Intro to Temple

Added on September 25th, 2013 by
Posted in Greenkeeping, New courses reviewed

The “What to look out for” paper on Temple golf course at the FineGolf Enjoyment Day, September 10th 2013.


Some twenty years ago Temple GC committed itself to return to its heritage and pursue natural greenkeeping policies that would return the course to a ‘running’ game condition from the previous, fashionable ‘target’ venue it had become during the 1980s with overwatered and fertilised annual meadow grass (Poa annua) greens. 

martin gunn temple course manager,

Martin Gunn, Temple course manager

The fairways, now predominantly fine grasses (red fescue and browntop bents), allow the to be played across its firm aprons and greens as Willie Park jnr, the course designer in 1909, originally intended. This change has also allowed golfers to generate more backspin from the tight turf than from lush Poa annua which is the weed grass encountered on most courses around London. 

There are many interesting green complexes that include bumps, hollows and ridges as hazards through which, with skill, the ball can be run, best played with a straighter-faced club than a wedge. The tenth is particularly interesting being a long par three with a hidden green sunk down into a bowl and is listed as one of the top 100 most unusual golf holes. 

There are greens with a very high content of fescue and bent grasses like the 2nd, 6th, 17th and 18th which are firmer and give a better true roll on the ball all year round than, for example, the 5th or 14th that are roughly 50/50 Poa annua/browntop bent greens and are, as a result, more receptive and ‘bumpier’ outside the summer months. 

The difference in the greens’ grass species composition arises from many things including moisture content, sunlight and bacterial/fungi around the grass roots. 

Each green is managed differently to produce a consistency across how they play, being cut at 4mm and will normally run on a dry day at around 9.5 feet. 

In July five plots of different Barenbrug mixes of grasses were sown near the clubhouse to illustrate how they look before Poa annua invades. 

Symbio representatives will be available to discuss the complex subject of soil biology and its role in helping develop fine grasses in competition with the weed grass Poa annua and to explain how tea-composts work. 


malcolm peake, greenstester,

Malcolm Peake demonstrating the Greenstester

Malcolm Peake was Chairman of Green during those critical early changes at Temple and he has written two books published by the STRI namely, “Confessions of a chairman of green” and “A natural Course for Golf”. He will be demonstrating how the Greenstester device works on the practice putting green and how it gives greenkeepers an objective measurement of greens performance. See if you can beat its putting ability!


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