Review's of The Shire London
A wonderful course
The Shire London is a par 72 parkland/lakeland course in Barnet, Hertfordshire. Opened in 2002, it is the only course in the UK that is a solely accredited course designed by Seve Ballesteros.
A feature of the design, apart from the 12 holes which include water hazards, is that there are 6 of each par 3s, par 4s and par 5s, but also that there are no consecutively played holes of the same par. Water is prominently in play in 5 of the 6 par 3s.
There are three available mens tees, ie the Emerald (green), the Diamond (white) and Sapphire (blue) tees. The white and blue tees are the equivalent of most clubs white and yellow tees. The greens are the championship tees.
I played the course following an open invite from TSG and The Shire member Chris Ehimuan. He exercised members privilege and we played from the whites, a mere 6,531 yards. The SSS was a one over par 73. I would have preferred to play from the blue tees as I feared that there would be lots of dangerous carries which would be beyond my capability. My fears were well founded in terms of the par 3s. Unusually the ladies played to the same par 72 but the Ruby (red) tees were almost a 1,000 yards shorter than the whites.
The course was in wonderful condition, especially the tee boxes, fairways, bunkers and greens. The fairways were fairly wide but there was a lot of long grass mounds/banking flanking the fairways which had to be carried or avoided. There were numerous fairway and deep greenside bunkers which although in great condition were very difficult to escape from. Avoid! Lay up short of the bunkers if there is any doubt about the carries facing approaches to the greens. A bogey is better than a double or triple!
However, I thought the best feature of the course was the condition of the greens. Probably because of the preponderance of water, the greens were generally very large, though not obviously so from the fairways and were generally of true lines and fast paced. The greens were the best I have played in a long time, if not ever. I made 6 single putts and 10 two putts in a good putting performance.
This is a truely enjoyably but difficult golfing challenge. Personally I think 6 par 3s is 2 too many but hey its the same for everyone who plays the course. The fact that I put two of my par 3 tee shots in the water and only just carried the hazards on another two par 3s, may be having an impact on that assessment.
As a members guest the green paid was only £30. Wonderful VFM. The service provided by the pro-shop and bar staff was excellent. Food was usual golf club fare and of good quality and value.
The clubhouse is a modern, unpretentious, and functional building, with the pro-shop located within the building. It is prominently adorned with photographs of Seve in honour of the great man.
Play it if you can get a good vfm deal.
PS. A couple of niggly points, I didn't like the long/narrow format of the club scorecard and secondly, I didn't think their website was very helpful from a customer user point of view.
played here on a corporate day and was totally underwhelmed by the course so glad i didn't have to pay.
Fantastic course and a brilliant Pro by the name of Lee Cox
Very good course, well maintained and tough. A good test of golf. Modern club house with good food
A wonderful memory of the great man....
So the first thing you notice on the card as you make your way to the first tee is that this is like no other course you’ve been too. Yes, it was Seve’s insistence that there should be an even mix of par threes, fours and fives, and that no two consecutive holes should play to the same par... and it works!
The first hole starts with a pretty Par 3 to ease you into your round but note, you are playing across water. Just the first of 14th holes on the course that include water in their layout. You’ve been warned. The holes then rotate with a Par 4, Par 5 returning to a Par 3 again, and so on. Surprisingly, this doesn’t break your flow, but actually, compliments your play.
Of course, the tee boxes are perfect. Of course, the greens are as good as you play anywhere in the area.
And yes, the rough is long, forcing you to play the kind of shot Seve would want you to.
The standout holes:
Hole 3 – A pretty 140 yards Par 3 (across water) a big flat green to give you a chance
Hole 7 – Another inspiring 118 yard Par 3 that finishes on an island green (across water – again!)
Hole 9 – An uphill 400+ yard Par 4 flanked by mature trees and a well-protected green
Hole 11 – A 500+ yard straight Par 5, but leave enough room to clear the centred oak in the approach to the green
Hole 13 – A short tee shot to the turn and long 3 wood, gives you a birdie chance but go long off the tee and you’ll be in trouble.
Hole 15 – An ascending fairway with a right dog-leg that invites you to hit an expansive flat green. Another birdie opportunity.
