As we move through the spring and into early summer, we move into a different phase of the growing season. Accordingly, our programme changes too.
Because of the snowfalls in March, we delayed hollow-coring this year until the end of April, expecting the ambient temperature to rise and stimulate growth. The hollow-coring itself was successfully managed, but May's relatively low temperatures meant that the cores have taken longer than normal to heal.
Once hollow-cored, the greens are dressed with sand and watered at 400% the normal rate to aid recovery. With May's temperatures not being ideal for new growth, the grass recovery rate was slower. The bumpiness we all experienced on the greens during this period due not only to the hollow coring, but also to the fact that our greens consist of four different grass types. One of these is a colonial grass, which grows quicker in colder temperatures. Since this grows quicker than non-colonial grasses, it made our greens more bumpy on the putt.
We're happy to say that we now have the greens at a point where they are 95% recovered, and they will continue to get better and better through the year.
Our aim once again is to have the best greens for many miles around, through the bulk of the 2013 golf season, and we think we will achieve this.
But we are not only focusing on our greens. We'll also be working hard on increasing the grass coverage in the semi-rough, and in our green-surrounds, to give that very desirable dark-green contrast between fairways and greens. This not only makes the course play better, but aesthetically it works wonders too, making the course look as beautiful as possible.
Bunker work will continue, and we'll eventually have all green-side bunkers reworked and full of new sand.
If you have any questions about the golf course, and course conditions, then please don't hesitate to contact Ceri at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As you may be aware, we are hosting a very special Papworth charity day on June 21st - the longest day of the year. We're calling it the 'Mid-Summer Masters', and we hope that many of you will be entering a team to play golf with a celebrity, and to raise money for this literally life-saving cause.
In addition, we are delighted to announce something new - a Members' Invitation Day, once again in aid of Papworth Hospital Charity, on Friday 27th September.
This will be an opportunity for Members to bring their guests and business clients along for a great day out at their golf club, and also to show off our beautiful golf course and fabulous food.
The day's format will be a Team Stableford competition, with the best two from four scores in each group counting towards some great prizes.
There will also be Nearest The Pin and Longest Drive prizes, plus of course individual winners and runners up.
The day will cost £45 for Members' Guests, and just £20 for Members. This includes 18 holes shotgun start (10am) and 3-Course Meal after you play. There will also be an auction and raffle.
Naturally, all proceeds go towards the Charity, to assist our 2013 goal of purchasing an extra 'ECMO' machine for Papworth Hospital.
Summer is just around the corner ... so ladies and gentlemen, it's time to put your new-look polo shirts on. Most gear in the shop has our latest 'Seve Signature' logo on, so please wear the colours and support your club by wearing our gear when you're playing away from The Shire.
This month, all the summer gear is ready and waiting for you in the Shire London pro shop.
Sunny? We have the latest OAKLEY sunglasses in stock (and shoes, and caps...)
Warm? We have the latest GMac, IJP and FootJoy logo polo shirts.
Not so warm? We've got the new light summer logo sweaters in from GMac, and more.
Feet need some TLC? We've got the very latest FootJoy M Project spikeless golf shoes in stock.
Lost? We have the latest BUSHNELL laser rangefinders in stock.
Bag looking tatty? We have some great logoed Titelist golf bags for you ...
Balls a bit dirty? Treat yourself to the new Pro-V1s, or perhaps the Srixon AD33s - in the pro shop now.
Need a haircut? Sorry, we can't help there, but we can sell you a Shire 'Seve Signature' logo cap to hide the split ends.
BARNET, NORTH LONDON - Golf magazines and websites have been running the story about the iconic new sight which we all see, when we turn off the main road! A stunning new life-size statue of Seve Ballesteros now greets all visitors to The Shire London, in Hertfordshire.
Shire owner Tony Menai Davis decided to commission the statue on April 9th, on the day that the club marked what would have been the Spaniard's 56th birthday.
Borehamwood-based metal designers Joro Originals designed and built the piece, which recreates Ballesteros's iconic fist-pumping victory celebration on the 72nd hole of the 1984 Open Championship at St Andrews.
"This spectacular new artwork is a fitting way for us to celebrate our seventh golf season" said Menai Davis. "Seve visited The Shire London several times and is warmly remembered by all who met him on his visits here. He was first and foremost a gentleman, as well as an outstanding sportsman and golf course architect, and we are tremendously pleased that his winning pose - which we also have as our logo here - is now the first thing you see when you visit The Shire London."
Early admirers included Arsenal international footballers Theo Walcott and Aaron Ramsey who, along with many of their Arsenal team mates, played Seve's course at The Shire London on the day following their team's qualification for the 2013/14 European Champions League.
Joro, who specialise in custom metalwork, used galvanised mild steel to create the statue. Painted black, the intricate detailing cleverly recreates this most famous of all Ballesteros photos. The 1.83m (6ft) statue - Seve's exact height - sits on a massive Cornish granite base, taking the artwork's overall height to an imposing 2.65m (8ft 8 inches).
The piece sits on 1m deep level foundations, created by course manager Tony Peterson and his staff. The total weight, including base, is 2.5 tonnes.
We're looking forward to another eventful and enjoyable summertime at The Shire London, and as we enter our seventh season we have a typically full agenda here at the club.
Although many of you will by now have visited our new range in west London, and will be aware of the two golf courses we are building over there, no matter what happens elsewhere in the group The Shire London will always be our priority.
It is the standard-setter for everything which we are doing. Memberships at The Shire are among London's most-prized, and we always strive to give you, our valued Members, the best possible service and quality.
One look at the Ballesteros Masters golf course in May will tell you that our magnificent, international-class golf course truly will look, and play, better this season than it has ever done. Elsewhere on this website you can read about some of the work which Tony Peterson's course management team has been doing, but we are as passionate about presenting the course in best-possible condition, as you are about playing it.
On the greens, we'll average between 10 and 11 on the Stimpmeter this season, much faster than the average for Hertfordshire. Augusta is 13.
We are doing our bit to encourage beginners by launching a new Get Into Golf membership... new blood is essential if golf is to attract the commercial investment it needs to keep up with other sports, many of which receive more government funds than golf, in this country at least.
Elsewhere we have the Mid-Summer Masters charity coming up on June 21st, to raise money for Papworth Hospital. Please consider entering a team for this, as the money all goes straight to the life-saving ECMO fund.
Please read through the latest Blogs on our website, to catch up with some of the new developments at the golf club.
And as always, we look forward to seeing you out on the golf course, and in the clubhouse for a Chef's Special afterwards.
Tony Peterson and the course management team have dropped the cutting heights now, and the golf course is being presented in its best-possible configuration. With good growth in May we should see Seve Ballesteros' stunning golf course in best-ever condition right through until the Autumn.
We are ironing the greens twice a week, so look out for the speed to increase to 11 soon. With the Hertfordshire average at about 8, this means Shire members have the best club in the county at which to develop a smooth putting stroke – something which our club teams can take to those away matches with confidence!
By comparison, Augusta is usually around 13 come Masters time, although they appeared to be a little slower this year.
There has been significant bunker work on holes 2, 3, 5, 6, 8, 9, 13 and 16, with most being dug out, freshly lined, refilled with new sand and edged. In fact, after a bunker audit we are edging all bunkers on the golf course, as part of the ongoing programme, and all bunkers will soon have been topped-up.
Our tees, fairways and rough will also be presented as immaculately as possible during the same season-long programme.
There really is no excuse not to lower your handicap on the course this year. And if it is not happening, speak to Lee Cox and Chris Whitelegg – they'll sort you out.