With the recent announcement that the European Tour's English Open will be returning to St Mellion from 2009-2013, operator Crown Golf has embraked on a major revamp of the Cornish resort.
The £100 million upgrade is now well underway with the hotel, course and clubhouse projects due to be completed by the end of March 2009.
The front nine holes of the Nicklaus course have re-opened and the back nine is being refurbished, with new cart paths, irrigation, bunkers and tee areas. The course works will be complete by the end of October.
The newly-renamed Kernow Course (formerly the Old Course) – will be completed by the end of October with some final bunker alterations to follow in the New Year. Two new holes have been constructed on land behind the current tenth. New lakes and bunkers have been formed and the greens are being grown in. These holes will not be used until summer 2010.
Sportcrete is installing its patented bunker liner product as part of the renovation. "The drainage characteristics of our product enable the steep bunker faces at St Mellion to retain sand and remain playable in severe weather conditions," said Ian Tittershill, the company's UK managing director.
Work has also begun on the new 80 bedroom hotel. Stage one was the creation of a steel structure which is due to be fitted with individual bedroom 'pods' that have been manufactured in Scotland. The main structure of the hotel will be completed by the end of this month and has a vastly reduced carbon footprint to conventional construction methods.
This article first appeared in issue 14 of Golf Course Architecture, published in October 2008.