Hole 18 – A good drive on this 365 yard Par 4 will tempt you to go for the green….but beware of the ‘S’ shaped water feature, as you’ll need to be pinpoint accurate if you want to avoid a bogey.
This hole provides a superb vista for those watching you finish in the clubhouse.
Seve clearly enjoyed designing golf course after his retirement from the game and although I am sure he would have preferred to have continued playing, this course allows his name to live on for generations.
We are very lucky to have this memory of him!
Very pricey would want more for money
Was expecting better very over priced 25 quid for a junior and a ridiculous 35 for a buggy small club house but smart food bad the best pure orange this year
Good but have played better courses
The entrance is what you would expect from a course with this pedigree, being met by a bronze statue of the man himself, Seve, who designed it. A very nice clubhouse, with friendly and efficient staff.
Excellent practice facilities,so turn up early to take full advantage
The opening hole-a par 3 is reputed to be the hardest opener in Europe. The golf course is on high ground and wind is a constant factor, and on the first ,prevailing wind is against, so a 150ish par 3, from the members tee, with a lake immediately in front, is very daunting. My score, of 7 is a good indication,, and immediately intimidation sets in.
There is a LOT of water on this course, and holes are not short.
Greens, as you would expect are very good, with subtle borrows, so first timers will have all sorts of difficulties. This is a course where you need a fair amount of knowledge.
I found the fairways disappointing. Not what you would expect...dry, and the quality of grass below par with tufts sticking up in places...no manicured fairways here.
Altogether though a good day out, but at £50 a round..there are better courses to visit for the money.
starting to look a bit tired
Usually love playing this course with it's quirkiness and layout being right up my street but played today and even taking the harsh winter into account i thought the course was looking a little bit tired and scruffy although i have to say a "welldone" to the green staff for the state of the greens they were running really well considering.
Test yourself against the Seve Ballesteros creation
I've played the Shire 6 times now, it gets better and better and no easier.
Ten minutes from the M25 it is easy to find. The car park is gated, you drive past a statue of the great man Ballesteros as you come down the drive.
The club house is plush and modern.
Food and pro shop are good, a little pricey £2.25 for a coffee but quality is throughout.
The practise facilities are good, superb putting green and great chipping area. Driving range is £2 for 20 balls.
The course is in fantastic condition as i write this review.
The course has water on 12 holes, so if you have a fear of it? stay away!
The first is a great tester 120 yards off the Blues.
(Greens are for the pro's and whites for members).
The hole has water on three sides with a bridge out to the green.
A well struck 9 iron will see you on safely, but may be too much if you catch it thin.
The second is a very taxing par four. A lay up is a must unless you can carry 260yds!
The third is a difficult par 5, lay up tee shot required again unless you are dead straight.
4th is a very makable par 3
5th is an easyish par 5. You need a decent tee shot here with a bit of draw.
6th is a tough par four. Second shot is the making of this hole, get it wrong forget a par.
Seven is a gentle nine iron
8 is a good par 5 and 9 is a long straight par four but up hill all the way.
10 is a down hill par 4, you just can't go right.
11is a tough par 5, draw needed again.
12 is a tough up hill par 3. 13 a no nosense par 5 where you need to be creative to get a birdie chance.
14 a lovely elevated tee down towards a stream protected green, a gentle seven iron required.
15 is a tough up hill par 4, a good long tee shot needed.
16 is a monster par 5, if its windy try to make bogey!
17 is a very long par 3, always drive left of the pin.
18 is a fairly simple par 4 with loads of water, its Seve's signature hole. A lay up makes sense here, the approach must be accurate to hold the green.
All in all the Shire is a top top course, run by a family who love their golf.
The course can be very busy at times which can be frustrating if your behind a society, 5 hour rounds are not a rareity.
Celebrity spotting at the Shire can be fun...if you support Arsenal for instance!!
Every hole makes you think
This is a really interesting course layout. 6 par 3s, 6 par 4s, 6 par 5s. Loads of water. More bunkers than the Atlantic Wall.
Despite being a beginner golfer I really enjoyed this very technical course. It rewards careful course management.
There's a par 3 practice course, a driving range, a chipping area including bunkers, and a practice green. The clubhouse is very modern and attractive.
