
  • Website

Course Information

Course 72 par
Course Style -
Green Fees Mon-Wed: £75. Thurs-Fri: £85. Sat-Sun: £95
Course Length 6,572 yards (6,009 metres)
Holes 18
Difficulty Hard 0-10
Course Membership Proprietary

Course Features

  • Course has: Bar
  • Course has: Buggy Hire
  • Course has: Driving Range
  • Course has: Practice Green
  • Course has: Pro Shop
  • Course has: Restaurant
  • Course has: Trolley Hire
  • Course has: Dress Code
  • Course has: Club Hire
  • Course does not have: Handicap

Your Reviews

  • 5 out of 5 The ultimate test of golf

    By Auric

    What ever your H/C play to it round St Mellion and you will have played your best ever golf. Quite simply the best golf course you will ever play. Not even tigers length will help him here, if the rough doesn't get you, the greens will. If you want to play the best golf course in England, possibly Europe, the Nicklaus course at St Mellion is it.

  • 4.5 out of 5 One of the best

    By Richardsandson

    Alot of the golf courses I play are beautiful in their own right and in their own individual ways. This course however, somehow manages to stand above the rest. The facilities are very good, the staff have always been very welcoming and professional, (as are 99% of course staff everywhere to be honest.) But if like me you enjoy parkland golf than course just can't be matched. On a sunny day it feels really special. If your driving is off though, you're doomed!

  • 4.5 out of 5 unbeatable golf

    By pokerdave

    If you get a chance to play any where in Britain this has to be the ONE, lots of testing and thinking golf, some holes were only down the middle will do. I've played here twice and can't wait to go back.

  • 3 out of 5 nice course shame about the walk

    By lexo

    yes a nice course but blimey what a hike from one green to the next tee !!!

  • 4 out of 5 Unique

    By jimbob2

    Loved playing the course. Not too expensive lovely cafe and freindly staff. If you stay at the lodges at oakridge you get half price green fees and free rounds on the old course which is a challenge in itself

  • 5 out of 5 Astonishing Golf Course

    By chrisloukes

    We played here on a Golfbreaks weekend, we were upgraded to a superb lodge on...'Olazabal Drive' set jusyt a few mins shuttle bus ride (provided by the course) from the restaurant....Old Course is a 7/10 with some lovely undulating fairways but not much (apart from tree-lined fairways) in the way of trouble. The Nicklaus course is the finest course ive played in the UK. Some utterly breathtaking holes my favourite was the 12th but there are so many gems here all a real challenge. its a real walk but playing this course is an absolute must!!

  • 4 out of 5 Going back again!

    By Anonymous

    Played this course in August a couple of times and really enjoyed it. The tees were getting ready for some Senior Tour event and I gave them the benefit of the doubt because it was fun to play. A long walk but a thinking persons course. No driving off every tee, and Jack obviously enjoys the fade shot. The course got me on day one but changed strategy the following day and played to handicap of 8. I know this course has it's critics but we are going back because we had a cracking time, and good all round laugh. The greens are excellent, the standards expected high, and it's just great to play a course that the great man has built. I can't think why anyone would be disappointed in a visit here, unless they have the privelege of playing the top courses reegularly. We love it, and the plush facilities. It's one you have at least got to try.

  • 2.5 out of 5 test

    By Anonymous

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