Why Temporary Greens Are A Good Thing (Even Though You Hate Them)

October 27, 2023
3 minutes

As the seasons change and wetter weather becomes more common place, the words 'temporary green' or 'temps' start creep into a golfer's vocabularly again. Although not be a golfer's preferred choice by any means, it's crucial to grasp the rationale behind their usage. Temporary greens become a requisite when primary greens need to be taken out of action due to damage, to avoid damage or to undergo maintenance and care. They serve as safeguards for already robust greens during periods of heightened vulnerability, such as increasing rainfall and flooding that comes with more fierce storms, or heavy frosts in the height of winter.

You're probably asking why some clubs manage to go all year without using temps, or why some clubs may use a full set of them instead of the normal greens? The simple answer is: choice. As with any business, it is a balance between different aspects of customer preference. Do you stay on full greens all of the time, increase the footfall and allow the greens to become damaged; or do you restrict their use when required and keep greens in decent condition for when they are in play? Both scenarios will leave people on either side of the fence, but our team opts for a balanced approach of taking as few greens out of play as possible whilst not risking the high quality of the course that people have come to know.

General course manintenance is unavoidable at various points throughout the year. After all, a golf course is a diverse habitat that requires special attention from our greenkeepers. One such task is 'coring', which is a course maintenance technique that loosens the soil, opens up growing room for turfgrass roots, and helps air, moisture and nutrients get to the roots. This is usually done once or twice a year at most courses and you'll be able to see the immediate outcome as small holes appear.

A course such as Bondhay and many others in the vicinity are lucky to benefit from a soil profile that allows water to drain away reasonably quickly, so we find ourselves on less temps for heavy rain than many other golf clubs. Frost is a different challenge all together, with the severity and thaw time playing a big factor in a decision on whether to take a green out of play. Temps due to damage depends on the cause. For example, general wear and tear from play is unavoidable and may be treated quickly, whereas more intentional damage could see prolongued periods out.

Temporary Green Rules

Temporary greens are governed by Model Local Rule D-2 in the Rules of Golf. Unfortunately, you don't have an option when it comes to the temp and you MUST use it if it is there and designated in play.

The putting green that’s been replaced by the temp becomes a 'wrong green' because it is no longer the green for the hole you are playing. Rule 13.1f comes into play and relief from interference must be taken.


So, as much as we would all love it to be the case, sometimes temporary greens are unavoidable and are there to allow you to continue playing golf even when Mother Nature doesn't want us to.

While the concept of temporary greens often evokes a persistently unfavorable perception, it's vital to bear in mind that they are implemented with valid justifications. Whether it involves facilitating recovery from damage, preemptively shielding greens from potential harm, or facilitating renovations, the ultimate outcome of temporary greens invariably leads to improved playing conditions on the main turf.

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