How to Prepopulate Topics in Moodle

Currently the only way of cloning a course is to backup and restore an existing course. This is not ideal for creating many new courses. Is there a way to create clone courses, namely to prepopulate the topics in the topic outline, in Moodle?

One possible solution is to call backup and restore on a template course in the source code, however this method may be too invasive.

Another solution is is using Catalyst web services: Moodle Documentation , Web Services Documentation
Looking at the code could perhaps help.