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Temple Wins Award
Courtesy of The Daily Telegraph


GREAT rejoicing at Temple Golf Club. We have won the national award given by British greenkeepers to the best environmentally-managed course.

In a world dominated by American golf architecture, often designed by professionals with only fellow pros in mind, it is important the game doesn't altogether forget its roots.

In the 70s and 80s at Temple we were trying to transform the course into something it was never intended to be. When Willie Park Jnr designed the course 90 years ago he had in mind a game played both in the air and along the ground. The original name 'Temple Links' explains all.

For the last 10 years the club has been returning the course to its original design. The two men responsible, Malcolm Peake and Martin Gunn, work in austere fashion with a minimum of water, fertiliser and pesticides.

They encourage natural grasses to the extent they now manage more than 50 acres of rough grassland. It's a picture.

To celebrate 90 years the club published a review from records full of fascinating history, including the news that in 1913 the committee decided not to insure greens against attacks by suffragettes.

There are poignant memories of Capt Dick Brounger, RN, a former secretary at the club, who ran it as his own fiefdom, dispensing a unique version of what can only be described as stylish bollockings.

From the suggestion book of 1972 - Question: "Could we not remove the rope surrounding the eighth tee? I tripped over it for the second time this morning."

Answer from Capt Brounger: "Ropes are placed along the edges of a number of tees to prevent players taking trolleys on to them. Gaps are left leading on to the tees. If you fall over a gap there must be only one reason."

He lived in a house by the green on the blind 15th. The suggestion book reveals this gem from 1976 - Question: "Should there be a bell on the 15th fairway?"

Answer: "No. This would disturb the secretary."

What the secretary was doing at home was not a follow-up question any of us dared risk.

One footnote from the 20s has a resonance today. A former caddie set down his experiences at the club and wrote: "We could never understand why a certain caddie was always smartly dressed and had cigarettes . . . he was a man of about 20 years who never worked but always caddied for a certain lady.

"One day while looking for birds' nests we came upon them - and they were not playing golf."

The course was environmentally friendly even then. Some things never change.