TRAVIS HAD THIS TO SAY ABOUT GOLF–
“Golf is a wonderful game—absolutely unique. It develops the good qualities of a man’s nature and softens the poor ones.
As a disciplinarian and establisher of character, it is without a peer.
It cultivates patience and endurance under adversity and yet keeps constantly alive the fires of hope. It is a leveler of ranks and classes: rich and poor alike meet on common ground. Skill at it cannot be purchased except by application, concentration, hard work, much travail of spirit and undying faith–all of which really represent a labor of love.
It has saved thousands of lives, and broadened, sweetened and enriched the minds and dispositions of many thousands more. It has given birth to and firmly cemented friendships without number.
It is the best, as it is the fairest of all outdoor pastimes—and it may be played from cradle to the grave. (The American Golfer, Feb. 1910)
May 26, 2017:
Rudy Zocchi was our main man for finding information about Walter J. Travis. When he was a resident of Poughkeepsie, NY, he made daily trips to the USGA Library, in Far Hills, NJ, searching the available literature for any, and all things, related to Travis. After his move to Jekyll Island, Rudy exhausted all online sources for newspaper and periodical articles about Travis. The Travis Society collection of Travis literature is enormous, largely due to Rudy’s dedicated, persistent, and enthusiastic efforts. In addition, Rudy purchased many items of Travis memorabilia and books with Travis information, that he subsequently donated to the Travis Society.
It was always a pleasure to be Rudy’s playing partner. Especially on a Travis course. We will always miss him, and will be reminded of him constantly by the products of his ceaseless efforts.
In Memory of
March 9, 1933 – May 19, 2017
Rudy Zocchi, 84, of Jekyll Island, Georgia, passed away peacefully on May 19, 2017. Born and raised in Tuckahoe, NY, he is predeceased by his parents and eight siblings. He is survived by a sister, Jessie Huestis, and his wife, Gloria; two sons, Mitch (Shelly) and David (Jamie); a stepson, Daniel Duffrin (Lucie) and stepdaughter Diane Kelley (Troy) and seven grandchildren.
Among his many occupations, Rudy owned two grocery stores in Pleasant Valley, NY. Rudy was an avid photographer and golfer. He had 9 holes in one (one of which won him a car), and he shot his age or better on quite a few occasions. He was chosen as a member of the Dutchess Country Golf of Fame. Upon retirement he spent two years restoring the historic Pleasant Valley Railroad Station which is now located at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds.
For the last 20 years Rudy has been working on what he called his “golf history”. He constantly researched Walter J. Travis, a golf course architect and amateur golfer in the early 1900’s. As a member of the Walter Travis Society, his research contributed to a major part of their collection of Travis memorabilia and accomplishments.
A celebration of his life will take place at Jekyll Island United Methodist Church on Jekyll Island on Friday, May 26, 2017 at 11:00 AM. Father Tim McKeown will officiate the service. A celebration in New York will take place at a later date. Close friends and family will be contacted.
He loved living on Jekyll, and always said “We can’t keep living like this!”
In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the Walter J. Travis Scholarship Fund, 24 Sandstone Drive, Rochester, NY 14616 in memory of Rudy.
May 5, 2017:
A newly acquired image of Travis with his Schenectady Putter.
April 11, 2017:
Recently, Walter J. Travis was given a bit of national attention with a Golf channel program in which Brandel Chamblee described the far-reaching effects of the putting lesson Travis gave to Bobby Jones. The following is a link to the YouTube video of Chamblee’s presentation:
The Travis influence on Bobby Jones began very early. The 2004 Bob Thomas book, Why Bobby Jones Quit, reported that, after 9 year old Bobby Jones won the Atlanta Athletic Club’s Junior championship, his father gave him Travis’s book, Practical Golf. “Big Bob” told young Bobby, “It’s Travis’s golf book. I may have to read most of the book to you, to–sort of help you completely grasp what Travis is talking about.” Bobby went to bed that night with his newly won trophy on one side of him, and the Travis book on the other.
