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Page last updated at 17:00 GMT, Monday, 8 June 2009 18:00 UK

St Mellion reopens after update

St Mellion
The final hole on the Nicklaus Course is now one of the great golfing stages

St Mellion has officially been reopened after Crown Golf's £20m refurbishment of the Cornish international resort.

And the resort's signature golf course, designed by the great Jack Nicklaus, has been confirmed as the venue to stage the English Open in 2011.

St Mellion was due to hold the four-day tournament this year until developers ran into financial difficulties.

But a five-year deal has now been signed for St Mellion to start holding the event from September 2011.

It will mean the important restoration of an extra tournament on British mainland soil, the English Open last having been held at Warwickshire's Forest of Arden in 2002.

And Crown Golf's investment means a return to the European Tour circuit after a 14-year absence for St Mellion.

The course, near Saltash, has vastly improved air links, now that Air Southwest are flying a daily service into Plymouth City Airport from 11 different British and Irish destinations.

English Open will boost economy - Towers

And Stephen Towers, St Mellion's resort director, admits that they are expecting to attract golfers from all over the world.

"This is about bringing the course back to life and putting it back on the world stage," he told BBC Spotlight.

"Jack is probably the greatest golfer ever. We've taken his masterpiece and brushed it up. And he has personally been involved in the refurbishment of the course."

Towers said he hoped that St Mellion would employ 30% more people in 2009. And he estimates that visitors to the resort will contribute around £2m this year to the local economy.

"We've already invested heavily in the local economy," he said. "It was local developers who built the hotel.

"But the Nicklaus course will be fantastic for Cornwall. It's bringing new business to the area and is something that puts this area of Cornwall on the map."

The Nicklaus Course, which itself has had a £2m makeover to officially mark its 21st birthday in July, actually staged its first professional event when the British Ladies Open was held there in 1987.

St Mellion
St Mellion's refurbished hotel facilities adjoining the 18th green

From 1990 to 1995, it then became the home of the Benson and Hedges International Open, welcoming a succession of high profile champions, in Jose Maria Olazabal, Bemhard Langer, Paul Broadhurst and Seve Ballesteros.

St Mellion, the brainchild of two local farming brothers, Martin and Hermon Bond, first opened for business in 1976.

And it staged its first three events early in its infancy, holding the B&H there on its Old Course in 1979, followed by the Tournament Players Championship in 1983 and 1984.

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see also
Crunch delays St Mellion return
21 Jan 09 |  Cornwall
Golf club's redevelopment begins
15 Apr 08 |  Cornwall
St Mellion to host English Open
03 Mar 08 |  Golf
Cornwall eyes Ryder Cup golf bid
15 Mar 07 |  Cornwall
Planners consider golf club plan
14 Mar 07 |  Cornwall

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