Source: VT Golf Magazine | Issue: Summer 1998 | Author: Bob Labbance
Synopsis: This article is about the accomplishments of Walter Travis and how he became so successful throughout the golf community.
When Walter Travis arrived in the United States in 1885 from his native Australia, he had never touched a golf club in his life. It was a trip to England in 1896 that sparked his interest in the sport, but it wasn’t until October, 1898, at the age of 36, that he embraced the game in earnest.
Travis joined Garden City Golf Club on Long Island, New Work, at its founding and began an exacting regiment of practice that led him to win the very first tournament he entered just two months later. In his 1901 book, Practical Golf, Travis described his induction to the addiction. “It was my misfortune-or was it my good luck?-to take up golf, without the assistance or professional coaching or the aid of a good player, and that, too, at a somewhat advanced age, regarded from a golfing standpoint.”
While knocking around Garden City, Travis became acquainted with John Duncan Dunn, son of Old Willie Dunn of Musselburgh, Scotland, and one of the most prominent golf professionals in the United States from the of his arrival in 1894. Dunn was planning courses for the Florida West Coast Railroad and had been asked by James Taylor to come to Vermont and look at a course site. In 1899, Dunn traveled to the Green Mountain State and brought Travis with him. Travis was immediately enamored of Vermont and made Manchester-in-the-mountains his summer home. Although he was a novice in course design at the time, his interest was fueled at Ekwanok, and because of his golfing achievements, in a short time the acclaim for the student would surpass that of his teacher.