Many years ago on Walls Hill in Babbacombe, on the very edge of the great cliff above Long Quarry, visitors would have seen a small pennant flying from a slight bamboo cane.
Observers would also have noticed the closely cut grass in evidence of a golf course which was under the care of The Torquay Golf Club, whose headquarters were to be found in the nearby Babbacombe Road.
This old Club consisted of nine holes extending across the walled and undulating plateau, and offered pleasant recreation to be enjoyed without excessive fatigue by the players of the game of golf. However, with the game becoming more popular with the passage of time, Walls Hill was found to be unable to accommodate the claims of those who became interested in the prowess of Vardon, Braid, Taylor, Ray and Herd. The public also frequented the course at Walls Hill, and danger was becoming something with which to reckon.
Thus in 1909, The Torquay New Golf Course Company Limited was incorporated and a large tract of land, purchased by the syndicate, was let to the Company. The lands were certain farm pastures at Petitor, in use at Easter for a steeplechase meeting, and, being within the Urban District of St Marychurch and scenically attractive, were regarded as ideally suitable for golf. The professional of the Links at Westward Ho! was instructed to layout the new course.
On 20th May 1911, the new club house was opened, which had been built at a cost exceeding £2,000 and had the appearance of a cricket pavilion. The opening was celebrated with an exhibition match over 18 holes in which were engaged two of the reigning peers of Golf, Harry Vardon and J.H. Taylor, at a fee of ten guineas each, with amateurs C.V.L. Hooman and A.G.M. Croome.
To engage the services of Harry Vardon and J.H. Taylor at that period of time was a superb effort. Harry Vardon had already won 'The Open Championship' on four occasions and he went on to win again 2 months after opening Torquay Golf Club in July 1911. Harry Vardon still holds the record of Open Championship titles in: 1896, 1898, 1899, 1903, 1911 and 1914.
The 'other' professional of the opening day match, J.H. Taylor, was no stranger to golf himself, winning 'The Open' on 5 occasions, being: 1894, 1895, 1900, 1909 and 1913.
The financial situation however was difficult. To construct a golf course from farmland had proven costly. The Clubhouse was a worthy construction and not a mere shelter or pavilion and the whole project was faced with difficulties of such magnitude that there was no alternative but to enter into voluntary liquidation. The land, with the Clubhouse, was fortuitously taken over by the Torquay Borough Council in 1920 and then let to a club constituted from the members of the defunct company. A lease was granted and The Torquay & South Devon Golf Club arose.
During the First World War the course was occupied as a dispersal depot by the New Zealand Forces and, on their return to New Zealand, the course was altered under the direction of James Braid.
In 1938 the Borough Council agreed to grant a further lease to a company carrying the name of The Torquay Golf Club Limited, the name the Club still holds to this day.
In the early days there were six trophies, the senior being the Brockman Cup, presented by W.S. Brockman in 1911. This was followed by The Willes Little Challenge Bowl, presented in 1913 by J.F. Willes Little. In 1920 the Chatton Cup was presented. The Gilley Cup was presented by P.J. Gilley in 1921 and both the Birmingham Cup, by A.E. Birmingham and the Field Scratch Medal, by David and Edith field was presented in 1922.