Sean Arble nominated Temple Golf Club as a gem and it was added to the Top 100 website in December 2008. Sean’s original article follows:
Temple Golf Club was named so because The Knights Templar previously owned the land. As was often the case near the turn of the 20th century, the architect of choice often came from a trio of H.S. Colt, H. Fowler or Willie Park Junior.
Having designed two nearby famous courses, Huntercombe and Sunningdale, it was no surprise that Park Junior. should be selected to lay out Temple in 1909. The course was originally called the Temple Links for it was designed to play as an inland links and despite modern advancements in technology, the presentation of Temple is still characterised by the season. Being located on chalk downland it does offer a feel of links, but the commanding views of the Thames Valley surely give Temple a sense of place that is rarely matched.
The order of the day at Temple is balancing the long ball against the lay of the land. Many tee shots at Temple require the player to work down or hold shots into a slope. The fairways are generally broad and the rough light. As such, Temple can be described as a second shot course for shots can leak at an alarming rate if one doesn't earn the best angle of attack in firm conditions.
A great example of this type of design is the 7th. This fairly short two-shotter may indeed be driveable for some, but there is the risk of losing the drive down the hill right if one doesn't choose the correct line or shape of shot. That isn't to say Temple doesn't have excellent holes which require straight and true hitting. Numbers 9, 11, 12 and 17 are testament to this. In fact, the 11th with it's down and up nature and flanking greenside bunkers is reminiscent of later American holes designed by Tillinghast and Flynn, two of the more prominent architects who built championship courses during the height of the Golden Age of Architecture. All manner of shots and imagination are helpful when playing this decidedly hilly course.
No hole requires these skills more so than the 10th. Visitors may be excused for missing this par three. At first sight there is no hint that this hole exists. Upon further inspection the player will notice a marker post some way in the distance. Surely this couldn't be a blind hole when it appears that only a post can be seen from this vantage point? The writer has never seen a blind hole quite like it. After walking some 225 yards a hole containing the 10th green suddenly appears. It's a remarkable use of the land and Willie Park Junior must have found this green site irresistible.
Maxing out at a breath under 6,300 yards many will dismiss Temple as old fashioned and lacking in yardage. This, however, would be a mistaken description of the course. Temple has the virtues of being playable for all and an equal balance of challenge, beauty, fun and affordability. Like some of the other terrific hidden gems dotted throughout England, courses like Temple have their place in the game and should be cherished.
February 01, 2009