Unfortunately the greens had undergone some sort of treatment that had scored lines into them, and there was a lot of sand on them. They were still perfectly playable but I'm sure they will be better in a couple of months.
I'm not sure it's quite worth the £55 per round they charge normally but at today's rate of £10 it was terrific value.
Not An accountant in sight, great course!
Lovely day out! Challenging course for me and I struggled on back nine, greens had been scarified but were perfectly playable, lovely course and will go again at 2-4-1 rates.
'That's for you seve' Jose Maria olazabal 2012
Definitely worth a visit
Water comes into play a lot on this course, and it starts early with a par 3 first that is surrounded by the stuff, and finishes with an uphill par 4 that seems to be more pond than green.
This isn't a course that will roll over and let you tickle its tummy. With lots of deep bunkers, lots of water, and tricky greens, you will have to earn pretty much everything you get. However, with 4 sets of tees you can choose the tee that suits your game, and the fairways aren't especially tight.
My favourite hole? Probably the short par 3 7th. Obviously it's over water.
I hope to go back and play it again, but not with the game I took with me today.
A very tough course
I was a member here for 5 years, and never got bored.
Very tough in places, as it's exposed, so is most often windy.
Water comes into play on 12 holes, so bring plenty of balls.
Try and play off the whites or further back, the green tees.
Interesting Course, Spoilt by weather
Firstly, the club house and entrance to the golf club give a very modern and professional feel. Took advantage of a winter fourball offer that included breakfast and lunch with 18 holes for £40, which was very reasonable. The clubhouse, food and service were excellent.
The course is an interesting mix of 6 par 3s, 6 par 4s and 6 par 5s with no consecutive holes being the same par. Plenty of sand traps and numerous water hazards mean that every shot needs thought.
The course has evidently suffered a bit from the recent wet weather as there were several areas of GUR and the greens/fairways could have been better. That said, they were not bad but we expected them to be better for the usual green fee prices.
The round slightly hampered by snow and hail, so I will definately be returning in the summer when the course is hopefully healthier and the weather warmer.
Every hole was different and never boring, and for that reason I would definately recommend a visit here and hopefully the course will have recovered
blown away but not Blown away
Elements didnt help as we had wind, rain and hail but wasnt overly impressed by the course. There are 6 par 3 4 and 5 and the par 5's in particular all seemed very samey.The greens were not great, almost looked overcut.
The deal we had 160 quid for a fourball inc two lots of food was a very good one.
Good course and would probably have looked a whole lot better in hot sun and shirtsleeves but for me lacking the wow factor one may have expected
A special course-never boring
The only Seve designed course in the uk.
6 par 3's 6 par 4's 6 par 5's none consecutive.
It has a bit of everything links,parkland,hole over water
always worth a visit
Interesting, varied, risk/reward course
Unfortunately it was really wet when we played there but still very enjoyable and a real challenge. You have to think what to play every shot: there are risks to be taken and (sometimes) rewards to be gained, no more so thn on the testing final hole over an S-shaped lake onto the green.
Great course (but expensive)
superb course, quite a walk to the first tee, the 1st is a par 3 water water everywhere you have to be spot on no room for error, hard opening hole for high handicapers. This course has a variety of differnet holes and plays like a lynx on some holes and others you think you are in the USA. All in all great course even though a touch dear.
Poor start then an excellent Seve designed course
Played the Masters Course on a lovely sunny day (didn't look at the 9 hole course).
Clubhouse staff all friendly and prices fair.
Practice facilities were a little disappointing (10 artifical mats on a 220 yard driving range plus a putting green and, I think, a bunker setup).
The course disappointed to start - the first hole is a par 3 to a water surrounded green, then there is a par 4 with two lakes meaning that unless you have a drive that carries 250 yards you must play a 160 yard lay-up, then a par 5 then another par 3, again across water with power lines crossing the fairway.
But then it's like a different course - every hole a different layout, narrow fairways, stratgically placed bunkers and lots of water. With the 18th, back up to the clubhouse and the green set in the back loop of an 'S' shaped pond making a great finish.
In general - course was well laid out, very well maintained and fair value for money (£45) but it would perhaps have been better if they swapped the front & back nines (then you'd have a great start and the disappointing holes would 10-14).