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Torbay Golf & Country Golf Club, Shorton Road, Paignton. (1932 - 1955)

The golf club at Paignton was developed as part of the Torbay Country Club which was based at Oldway Mansion.

Early report on the golf course at Oldway House in July 1921.


Torbay Golf & Country Club, Oldway House, Paignton. Early report on the course in July 1921.

Western Morning News Thursday 21 July 1921. Image © Reach plc. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.


The original 18-hole James Braid designed course was beautifully situated in extensive private grounds, it was on the bus route between Paignton and Torquay. Work on the course was started in the summer of 1932 with a proposed completion date approximately a year later. An article on 1st September 1932 states that the 1st and 18th holes were already constructed of the James Braid designed course. The new course actually opened in record time in May 1933.

Card of the original James Braid proposed course  -

Hole Yards Hole Yards
1 410 10 520
2 330 11 140
3 540 12 400
4 320 13 300
5 320 14 440
6 170 15 150
7 380 16 340
8 350 17 440
9 410 18 330


Torbay Golf & Country Club, Paignton. The original James Braid course.

Plan of the proposed James Braid designed Torbay course.


Torbay Golf & Country Club, Paignton. A 1930s advert.

1930s advert for the Country Club and Golf Club


The following report is from the Paignton Observer and Echo, Thursday 1 September 1932.

 “Paignton is to have its own golf course. With all its various attractions, the one great sport which the town has not been able to advertise as one of its amenities is golf. Courses exist in the districts on either side of the town, and it has been to these that Paignton has had to look to provide for its large number of golfing residents and visitors. This is to be rectified, however, by the commencement of work upon a new 18-hole course which is being laid out by the Torbay Country Club at Oldway. The value which this club is, and has been, to Paignton is incalculable, and cannot be too highly estimated. Its excellent provision for sports and pastimes of many kinds has done much to enhance the town’s prestige in this direction. Now a golf course is to be provided, and this will add considerably to the great popularity of the Country Club. The course is to be constructed principally for the members of the Country Club, but there is little doubt that visitors will be permitted to use the course on payment of suitable green fees. This, of course, would be of enormous benefit to the town, in that it would enable the town to advertise the fact that it had an excellent course within its boundaries which could be used by visiting golfers.

The easy accessibility of the course is one of many of its fine points. The first tee will be in the field at the top of Westhill Private Road (off Oldway Road), and the course extends from there to the old Windmill at Shorton and back. From this it might appear that the course was all up-hill and down. This is not so. It has been very cleverly laid out and designed by the famous golfer and golf course architect, James Braid. It is situated in very pleasant and undulating country, and Braid has so arranged the holes that the assent and descent will scarcely be noticeable. Where the course will entail a certain amount of climbing the club will be laying down winding cinder paths to facilitate walking.

Another striking feature of the course will be the magnificent views to be obtained from practically every part of it. It is interesting, too, to learn that the old windmill is to be used as half-way house, where refreshments will be served.

As the whole course is at present grass land, the fairways should be in excellent condition on the opening day of play. It is, of course, far too early to tell when this will be, but it is hoped that if everything goes well the course should be ready in about a year or a little longer. Construction is now well in hand, and excellent progress has been made. There are approximately a hundred men working on the course. The special construction is being carried out by John R Stutt of Paisley, while the rough construction and clearing of the ground is being done by the staff of Paignton and District Land Development Co. The first and eighteenth greens are nearing completion.

In designing the course Braid has been careful to preserve, as far as possible, the natural beauties of the course. Wherever possible, trees have been left standing. Hedges off the fairway are being trimmed and left as natural hazards. There will be thirty natural green bunkers and 35 fairway bunkers.

The course will consist of, approximately 120 acres, and measures 6,080 yards. The greens will be of particularly large size, with proper approaches. The tees, also, will be large – 120 square yards each. The seeding of the new greens will be the best quality New Zealand agrostis, a very fine creeping grass.

Shelters will be erected at various parts of the course for bad weather, and near the first tee there will be a car park, professional’s shop, caddies’ room and toilets. The clubhouse will be the present club building.

For those members who wish to take up residence near the golf course provision has been made for excellent building sites on the verge of the course. They will have frontage to fully-developed roads and the rear of the sites will be actually on the course” 

Tom Barber appointed professional in February 1933.


