In our formative years, our efforts were focused on locating descendants of Walter J. Travis in order to seek their approval for establishing an historical society in his honor. This search went through Salt Lake City, Australia, contacts with various city/town historians, and New York Times archives. Early on, we learned that Walter and Anne Travis had two children, Bartlett and Adelaide and, through New York Times birth announcements, that Bartlett had two children in the 1930s. It remained to be determined if descendants were still living; until a phone call came from Bob Labbance, in June 1998, announcing that Elise Anne “Winkie” Travis-Roessler had stopped by his office in Montpelier, VT, to express her appreciation for articles he had written about her grandfather, Walter J. In just a few days, Labbance made arrangements for a contact between Winkie and the Travis Society. We were very pleased to find that she was impressed, appreciative, and enthusiastic about the formation of The Walter J. Travis Society, and its mission of recognizing and honoring her grandfather. This was the beginning of a long and enjoyable friendship with Winkie, a regular and honored guest at each Travis Cup event.
It was not long before we learned of another descendant, by marriage, Albert J. Wright III, longtime member and Historian of the Country Club of Buffalo. Bert’s great grandfather, Albert J. Wright, was the brother-in-law of Walter J. Travis, and Bert’s grandfather, Parke Wright, was a good friend and frequent playing companion of his Uncle Walter. Bert has been a good and generous friend of the Travis Society, and has enjoyed being a part of several Travis Cup events.
With the enthusiastic endorsement of Walter J. Travis’s descendants, we have proceeded with our mission, and are proud to claim the following as some of our most noteworthy accomplishments:
- Organized and produced The Walter J. Travis Cup annual inter-club event designed to celebrate the heritage held in common by private clubs with golf courses designed by Walter Travis; held annually since it began in 1995.
- Verified accuracy of the World Golf Hall of Fame’s Walter J. Travis database, at their request.
- Provided research and financial support for the creation of “The Old Man”, the definitive biography of Walter J. Travis, written by a gifted writer, Bob Labbance, who became our friend, and whom we sorely miss. The Travis Society owns the remaining inventory of “The Old Man”, which are autographed by Bob Labbance. They are available solely through the Travis Society. For Travis Society members, copies are $50 plus $5 shipping. For non-members, the book is $75 plus $4 shipping.
- Approved by the IRS as a 501 (c)(3) public charity allowing us to receive tax deductible donations.
- Developed and published “The Directory of Walter J. Travis Golf Course Projects”, a comprehensive listing of his work and consultations as a golf course architect. This directory is now online, on this blogsite, with an alphabetically arranged listing or a listing arranged chronologically according to date when Travis did his design work. The Travis course listings are a work in progress, often updated as new information is discovered.
- Attracted a membership of over one hundred golf history/Travis enthusiasts. In addition, 22 golf and/or country clubs have joined as Member Clubs in order to highlight and honor the role Walter J. Travis played in their heritage.
- Accumulated a large library of Walter J. Travis literature and collection of Travis memorabilia. Our library consists of copies of each edition of “Practical Golf”, an original copy of “The Art of Putting”, numerous club history books from clubs with Travis courses, nearly a complete run of “The American Golfer” in both digital and hard copy form, and numerous other magazines and books containing articles by, or about, Travis. Our golf memorabilia include several Schenectady putters, including a “Patent Pending” Schenectady, and a Haskell Ball. The late Rudy Zocchi, a past-Travis Society member and Honorary Member of the Travis Society Executive Committee, spent several weeks at Golf House acquiring copies of their holdings of Travis papers as well as copies of many other documents.
- Wrote an introductory essay for the reprint of “The Art of Putting” produced by Peter Yagi. The Travis Society received several copies of the reprint, including the Subscriber’s Edition.
- Provided information and images for numerous writers preparing an article about Travis, or a related topic, and for golf club green committees, golf course superintendents, and golf course architects for their planning of golf course renovations or remodeling.
- Established a scholarship program for students pursuing careers in golf-related industries, such as professional golf management, turfgrass management, golf course design, sports journalism. Contributions from Travis Society members have underwrtten the financial awards given to deserving students.