Designed and built in 1921 by renowned golf architect Tom Bendelow, Temple Terrace Golf and Country Club opened in 1922. During the early part of the 1900s, Mr. Bendelow built over four hundred courses including Palma Ceia and Medinah C.C. in Chicago. The unique design featured no parallel fairways and roads on both sides of most holes to allow galleries to follow play in automobiles. The figure eight pattern of the course meandered through orange groves and housing lots in a new development being built in the Florida land boom.
The property was obtained from the Potter Palmer Family in Chicago, who used the preserve along the banks of the Hillsborough River as a winter hunting retreat. The Woodmont Clubhouse to the left of hole number one was a stable. A real estate sales office was located in the building across the street from the parking lot. The dome of that building was meant to resemble an orange; it was painted orange and the building was painted green.
The original clubhouse building behind number eighteen green now belongs to Florida College and is used as a dormitory. During the roaring twenties, the club and a casino (located at the bend of the right of number nine) were the center of most social activities in this part of the country. Al Jolson and many other famous entertainers of the day formed there. The main portion of the present clubhouse was completed in 1998, and the second phase of the clubhouse, the outdoor grill and pool, opened in February of 2001.
The first head golf professional was “Long” Jim Barnes, winner of the first two PGA championships in the early teens, numerous national amateur titles in the U.S. and Great Britain and the British Open.
In the tradition of Scottish Golf, each hole was given a name appropriate to a landmark and some simply picturesque. 1) Tower (there was a distinctive water tower to the right of the first hole.); 2) Road; 3) Live Oak; 4) Out Look; 5) Elbow; 6) Riverview; 7) Swing ‘N Hope; 8) Pond; 9) Perfection; 10) Hollow; 11) Hill Top; 12) Grove View; 13) Twin Pines; 14) Pine View; 15) Terrace; 16) Devil’s Delight; 17) Happy Hollow; 18) Hillside.
The course was also the· site of another notable historic event when Evangelist Billy Graham, who was attending what was then known as Florida Bible Institute (now Florida College), decided upon his career while meditating on the eighteenth green one night in 1939.
The course played to 6,538 yards then. Number one was a par five with the tee located where the pool is currently located and number seven was a par four. The course record is 60, held by Daniel Debra. The club’s distinguished honorary members are Gary Koch, Eddie Pearce, Roberta Albers-Speer and Jim Dent.