Torbay Golf and Country Club, Paignton. Tom Barber appointed professional in February 1933.

Western Morning News Tuesday 21 February 1933. Image © Reach plc. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.


By 1933 facilities at the Country Club were vastly improving, and the sports and pastimes sections were going from strength to strength. Miss Alice Woodroffe had won the All England Badminton Championship, and Tom Barber of Derbyshire was appointed as golf professional. Included in the sport facilities were nineteen tennis courts, billiards, snooker, bowling greens and of course the new eighteen hole golf course which, by this time, was nearing completion.

The following is a report from the Paignton Observerer and Echo, Thursday 16 March 1933.

“The additional accommodation necessary for the golf section has been placed in the more convenient Little Oldway. Here are splendidly equipped locker rooms (with steel lockers), drying rooms, conveniences, etc, and the same premises will be the office of the Golf Section Secretary, Mr W R Bayliss.

Everything has been done to make the journey from the club house to the course as quick as possible. A new pathway has been cut from Little Oldway to Oldway Road, which brings the walk to the first tee via Westhill Private Road within a minute or two of the club house.

In company with Mr Bayliss, I walked over part of the new course. Near the first tee a car park, capable of accommodating about one hundred cars, has been laid out. There is under construction a small pavilion in which will be the professional’s shop, caddies quarters and waiting room.

The opening date of the course is still undecided. Everything now depends on the weather and how the grass progresses on the greens. There is nothing else to worry about. The fairways are fit to be played over now, and except in some cases for the filling-in with sand, the bunkers and other hazards are complete. Grass is beginning to show on the greens, which are very carefully being nursed, and if, as is hoped, play can commence at the end of April, it will constitute a record in golf-course construction. Mr Bayliss is delighted with the way things are progressing and is justifiably proud of the course.

Time permitted us to see only the first seven holes going out and the last three on the way home, but it is evident that the golfers will have an interesting course. James Braid, the architect, has made a magnificent job of laying it out. It is not an easy course, but on the other hand, it is not a ball-losing course. In fact, there are only two spots where a bad slice might mean “out of bounds”

The course can scarcely be surpassed for its beauty. From almost every point magnificent views of the Bay can be obtained while it is difficult to believe that such superb rural country exists as that over which the course is laid within such easy access of the town. From the Shorton windmill, not only is there the sea view, but a wide expanse of country on the other side with the moors in the distance. No doubt strangers to the course, once they reach this point, will invite those following to “go through” while they stop to admire the scenery.

On Monday Mr Paliret, of the English Golf Union, and Mr F Gray, of the Devon Golfing Union, went around the course and fixed the “bogeys” for the holes”

Tom Barber, the professional at the Torbay Country Golf Club, commenced his duties in April 1933. He competed in the 1933 Open Championship at St Andrew’s, he qualified with a score of 153 for his two rounds. On the Monday he returned a score of 78 on the New Course, on the Old Course the following day he went round in 75.

James Braid designed the original proposed layout and made the most of its natural features. However, Braid’s original design was quickly modified. The dates the changes were made, and whether Braid was involved with the modifications, are still to be confirmed.  

 Below is the revised layout and the hole descriptions following the changes.

Hole Length Bogey Hole Length Bogey
1 426 5 10 525 5
2 290 4 11 140 3
3 345 4 12 405 5
4 366 4 13 347 4
5 192 3 14 502 5
6 276 4 15 185 3
7 135 3 16 357 4
8 336 4 17 443 4
9 443 5 18 230 3
Out 2809 36 In 3134 36
      Out 2809 36
      Total 5943 72


Torbay Golf & Country Club, Paignton. Revised layout of the course.

Above is the revised course layout.


The original dog-leg first hole, with a second shot across a dip, was replaced by a new hole of a similar length (430 yards) but on a flatter terrain. The drive was over the brow of a ridge into a gentle valley that fell away to the right, this left a long second to reach the natural looking “armchair” green which was guarded by bunkers cut into the corners.


Torbay Golf & Country Club, Paignton. The course from the first tee.

Above is a view of the course from the first tee.


The second hole was also a new one. It was played from a tee cut into the sloping ground above the first green, it called for a well placed drive as a slice shot would land in semi-rough behind a line of trees and the only escape was a high pitch over the trees. A pulled drive could land in well placed bunkers. The green was guarded by bunkers to the front and sides.

