Founding by the Earl of Devon in 1892
The Warren Golf Club was founded by the Earl of Devon on 23rd June 1892 with a membership of 41 and an annual subscription of one guinea (£1.05 in today’s money). At this time, it was only a nine hole course and ran along the “outer” Warren by the beach. The course was extended to eighteen holes in1904.
The first clubhouse was situated roughly where the present Dawlish Warren amusement arcade is now, However, the encroachment of the sea drove the golfers back to the higher and drier ground on the “inner” Warren, and the clubhouse was moved to a site beside the 1st tee and to the right of the fairway. Refreshments were provided by the Mount Pleasant Inn who delivered to the site.
The early 20th Century
In 1906 a new clubhouse was built on its present site and the old building became the domain of the club professional, Joe Chitty, and became known as “Chitty’s Shed”. This new clubhouse was brought from London by train, and was made of wooden walls and a tin roof, and was substantially extended with its refurbishment in 1988.
During the first half of the century, the far end of the Warren contained a “village” of wooden bungalows, but these were washed away by storms in 1946, and the erosion swallowed up the 9th hole on the point of the course.
The actual layout of the course has not changed much since 1927, although the forces of nature mean that there is continual maintenance on the estuary side of the course.
Present-day aerial photographs illustrate the vulnerability of the golf course at the seaward side of a strong tidal estuary.
Second World War
During the Second World War, the army took over the club and constructed defenses on the beach and gun emplacements on the course, three of which remain, beside the 2nd tee, the 18th tee and between the 6th and 7th fairways. Land mines were laid from the 17th green to behind the 10th green and across the 2nd fairway. Despite this, golf continued to be played, but retrieval of balls from the mine fields was not allowed!
Colonel and Mrs Creasy
In 1961, the course was bought from the Earl of Devon by Colonel and Mrs Creasy, and in 1962, Colonel Creasy was elected president, breaking the tradition of the Earls of Devon being President since the club’s foundation. The Creasy family’s generosity and commitment to the club was considerable and the family name is perpetuated in club and throughout Devon by trophies presented in their memory in both men’s and women’s golf.
The Warren Members’ Golf Club to now
In 1976, ownership of the course passed by gift from the Creasy family to the Devon Trust for Nature Conservation (now known as the Devon Wildlife Trust), and the course is leased to the club for a peppercorn rent. The clubhouse has been undergoing refurbishment throughout early 2019 to ensure that it is a pleasant place to start and end your game.
The actual layout of the course has not changed much since 1927, although the dynamic natural forces at play mean that continual maintenance is required on the estuary side of the course. At the request of English Nature, the gorse has been severely cut back and new areas of natural habitat created.
The Club is constantly working to improve and maintain the quality of the course. This work always keeps environmental issues in mind, as the course is situated on a Site of Special Scientific Interest, a National Nature Reserve, and a Special Area of Conservation, among other designations. No major maintenance work is carried out during the period March to September, during the nesting season. The club recognises that in many ways, golfing and environmental interests complement one another, and a course that is cared for with consideration for nature provides a fantastic playing environment.
We have a fine reputation for some of the best greens in Devon and for presenting a natural course in the links style.