January 18, 2017:
Best wishes to all for a happy, healthy, and successful 2017. May your drives find the fairways, and your putts roll true to the bottom of the cup. Most of all, may the game bring you great joy and satisfaction.
Thanks to Ian Andrew, we have pasted a photo of the new 17th green that he created this past year at Pennhills Club, in Bradford, PA. Ian used the original green elevation map drawn by Walter Travis in 1922. Thus, the internal contours reflect Travis’s vision for the green. In addition to the 17th, Ian created new greens for the 12th and 13th greens. The new greens are part of the 9 holes that were completed in 1957-58 under the supervision of architect Dick Wilson. Wilson used Travis’s plans, including the routing and placement of greens, but his green surfaces were markedly different from the Travis nine. The new greens bring a more cohesive and consistent character to the course. We applaud the Pennhills Club membership, and Ian Andrew, for these improvements. Check out the “Visual Tour—” page.
December 17, 2016:
Our thanks to the Manchester Historical Society and its Curator, Shawn Harrington, for vintage images of the Equinox Golf links and a collage of recent and vintage images of Ekwanok CC’s par 5 7th hole. Check them out. Keep in mind that Travis did his design work on Equinox in late 1925. He was present when the course officially opened on July 1, 1927. John Duncan Dunn is credited with the 1899 design of the Ekwanok CC course, but there are reports that Travis assisted and was involved in the construction of the course. Ekwanok CC, and the Manchester valley was one of Travis’s favorite places. He and his wife are buried in Dellwood Cemetery. Link to Dellwood Cemetery below:
October 30, 2016:
The annual meeting of Travis Society officers was held at Pennhills Club, in Bradford, PA, on a very rainy, cold day. Treasurer and membership reports for the year were very positive. The growth in our individual membership was one of the largest in our history. The 2017 scholarship program will continue to offer five $1,000 awards, with four at-large awards and one award reserved for a student associated with a Travis Society Member Club. Application and scholarship review procedures will remain the same as in 2016. Much of the meeting’s discussion centered around governance of the Travis Society, and the wish to involve members outside the western New York, southern Ontario region. We will explore the possibility of video conferencing. Planning for next year’s general membership gathering will get underway soon. Each of the officers was re-elected to another term in office.
Though the weather prevented us from playing golf, we were treated to a look at the recent improvements to the Pennhills Club golf course, including bunker work, tree removal, and construction of three new greens. The new greens replaced three Dick Wilson designed greens on the back nine. They are remarkably consistent with the wonderful Travis green sites on the front nine, in terms of surrounds and internal contours. Pennhills’ architect Ian Andrew used the original Travis green elevation maps in his creation of the new greens.
September 12, 2016:
We are very pleased to welcome the Jekyll Island Authority’s Great Dunes Course as a Member Club of the Walter J. Travis Society. Walter J. Travis had a long history with Jekyll Island. Reports indicate that Travis offered suggestions for improving the early Jekyll Island golf course in 1900. Later, a 1910 New York Tribune reported that Karl Keffer, champion golfer from Canada, was hired by the Jekyll Island Club, at the recommendation of Walter Travis. In a letter to Mr. Macy, Cyrus McCormick, said, “Any man recommended by Mr. Travis would, I am sure, be entirely agreeable to the members of the Club—“. In 1926, Travis designed Jekyll’s Great Dunes Golf course, an 18 hole course that featured several spectacular holes along the Atlantic Ocean. The course was completed in 1928, so Travis never saw his masterpiece completed. For a period of time, beginning in 1942, the course was closed. Though the front nine was fully reopened in the mid-’50s, a combination of factors led to the demise of the back nine. Today, the Great Dunes course is a nine hole course which, according to Rudy Zocchi, our long-time, dedicated Travis researcher, and full-time resident of Jekyll Island, plays very tough, given its very small greens.