The third hole was a slightly uphill dog-leg to the left. After the drive a firmly played iron would find the two-tier green, which was well guarded by bunkers.


Torbay Golf & Country Club, Paignton. The third hole.

Third hole from the green (looking towards Torquay)


The line of the drive on the 366 yard fourth was the distant old windmill, a notable landmark on the crest of a hill. The difficulty of the hole was the fact that the well bunkered green was set at an angle, a drive played too far to the left meant an awkward shot to the short diameter of the green, with a ravine beyond.


Torbay Golf & Country Club, Paignton. The heavily bunkered fourth green.

The heavily bunkered fourth green.


The fifth hole was the first par three of about 190yards. From a built up tee the hole was slightly uphill to a well guarded semi-plateau green standing out boldly against a background of trees.

At the 276 yard sixth the drive was into a dip which left a pitch over a line of pot-bunkers to a double-terrace green on the shoulder of the opposite rise, with the ground falling steeply to the right and beyond.

The seventh was an attractive short hole of 135 yards. It was played from a “gun-platform” tee along a rising gulley to an “armchair” green at the upper end. The green was guarded by bunkers set into the slopes that enclosed it on three sides and by yet more bunkers set into the banked-up face.

The eighth hole was at the top of the main plateau on which the next six holes were played. From this part of the course magnificent views of Tor Bay from Hope’s Nose beyond Torquay on one side to Berry Head away beyond Brixham on the other. Hope’s Nose was the line for the drive on the eighth which was best played to the left to allow for the sloping ground. The length of the hole was 340 yards with a sloping approach to a plateau green built up on a falling slope.


Torbay Golf & Country Club, Paignton. Exhibition match on the eighth.

The above picture shows a match between Walter Hagen and Joe Kirkwood on the eighth green. The pair were touring Britain at the time playing exhibition matches.


The ninth hole was just over 440 yards with out of bounds coming in to play for a wayward second shot. The beautiful rising green was at an acute angle between two roads.


Torbay Golf & Country Club, Paignton. The Windmill and Windmill Cottage.

The Windmill and Windmill Cottage situated alongside the ninth green and fourteenth tee.


The tenth hole was the longest on the course at 525 yards. The drive was best to the right with a gentle slope heading down to the green.

The eleventh was a short mashie shot of 140 yards a topped shot would be caught by cross bunkers. The left front of the semi-plateau green was cut off by a great bunker.

The new twelfth hole was just over 400 yards long dog-leg to the left. It was uphill with a boundary lane on the left. A drive up the right was perfect. A pull shot would land in rough and an almost impossible shop to the green.

The thirteenth was an easier hole. A drive down the left would lead to an easier approach , the green was heavily bunkered to the right.

The fourteenth was approximately 500 yards long and was a relatively straightforward par five, with the slope helping all the way. There was a line of bunkers to carry with the second shot, but the slope leading down to the green had been scooped out to present a very friendly aid to a straight second.


Torbay Golf & Country Club, Paignton. The fourteenth green.

The fourteenth green.


The fifteenth was the final short hole measuring 180 yards. It was across a dip and over a line of bunkers in the face of the slope beyond, to a semi-plateau green set in to a right hand slope, at a slightly higher level than the tee, guarded by a bunker above the right side of it and by a steep drop on the left.

In front of the sixteenth the ground fell steeply between two woods into a narrow valley, where a wide gap had been cut in a line of trees. Beyond the gap an inviting slope of fairway led up to the plateau beyond. The carry on to the plateau was not as formidable as it appeared from the tee. There was  line of bunkers to be avoided on the approach.

The seventeenth, with the ground in favour, was an inviting “two shotter” but the average player would be left with a tricky chip uphill to a well guarded green which lay slightly back from the crest of a rise and was guarded by more bunkers on the left.


Torbay Golf & Country Club, Paignton. The seventeenth from the tee.

The seventeenth hole from the tee.


The finishing hole was a “long one shotter” of 230 yards, but with the prevailing wind and the run of the ground both in favour it was possible to get home to a tightly guarded green built up on a falling slope.


Torbay Golf & Country Club, Paignton. The clubhouse and eighteenth green.

