On a clear day, catch glimpses of Portland Bill while practicing your drive on this old-fashioned parkland course that is sheltered from sea breezes.
When Torquay Golf Club opened in 1911, it hosted two golfers who set the tone for the level of competition and of play that would distinguish it for the next century. Playing an exhibition match, Harry Vardon, who still holds the record of Open Championship titles, and J.H. Taylor inaugurated the traditional course that was the next step in the establishment of golf in Torquay. Be a part of that history with a game on the club’s 18 holes. The course overlooks the coast and the peaks of Dartmoor to the west, with views of the Island of Portland to the east.
Have tea and breakfast at the clubhouse before heading out onto the course. It is sometimes chilly, kept cool by consistent breezes coming off the sea. Walk leisurely between the holes set on a slightly rolling plateau. Navigate around the well-placed bunkers and avoid hitting the ball into the mature forests that line the course, a danger for players of all levels. Take a break frequently to appreciate the views from the top of the cliffs.
Bring a pair of binoculars to look for seabirds soaring in the air above. Drive back toward the clubhouse on the last nine holes and watch for the unusual building to come into view. It was designed to look like a cricket pavilion. Finish the game in the traditional way with a drink overlooking the first and 18th holes as fellow players dissect the game around you.
Drive to Torquay Golf Club, 3 miles (5 kilometers) north of Torquay in the nearby hamlet of St. Marychurch in 10 minutes from the main train station or ride a bus in 30 minutes. There is free on-site parking. Visitor tee times are available throughout the week and weekend, with specials on weekdays and at twilight. Book online. The restaurant and bar are open daily. Bookings are required for the special Sunday and Wednesday roast dinners, but the regular menu is available without reservations throughout the week. There is a dress code; check online for details.