August 15, 2016:
The 22nd running of The Walter J. Travis Cup was hosted by Orchard Park Country Club on Friday, August 12th. The Travis Cup is an inter-club event that involves Orchard Park CC, Cherry Hill Club, Lookout Point CC, and Stafford CC, and was formed to recognize and honor Walter J. Travis, the designer of each club’s golf course. Per usual, OPCC was a very gracious and generous host, and the 64 players had the opportunity to experience the recent improvements to the golf course, including tree removal and bunker work done under the direction of architect Ian Andrew.
Our congratulations to OPCC for the defense of their home turf. Complete team results may be found on the Travis Cup results page of this website.
June 28, 2016:
We are very pleased, and honored, to announce that North Jersey Country Club, of Wayne, NJ, has joined the Travis Society as a Member Club. On July 15, 1923, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle announced that “The fourth oldest golf club in America, the North Jersey Country Club opens its new golf course on Saturday, July 28, at 10 a.m.”. Because of the encroachment of the surrounding village, the club sought out, and acquired, 319 acres in the township of Wayne, NJ. In 1921, Walter J. Travis was commissioned to design the club’s new golf course on terrain that he deemed an ideal setting for a championship caliber golf course. On opening day, the North Jersey CC membership celebrated both their new course and their beautiful, classic clubhouse, designed by Clifford C. Wendehack, an architect, and NJCC member, who was relatively unknown, at the time. Subsequent to construction of his NJCC masterpiece, Wendbeck was awarded contracts to design clubhouses at Ridgewood CC, Winged Foot Country Club, The Park Club, Pennhills Club, and many others.
The NJCC website (see link on this website) provides a very interesting, hole-by-hole description of the golf course, including changes to the course over the years.
April 15, 2016:
Our thanks to Michael Stachowicz, Turf Management Specialist for the National Park Service, who sent us images of original Travis hole drawings for the East Potomac Park golf course. Though there are no dates on the drawings, our documentation indicates that the drawings were done in 1917. Interestingly, it appears that Travis modified these plans, somewhat, with red ink notations. In addition, the plans clearly show Travis’ plan to develop a course that could be played in reverse.
March 24, 2016:
Thanks to member Pete Creedon, of Columbia CC, we have a Walter J. Travis Society Facebook page. We invite you to become a “Friend”. It is our hope that it becomes a site for sharing information, and even tales, about Travis courses we’ve enjoyed, by playing, tending to, etc. It is open to all with an interest in golf history, and Walter J. Travis, in particular.
March 14, 2016: (click to enlarge)
The 1907 U.S. Amateur was played at the Euclid Club in Cleveland, OH. Travis was the leading qualifier in the field of 117 golfers, that included defending champion, Eben Byers and one of the favorites, Jerry Travers. Travis had a two-round qualifying score of 146 (75 and 71) over the 6,123 yard course that was not considered to be as difficult as some past championship courses. In the first round of matches, Travis beat his friend, Tom Sherman, of the Sadaquada Golf Club in Utica, NY. In the second round, he beat George S. Lyon, of Toronto, On, 3 and 2. For the second time in three years, W.C. Fownes knocked Travis our of the tournament in a 19 hole match. Interestingly, both players embarrassed themselves during the 19th hole play, with Travis taking a 9 and Fownes an 8! Travers beat Archibald Graham, of North Jersey CC, in the championship match.
March 14, 2016:
Our long-time, dedicated, and prolific researcher, Rudy Zocchi, has done it again. He discovered an April 14, 1912 Philadelphia Inquirer article with the following news item about the Philadelphia Country Club: “It took the Philadelphia Country Club, the oldest golfing organization in this city, years before the course was really stiffened. Last fall, the Green Committee took the bull by the horns and got Walter J. Travis to run over to this city. With E.K. Bispham and other members of the Green Committee, Travis went carefully over the course and later a conference was held and plans for changing the course were adopted. As a result, where one pit was you will find five now in some places. No club around this section of the country has finer putting greens than the Country Club………The changes are such that while the course will not be available for championship matches until next year, it will not interfere with the members playing.”