The Clubhouse and eighteenth green.


The following is an extract of a report from the Paignton Observer on the opening day at Torbay in May 1933.

“With a gross score of 83, handicap 6, net 77 Mr H C C Paige won the silver foundation cup presented by Mr Cecil Singer, there were 51 entries. Owing to the fact that Mr Cecil Singer, the President, had not returned, there was no official opening ceremony on Saturday morning. The first ball was driven by Major E H Woosley, who was partnered by Mr A P Cooper.

It was interesting to hear the comments of the competitors after their round. There was a unanimous opinion that the club had a magnificent course from a design point of view. One well known local golfer, who has played on many courses, expressed the opinion that there was not another course in the country to equal it.

It is designed for the big hitter, and accuracy is required all the way, for very little latitude has been given by James Braid in the placing of hazards, natural or artificial. Even at this early stage the majority of the fairways and greens are in splendid condition.

The presentation of the cup and other prizes were made in the clubhouse on Saturday evening by Mrs Cecil Singer. Before announcing the result of the competition, Mr G W Coventry, vice president, remarked that the day should be a memorable one in the history of the club, as the course was not only an asset to the club, but to the town. They must remember that in adding a golf course, the proprietors of the club had been put to very great expense, and it was up to them to try and make it a paying proposition. They could not expect the proprietors from year to year to go on paying out on such a splendid asset, both to the members of the club and the residents of the town. The course would attract visitors more than anything else”

Local traders were also feeling the benefit of the club, Ellis & Son, the local Ironmongers had supplied tee boxes, cups for the holes, flag poles, Pennsylvania lawn mowers and other tools.


Torbay Golf & Country Club, Paignton. Golf Club Trophies.

Above, the Torbay golf trophies.


The club trophies from left to right – Back Row – Paignton Palace Hotel Cup (Open), presented by Directors of the Paignton Palace Hotel, (Men); Singer Scratch Cup,  presented by Mrs Graham Stringer,(Men); Paignton News Cup, presented by the Directors of the “Paignton News” (Men).

Front Row – Eastley Cup, presented by Capt & Mrs J E Eastley, (Ladies); Chamber of Commerce Cup (Open), presented by Paignton Chamber of Commerce, (Men); Leeds Cup, presented by Sir Reginald Leeds Bart., and Lady Leeds, (Mixed Foursomes); Rickett Cup (Handicaps 13-24), presented by A C Rickett, (Men); Leeds Cup, presented by Sir Reginald Leeds Bart., and Lady Leeds, (Mixed Foursomes); The Lucas Cup, presented by Commander H L Lucas R.B. (Ret), (Men); Singer Cup, presented by Mrs Graham Singer, (Ladies).


Torbay Golf and Country Club, Paignton. Picture of the new clubhouse in May 1935.

Torquay Times, and South Devon Advertiser - Friday 24 May 1935.


In the mid 1930s the 18-hole course had a SSS of 73 and a membership of 300, by 1940 membership had risen to 320. Visitors’ fees from  1 April to 30 September were 3/6 a round, 5/- a day, £1 a week, £1/15/0 a fortnight and £3 a month. October 1 to March 31 2/6 a day, 15/- a week, £1/5/0 a fortnight and £2 a month. The station at Paignton was 1 mile away.

Result of the May 1935 ladies monthly medal; division A, Mrs Jolliffe, 96-23-73; Mrs Rendell, 102-19-83; division B, Miss Watson, 109-36-73; Mrs Jenkins, 112-36-76.

Result of the Lucas Cup played in May 1935; F M Wilson, 83-15-68; A Chippindale, 89-20-69; A Jackson, 89-16-73; C W Drew, 95-22-73; W M Perrett, 90-16-74; C H Wield, 94-20-74; Major Rendell, 82-7-75; F L Johns, 92-16-75; P G Jolliffe, 91-14-77; A D Wood, 82-4-78; H C C Paige, 86-8-78; L A Axworthy, 93-15-78; F S Seagrim, 102-24-78; J M Turner, 86-7-79; A J Smith, 93-14-79; W S Dinham King, 95-14-81; G P Mortimer, 110-24-86. (28 entries)

Result of the monthly medal for January 1937; Senior (first division), A J Smith, 83-12-71; L H Carter, 82-9-73; C W Green, 85-10-75; J M Tirner, 84-6-78; Junior (second division), S Seagrim, 87-22-65; A Chippindale, 82-13-69; S J Thomas, 83-14-69; W E Starkey, 93-22-71; W K Welton, 95-22-73; H E Bryant, 97-22-75; C W E Drew, 89-13-76; A Kennedy, 98-22-76; K R Shears, 98-19-79. There were 19 entries.

