I have decided my charity this year will be the Friends of the Cancer Centre.
Cancer unfortunately touches the lives of many people. Everyone needs friends when times are tough. The Friends of the Cancer Centre is a local charity available when you or your loved ones need it most.
As one of Northern Ireland's leading cancer charities, Friends of the Cancer Centre is dedicated to making a real difference to local cancer patients and their families by providing life – saving and life changing care and support.
The charity's work focuses on three key areas – patient care, patient comfort and research – with each making a direct and positive impact on thousands of lives each year.
Their work in local cancer research allows the charity to fund additional research staff and vital research equipment which allows for the development of new and improved ways to treat cancer.
All their work relies entirely on public support.
On a recent visit to the City Hospital I saw at first hand their good work and decided that they would be my charity.
I hope on my Captain's Day you will be able to make a small donation to this good cause. If you are not playing that day or would like to donate in advance I have set up a just giving page https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/colm-shannon
The Lady Captain will also have her charity and we hope that in some small way you will be able to support both of us.
Our season is now well and truly underway. The white marker competitions have started, the first Friday evening mixed competition is next week and the weather is starting to improve. No excuse not to be out on the course enjoying your golf.
It has been a challenging winter for the Greens Convenor and his staff. Last weekend there was a noticeable improvement in the speed of the greens. As the weather improves the course and the rough should start to dry out. This weekend the 16 th green will be open and we would ask that you keep buggies and trolleys away from roped off areas.
With all 18 holes now in play the focus over the next few weeks will be on the presentation of the course to ensure it is presented at its best over the summer months.
Easter and the Masters traditionally signals the end of winter and the start of the new golfing season.
At County Armagh the competitions are now well under way. If you haven't got out so far then this weekend's Easter stableford sponsored by Cyril Johnston will give you an opportunity to get your swing into shape.
This Tuesday 3 rd April sees the start of the Tuesday Cup, sponsored again by Traynors Motor Store. I expect to see the usual competitive tussle for top of the leader board right to the last Tuesday in August. It's always a great competition to play in. Personally, I am looking forward to a good performance and I hope you enjoy it as well.
Next week is certainly a busy week as we have our very own Masters Par3 competition on Friday 6 th April. Sponsored by Iron Designs Armagh, the first nine holes will be set up as par 3s and the competition is open to both men and women. Get into the Masters spirit and see if you can master our specially designed par 3 course.
It may be hard to believe but today marks the beginning of spring! The beast from the East and Emma have ruined another weekend's golf but hopefully this marks winter's final icy blast. All being well we hope to have the full 18 holes open next weekend 10 th March – although the 16 th will still be a winter green for another few weeks.
It might be snowing but some of us have been enjoying Will's coaching sessions out at the Hillview Driving Range. Hopefully we will see the benefit with some low scores in the coming weeks!
Best wishes also to Lee Campbell who has taken over in the shop as Will's new Assistant. I am sure you will join me in wishing Lee a long and rewarding career in golf.
The weather is a bit disappointing for golf now but don't despair it is only 69 days to Easter. Hopefully if there isn't too much rain the course will be open again this weekend and you can blow the cobwebs of your swing.
I had my first full Council meeting last night and we got a positive report on membership and our financial position. Also, Davy Baird our Greens Convenor gave an update on the work to the 16 th and some important drainage work to the back and side of the green. It should make a real difference to the long-term sustainability of the green.
This is our 125 th Anniversary year and Council was briefed on plans including the launch of our gala banquet to celebrate the occasion. The banquet will be on Saturday 27 th October and it will be an opportunity for all the families, businesses and members associated with the club, past and present to celebrate our special anniversary.
As Captain for 2018 this is my first blog and I would like to wish everyone a happy new year and, hopefully, a very successful golf season. Apparently, the postman from Donegal said 2018 will be a great summer so hopefully it will be a year of firm fairways and low scores.
It will also be a special year for all our members, young and old, as we celebrate our 125 th anniversary. A range of special events are planned, including a gala ball in the City Hotel on Saturday 27 th October. It would be great to see everyone there.
As we celebrate our 125 th anniversary it is good to report we are back in a positive financial position, with a healthy membership. Like many clubs, we faced some challenging years but now, because of the hard work and the support of our members we are facing a brighter future. Membership has stabilised, our course is attracting good reviews and we are beginning to rebuild our juvenile membership.
All in all, 2018 is shaping up to be a good year. I look forward to being your captain and I promise to keep you informed about what is happening around the club.
Best wishes to our new Lady Captain Elizabeth Mawhinney and Club President Gerry McCreesh.
Happy new year
Club Captain 2018