Template Holes

Template Holes

So it looks like we have some more time on our hands before the golf season starts! I know its frustrating. Everyone is all geared up and ready, and all we can do is look out the window and hope this weather finally takes a turn for the better. In the meantime, I hope everyone can attend Tuesday night’s town hall meeting with Jim Urbina. One of the topics Jim will discuss is Template holes, and their significance. To give you some background information, enjoy the following information and links!


Template holes, also called Ideal holes by C.B. Macdonald, have a fascinating history. To better understand Templates, you need to first look into C.B. Macdonald’s story:



The best way to learn the characteristics and strategy of Templates is to play them. The second-best way: studying pictures of them, and making comparisons to Midland’s. The following links will guide you through the most common templates. I’ll signify which Templates Midland has (or had).


  • Short – Midland Hills used to have one of the greatest Shorts in Raynor’s collection. It played from the current first tee; the green was located right before the fairway drops down the hill.



  • Eden – Midland Hills’ 7th may be our strongest Template hole remaining on the course – Strongest meaning that very little change has occurred over the past 98 years, and its strategies are still very much similar to the original.



  • Cape – Midland Hills’ 8th is a Cape off the tee, but the approach shot is a Knoll. Our original Cape was more than likely the 9th hole, before the green was rebuilt in its current location. The chipping green next to 1 tee was the original green location. Back-to-back Cape Templates is quite unusual, but Raynor more than likely designed them to take best advantage of what the land provided.



  • Knoll – The approach shot on 8 is a Knoll Template, and its strategy has drastically improved with tree removals behind the green. It was not uncommon for Macdonald and Raynor to implement two Templates on the same hole, with the 8th at Midland being a Cape and Knoll.



  • Biarritz – Our 12th is like every Biarritz, a stern test: A very long par-3 requireing anything from a long iron to a driver off the tee. . Some of these Templates have putting green surfaces in front of the swale; some are like Midland’s, with fairway leading into the swale.



  • Alps / Punchbowl – The 14th at Midland might be the most unusual Classic Golden Age golf hole in the state. You have to understand its origins to recognize its strategy and significance in golf course architecture. The approach is an Alps with the bunkers at the top of the rise, and the green is a Punchbowl Template. Raynor also used this combo at his crowning design achievement: Fishers Island.



  • Redan – This Template is considered the most famous par 3 in golf course architecture. Midland’s 16th Redan is lacking some key design aspects, but nonetheless is a great golf hole. After looking through Andy’s link, you’ll see how Midland’s Redan could be renovated into one of the best renditions in the country.



The following links are of Templates that possibly existed at Midland and were lost over time with the clubhouse and driving range moving to their current locations. There are also many holes that have many Template qualities but are missing enough design aspects to not be considered true Templates. With a Master Plan and renovation, these holes could be restored to Templates.



Other Templates that C.B Macdonald and Seth Raynor used in their designs:

  • Bottle
  • Dell
  • Long
  • Maiden
  • Raynor’s Prize Dogleg
  • Sahara

Hope you enjoyed the Template tour!



7 Replies to “Template Holes”

  1. Rob Etten says:

    Great pre-reading prior to the meeting this week. Thanks, Mike!

    1. Mike Manthey says:

      Thanks for reading Rob.
      See you Tuesday night!

  2. Jeff says:

    Whats a Prize Dogleg, sounds fun! Can we get two?!

    1. Mike Manthey says:

      A Prize Dogleg might have been Raynor’s toughest Template. A long, dogleg par-4, that demanded precision off the tee with two sets of fairway cross bunkers. If a heroic/longer tee shot navigated around the echelon bunkers, the player was awarded the opportunity to carry another hazard in front of the green. If a player laid up in front of the cross bunkering, they were left with a very long approach, usually long iron-length. This Template usually played in the 440-490 yardage. Imagine that length in 1930!
      Hopefully see you Tuesday!

      1. Anonymous says:

        Ok, maybe two wouldnt be fun.

  3. Bob Palmgren says:

    Very interesting history!
    Love the picture of our Hole # 8
    Shows how challenging it is off the tee box and showcases Walsh Lake.
    Thanks for all your efforts
    Bob P

    1. Mike Manthey says:

      Thank you Bob!
      MH has great history in MN golf. Exciting to share some of this info, and shed some light on its significance!
      See you on the course soon!

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