Summer meeting held in June 1937. The “Paignton News” Challenge Cup; A Kennedy, 91-22-69; L H Carter, 80-9-71; W K Welton, 89-18-71; A J Day, 87-15-72; C B Hudson, 88-15-73; W S Grove, 85-11-74; C W Green, 85-10-75; Rev O’Driscoll, 92-17-75; W H Potts, 87-11-76; R J Batten, 83-6-77; A J Smith, 90-12-78; C W E Drew, 91-13-78; Dr F Grenier, 83-4-79; F M Wilson, 87-8-79; J M Turner, 86-6-80. The first eight players qualified for the match-play stage.Nichols Cup (Ladies); Mrs Teague, 87-24-63; Mrs Welton, 93-24-69; Miss Oddie, 96-24-72; Miss M Orbell, 93-19-74; Mrs Jones, 93-19-74; Miss Reeve, 98-24-74.

Result of the monthly bogey played in August 1937; Rev J Driscoll (17) 5up; R J Batten (7) 2up; F M Wilson (8) 2up; C W Green (9) 2up; A Chippindale (13) all square; A D Wood (6) 1down; P P Rabbich (10) 1down; K R Shears (14) 1down; W C Gillett (24) 1down; W E Starkey (20) 2down; A Axworthy (12) 3down; A Rice (17) 3down; W Douglass May (16) 3down; L H Carter (8) 4down; H Cheetham (20) 6down.

Result of a match played at Torbay against Warren in August 1937.

Torbay Golf & Country Club   Warren Golf Club  
Dr F W H Grenier 0 D A Grenfell 1
J Gillet 0 W H C Bishop 1
J M Turner 0 Maj Moreton 1
F M Wilson 1 C B Simpson 0
H C C Paige 1 Capt F S Richards 0
C W E Drew 0 A C Nickals 0
P P Rabbich 1 H T Squires 0
W H Potts 1 J H Norman 0
  4   3

Result of a mixed foursome competition held in September 1937, First Division; H L Rabbich and Mrs Rabbich, 82-12-70; W H Potts and Miss Ratcliff, 85-13½-71½; R J Allday and Miss Dugdall, 90-16-74; A Chippindale and Miss Tyler, 92-18-74; L H Carter and Miss M Orbell, 87-12½-74½; L M Matta and Mrs Rendell, 91-16½-74½; F M Wilson and Mrs Johnson, 83-8-75; L E Williams and Miss Young, 85-9-76; W F Rendell and Miss Lucas, 94-18-76; Major R Teague and Mrs Teague, 92-15½ -76½; F L Johns and Mrs Hudson, 92-15½ -76½; E Fairer and Mrs Fairer, 94-17-77. Second division; W K Welton and Miss Morris, 89-24½ -64½; R B Sneddon and Mrs Wield, 93-25-68; C B Hudson and Mrs Nichols, 93-24-69; R S Southwood and Miss Coulton, 95-25-70; A C Knight and Mrs Welton, 94-20½ -73½; P P Rabbich and Mrs Bryant, 96-20½-75½;  H E Bryant and Mrs P P Rabbich, 99-21½-77½; C H Wield and Miss B N Lloyd, 99-21-78; A J Smith and Mrs Parker, 100-19½-80½.

Result of the ladies competition for the Eastley Cup played in June 1938; Mrs Williams, 96-29-67; Mrs Teague, 88-19-69; Mrs Nichols, 103-33-70; Miss P Tyler, 95-23-72; Miss A Orbell, 98-26-72; Miss B N Lloyd, 99-26-73; Mrs Bryant. 105-31-74; Mrs Oxenbury, 90-15-75; Mrs Derrett, 100-24-76; Mrs Hudson, 96-19-77; Mrs Macartney, 107-29-79; Mrs Rea, 98-19-79; Mrs Jesson, 98-19-79; Miss E Lloyd, 97-18-79; Miss Knowles, 103-24-79; Mrs Drew, 115-36-79; Mrs Crosby Jones, 100-19-81; Mrs Creaser, 112-27-85. Miss P Tyler won the putting prize.