Philadelphia CC will be added to the Travis Society’s listing of Travis golf course projects. Thanks, Rudy.
We’ve just learned, thanks to one of our Philadelphia friends, that the course, referred to above, no longer exists. Thus, it will be identified as NLE in our course listing.
January 2, 2016:
Here is a picture, recently added to our collection by Jim Kennedy.
December 30, 2015:
With the very generous donations from the Travis Society membership, the Executive Committee decided to increase the amount of our individual scholarship awards from $750 to $1,000. As the result of one dedicated donation, we have added a 5th scholarship to be awarded to a student associated with a Travis Society Member Club, who meets the criteria established for the other Travis Society scholarship awards. For further information about the Travis Society scholarship program, please go to the Scholarship page on this website.
October 25, 2015:
Our congratulations to one of our 2010 scholarship winners, Smylie Kaufmann, for his impressive victory in the Las Vegas Shriner’s PGA tournament. A final round 61 paved the way to his 16 under victory. Smylie’s Travis Society scholarship was a mere blip on his road to LSU. In his scholarship application, he listed “playing on the PGA Tour” as one of his goals. He’s made it—in big time!! Way to go Smylie!!
October 25, 2015:
New photos have been posted on the Visual Tour of Travis Courses page. You’ll find some vintage photos of the CC of Troy, sent to us by their Superintendent, Chris Strong, and a recent photo of the CC of Scranton’s 14th hole, from longtime Society member, John Gershey. Our thanks to both Chris and John for their contributions to our collection. More of John’s CC of Scranton photos will be posted soon. Stay tuned.
August 1, 2015:
Arrangements have been finalized for the Travis Society’s annual general membership get-together. It will be held on Friday, October 9th at Hollywood Golf Club, in Deal, NJ. In 1917, Travis did an extensive, and highly regarded, redesign of the Isaac Mackie course, including some routing changes, reconstruction of green sites, and bunkering. The greens remain among the best examples of Travis greens complexes still in existence. The course contained some of the most dramatic bunkering in existence, at the time. It defied all notions of an identifiable style of “Travis bunkering”. Within the past 2-3 years, Renaissance Golf was commissioned to restore the bunkers to a style reflecting the original Travis bunkers. If you take the “visual tour of Travis Courses” on this website, you will get a flavor of the bunkers created by Renaissance Design Associate, Brian Schneider.
All members of the Travis Society are invited to join us at Hollywood Golf Club in October. Our thanks to the members and staff at HGC who were very helpful and accommodating in setting up the meeting.
January 15, 2015:
We often received queries about various matters pertaining to the career of Walter J. Travis. One of the more interesting ones arrived recently from a gentleman who is researching the history of the townships of Eastchester and Tuckahoe, NY. The towns are celebrating the 350th anniversaries of their original charter. He was seeking information about the Oak Ridge Golf Club. Oak Ridge is listed in our Travis golf course projects as a “redesign” that took place in 1922. According to our records, it no longer exists. Our Oak Ridge file is filled with correspondence, and legal documents, pertaining to claims of negligence, etc., between Travis and Oak Ridge having to do with Travis’s plan for improving the golf course and the ensuring construction of Travis’s recommendations. Travis sued and the club counter-sued. We have no record of the outcome. But, this recent query motivated us to do further research about Oak Ridge and its eventual status. Turns out that as the result of commercial development, the land occupied by Oak Ridge became highly desirable for purposes other than golf. Eventually, Oak Ridge abandoned the property (1931-32) and relocated in Purchase, NY as the Purchase Golf club. It later became the “Old Oaks” country club. The original Oak Ridge clubhouse–a magnificant structure– still stands as the Eastchester Town Hall.
An interesting exchange of information that, for us, resulted in a greatly expanded Oak Ridge Golf Club file. The gentleman, whose uncle won the 1931 PGA Championship, was very appreciative of the information we provided.