A Torbay Championship match for the Schultz Trophy was played in July 1938 at Churston, result below. 

Churston Golf Club   Torbay Country Club  
Com L E Northcott 0 Dr F W H Grenier (4&3)  1
A D Wood 0 J M Turner (4&2) 1
Dr L M Davies 0 P Sanders (2&1) 1
T H S Marshall (3&2) 1 J Gillett 0
Maj A Waycott (2&1) 1 L H Carter 0
R S Rushton (2&1) 1 W A R Coulton 0
Maj E S Lucy (3&2) 1 H M Outfin 0
A P Cooper (4&3) 1 C W Green 0
  5   3

Result of a mixed foursomes played in January 1939, Division 1; J H Wyatt and Mrs J M Turner, 77-13-64; Dr L Meredith Davies and Miss E Lloyd, 76-10-66; R T Gillet and Mrs Welton, 80-12-68; Rev O’Driscoll and Mrs L Rabbich, 80-12-68; H L Rabbich and Mrs Creaser, 84-15-69; Dr F W H Grenier and Mrs Wield, 85-16-69; J M Turner and Mrs Frost, 79-9-70; J Gillet and Mrs Oxenbury, 81-8-73; E W Thompson and Miss Matthew, 85-12-73.

Division 2; B F Holdrup and Miss Knowles, 77-20-57; C B Hudson and Mrs Francis, 83-19-64; C W E Drew and Miss J Smith, 89-20-69; F M Wilson and Mrs Crook, 88-18-70; C S Wells and Mrs Macartney, 96-22-74; W M Perrett and Mrs Grenier, 96-20-76. (48 entries).

Result of the August 1939 monthly bogey; F S Seagrim, all square; D Scovell and F M Wilson, 2down; Dr F W H Grenier, 3down; H L Rabbich, K R Shears and L A Axworthy, 4down; B F Holdrup, 5down. 

Result of a four-ball foursomes held in December 1939; E Jerram and A E Townsend, 67; J Gillet and B P Smyth Pigott, 69; D T Tate and C Barnard, 70; H L Rabbich and R L Forsey, 72; Dr L M Davies and L H Carter, 73; J M Turner and C S Wells, 74; Dr F W H Grenier and C H Wield, 75; F P Rabbich and J V Evans, 75; E D Milledge and R O Westaway, 75; L J Westacott and J C Bosanko, 76; C W Green and H C Wilkinson, 77; W M Perrett and A Jackson, 77; A Chippindale and G W Walton, 77; J C Webster and R F Parker, 77; R J Batten and W J Agland Taylor, 78; K R Shears and A J Cleasby, 78. There were 44 entries.

Result of a four-ball foursomes played in April 1940; G Galloway and R F Parker, 67; M Wilson and L A Axworthy, M Perrett and L J Westacott, 68; W H Potts and L G Mitchelmore, P P Rabbich and C S Wells, C H Wield and W L Coleridge, 69; Dr F W H Grenier and C P Allen, D W Embury and W E Reynolds, 70; R M Rutherford and F J Deyer, E D Milledge and L O Westaway, 71; C W Green and L Creaser, B P Smyth-Pigott and C W Walton, 72.


  Secretary Professional/Greenkeeper
1933 Mr W R Bayliss Tom Barber (p)
1935 C B Hudson B F James (p) D Cook (g)
1947 C B Hudson B F James (p) A R Foster (g)
1951 C B Hudson, 1 Southview Road, Paignton. B F James (p) A R Foster (g)
1954 Group Captain C S Riccard, Shorton Farm, Paington. B F James (p) A R Foster (g)


  Course records Amateur/ Professional
1935 Dr F W H Grenier (a) 72. T Barber (p) 68
1940 Dr F W H Grenier (a) 71. C H Ward (p) 65.
1947 A T Kyle (a) 67.


Obviously and unfortunately the 1940s were proving very trying in all walks of life, and many golf clubs were running in to trouble, including the Torbay Country Golf Club. The following report appeared in the Torquay Times 24 November 1944.

 “TORBAY COUNTRY CLUB – Why it must be sold. A sensation was caused at the annual meeting of the Torbay Country Club, on Saturday, when Captain J E Eastley, the managing director, announced that, as the club was quite unable to pay its way, and financial support could no longer be expected from the Singer family, the property would come into the market.

The club-house, which stands in 19 acres of ground, was built by Mr Isaac Singer, founder of the Singer Sewing Machine Company, and was later the residence of his son, Mr Paris Singer, who later conveyed it to the club and for years made good any deficit in the revenue.

Captain Eastley began by relating the circumstances under which, after the last war, Mr Paris Singer had formed the Country Club, for the liabilities of which he made himself responsible. He then referred to the heavy cost of upkeep, and, after mentioning that the two bowling greens and the pavilion had cost £8,000, continued: Your annual subscription does not even meet the expenses in wages and upkeep. We are charging nothing for interest and capital expenditure. In all sections it has been the same. Our total losses each year in the running of the Country Club have been such that if one could have looked at that figure as profit instead of loss, many of us would have thought ourselves very comfortably off. Mr Paris Singer did not mind being a philanthropist, and, being interested in social recreation, said he would do it. He died in 1932, but the Club went on, and the company shouldered its responsibilities right down to the war.

No pocket is without a bottom. That bottom has been reached at last, added Capt. Eastley, who said the Company had looked at the matter from all angles, had gone into the cost of labour , the cost of which had considerably increased, while it would stagger them to know the cost of heating and lighting of the buildings. Then there was the cost of repairs and maintenance. On the other side, they realised that with the high rate of income tax it would not be right to ask members to pay such a subscription as would enable the Club to stand on its own feet. Therefore the proprietors – and I hate to tell you this today after the wonderful report you have received from your secretary – have given this the closest consideration from all angles and have reluctantly come to the decision that they will not be able to reopen this club when the war is over. It is a very great blow to us all.

The managing director said they could not go for ever dipping into the pocket. The members of the Singer family were scattered all over the world, and being so far away, it was only natural that they could not see things as if they were on the spot. Pursuant to a formal understanding the late Mr Paris Singer made some years ago, that if the property ever came into the market, he would offer them in the first instance to the town, acting on behalf of the proprietors, Capt. Eastley had written to the Paignton Urban Council offering them the whole of the buildings and the grounds”

Result of a bogey competition played in April 1946; Division one – L J Troulan, 2down; D T Tate, 3down; Sir R Leeds, 5down; L J Westacott, 5down; H L Rabbich 6down; L A Willmott 6down; Division two – W L Coleridge 2down; L E Kernick, 6down; S B Stedham, 7down. There were 18 entrants.

Below, result of a ladies club match played at Torquay Golf Club in May 1946.

Torquay   Torbay  
Mrs Ladmore 0 Mrs Tenison-Mosse (1up) 1
Mrs Crockwell (8&6) 1 Miss Bickell 0
Mrs Sheperd 0 Mrs Welton (4&3) 1
Miss Stone (6&5) 1 Mrs Batten 0
Mrs Halliday (5&4) 1 Mrs Nichols 0
Mrs French 0 Mrs Clery (3&2) 1
Mrs Henn (7&6) 1 Mrs C Buswell 0
Mrs F Buswell 0 Mrs McCurd (6&5) 1
Mrs Coast (7&5) 1 Mrs Crosby Jones 0
Mrs Lieban (5&4) 1 Mrs Jobey 0
  6   4

Result of a mixed foursomes competition held in December 1946, played over 14 holes; Division one – R C Barker & Mrs Batten, 67-10-57; K A Pascoe & Mrs Nichols, 71-11-60; F S Seagrim & Mrs Drew, 79-13-66; W S Richards & Miss Bickell, 86-13-73; Division two – A Chippindale & Mrs Richards, 78-14-64; G V Francis & Miss A Orbell, 88-17-71; C W E Drew & Mrs Seagrim, 90-17-73; H C Beare & Mrs Francis, 91-15-76; D W Embury & Mrs Embury, 94-16-78.

In 1947 membership had dropped to 270. The 18-holes now had a SSS of 72 and a Par of 71. Visitors’ fees were, 5/- a day, 25/- a week, £2/5/0 a fortnight and £4 a month. Sunday play allowed.

Leading scores in the Turner Cup competition played in September 1952; A R Knowles (16) 62+68-130; R Anning (19) 69+67-136; J Ireland (18) 69+71,-40; C S Riccard (19) 71+69,-140;W Hepburn (11) 67+75-142; H B Deacon (14) 74+68-142; A G Edmunds (19) 71+71-142; F W Stiles (20) 72+72-144; A S Brook (15) 73+73-146; A Wynee (8) 74+74-148.

Results from the spring meeting played in May 1953.


Torbay Golf and Country Club, Paignton. Results from the spring meeting played in May 1953.

Torbay Express and South Devon Echo Tuesday 19 May 1953. Image © Reach plc. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.


Result of a competition played in October 1953.


Torbay Golf and Country Club, Paignton. Result of a competition played in October 1953.

Torbay Express and South Devon Echo Tuesday 8 October 1953. Image © Reach plc. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.


In 1954 the 18-hole course had a Standard Scratch Score of 69 and a membership of 280.Residents at the Teneriffe Hotel, Torquay were offered free golf at Torquay Golf Club and Torbay Golf Club Paignton.

Finances had obviously become strained during the war years and things were looking grim. It appeared that the club would not survive after WW2, but it struggled on for a little longer. It finally came to a sad end in the mid 1950s when the lease expired and the owners retook possession in order to develop the land. 

The Torbay Country Club in 1928 can be seen on the Britain From Above link below. 


Torbay Golf & Country Club, Paignton. Location of the former golf course.

O.S. Map Revised 1938; Crown Copyright {year of publication ca. 1944}.


I would like to thank a former resident of nearby Winsu Avenue for his invaluable memories of the area around the Torbay course.

“From 1959 to 1966 I lived in nearby Winsu Avenue rather close to what once was the 4th green, and spent my childhood on and around the disused course which had a few wooded copses at that time.  Mariners Way follows the course of a streamed valley in which were some marvellous climbing tree type oaks and elms. There was what must once have been a narrow cattle drove way down to Sleepy Lane and its farms. Visible on the map/plan as a lane.  There was a marvellous range of Apple, Pear and Plum trees in an orchard at the bottom of Mariners Way. It was a much deeper valley then, but it was gradually landfilled throughout the 60's and 70's. I don’t think Mariners Way was actually built till the mid 1980's. Tavis Road and Upper Southfield Avenue to Lammas Lane were built around 1960 I think. North of Windmill Lane was built over around 1966/67. A large Estate Agents Billboard at the top of Southfield Avenue proclaimed "Southfield Links Estate Show Houses to view " for many years in the 60's. The name Southfield Links never caught on with residents (It was never a Links course anyway, too far from the sea). I had heard that the "Clubhouse" was Oldway Mansion (some way away) owned by the Singer Family of Sewing machine and Isadora Duncan fame, until the War. Although in my time in the 60's there was a wealthy Baronet, Sir Reginald ?? who lived in the castellated property behind the Mansion. He owned another Orchard which is now the South side houses of Higher Winsu Avenue. Why Winsu Avenue; an unusual name ? Because the Singer family were asked to name it, and they had two daughters named WINifred and SUsan ! ! The only Winsu anything, among UK street names I would think. I suspect the land on which the course was laid out was attached to/owned by the farm(s) in the old hamlet of Shorton in Sleepy Lane which are now preserved as a Conservation Area. The Windmill (still there, but boarded up now) was a favourite playground/climbing area and picnic site (Meals taken on the bunkered 8th green near it).  Features of the old course such as bunkers, greens etc can still be made out in one or two local gardens. Old golf balls used to turn up in some gardens in the early 60's.  We found several guttie type balls too in the Woods North of Windmill Lane, another favourite play area. Wayward drives on the long 10th hole I should think.  Motorists could drive cars up and down Windmill Lane in those days. By the time I left the area in 1966 most of the Course was already built over or being built on.  Another favourite play area was a series of terraced Teeing grounds (the 16th) on or about where Badger Close now starts. Fine for Sunbathing or wrestling matches and I suspect it was a big drive across the valley to a green in Miranda Road.   I never met anybody in Paignton who had played the course or who could tell me anything about it. Any players would now be in the very twilight of life.”