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Jim_Kennedy

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Re: Walter Travis' Impact on the game of Golf
« Reply #50 on: May 09, 2014, 03:02:18 PM »
David,
I don't believe anything posted so far shows any disrespect for Travis.
"I never beat a well man in my life" - Harry Vardon

DMoriarty

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Re: Walter Travis' Impact on the game of Golf
« Reply #51 on: May 09, 2014, 03:31:33 PM »
Not trying to insult you, Jim, and I apologize if I did.   I am just disagreeing with your speculation that Travis may have had serious doubts about NGLA all along.  It just doesn't match what Travis had written in the past. Plus, we've got to look at the context of these statements, and by the time Travis wrote this article in 1912, he had a serious issue CBM, especially his role and involvement with the USGA and R&A.  Look at the AG's from this period.  There are plenty of examples of him railing against CBM.

So it doesn't make sense to me with start with this article as if there was a clean slate, as if what had come before had never existed. While Travis had made a few arguably critical comments about certain aspects of NGLA (the Road hole for example), generally his comments had been very positive.  For  example, after the initial invitational, he wrote that NGLA would "easily be[] far and away the best in this country."  In the same article he also wrote . . .

    At first blush it might be thought the playing of such an ideal course would be a little too strenuous, too exacting, without any let-up. Not so. Interest never slackens, nor is there any suggestion of satiated indifference from such a wealth of grand holes throughout—no thought of one's nose being kept at the grindstone.
   A great deal of credit is due to Mr. Macdonald for providing such a classical links, which will ever remain a monument unto himself, and much good will be done to the game as a whole in the way of furnishing such a magnificent object lesson of what a first-class course should be in suggesting ideas to those interested in the lay-out of new courses or the improvement of existing ones throughout the country. The name, The National Golf Links, is appropriate by reason of the fact that the sixty-seven founders, each of whom has put in $1,000, and in whom the ownership of the property is vested, reside in various parts of the country; while as to the term "Links" it is really about the only course on this side which is deserving of such a title.


Hardly sounds like he thought it was "too severe" to me.  And this is not the only place where he was singing the praises of NGLA.  
Golf history can be quite interesting if you just let your favorite legends go and allow the truth to take you where it will.
--Tom MacWood (1958-2012)

Ronald Montesano

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Re: Walter Travis' Impact on the game of Golf
« Reply #52 on: May 09, 2014, 08:39:45 PM »
reads schizophrenic to me.
Maybe for 2022
~Eden Valley
~Hillview
~Pinehurst (NY)
~Kis 'N Greens
~Pine Meadows
~18 Mile Creek
~Greenwood
~Shawnee
~Leroy
~

DMoriarty

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Re: Walter Travis' Impact on the game of Golf
« Reply #53 on: May 11, 2014, 01:09:08 PM »
reads schizophrenic to me.

Yes, but who?
__________________________________________________________

Here are two blurbs from Travis's Jan. 1913 American Golfer, published while the above spat about NGLA was ongoing.  The first is republished from a Brooklyn paper and calls CBM out directly.  The second doesn't mention CBM but, given the first, the target is obvious.   And as the blurb mentioned, there had been a previous article in December.  That short blurb didn't mention CBM, but again in context the target seems obvious. 



Travis had always been outspoken against certain practices of the USGA but with the Schenectady putter fiasco he seems to have become much more vigilant.   He was often calling out various members of the golfing establishment for one thing or another.  For example, in the same issue as the articles above, he takes on Emmet regarding a agronomy matter (soil compaction), and during the same period he slams Whigham for his description of the proper way to play the Biarritz at Piping Rock, and there is plenty of commentary on the governance of the USGA.  Individually the various blurbs and articles don't seem like much, but taken together it seems to me that there was broad hostility there that might have focused on CBM but it wasn't just limited to CBM.  I've always wondered whether the creation of Golf Illustrated in 1914 wasn't in part a response to Travis's editorial bent in AG. 
Golf history can be quite interesting if you just let your favorite legends go and allow the truth to take you where it will.
--Tom MacWood (1958-2012)

Ronald Montesano

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Walter Travis' Impact on the game of Golf
« Reply #54 on: May 11, 2014, 01:30:59 PM »
reads schizophrenic to me.

Yes, but who?
__________________________________________________________ 

Why, both of me, of course. I mean, him. Or them.
Maybe for 2022
~Eden Valley
~Hillview
~Pinehurst (NY)
~Kis 'N Greens
~Pine Meadows
~18 Mile Creek
~Greenwood
~Shawnee
~Leroy
~

DMoriarty

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Walter Travis' Impact on the game of Golf
« Reply #55 on: May 11, 2014, 01:40:52 PM »
I know I am, but what am I?
Golf history can be quite interesting if you just let your favorite legends go and allow the truth to take you where it will.
--Tom MacWood (1958-2012)

Ronald Montesano

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Re: Walter Travis' Impact on the game of Golf
« Reply #56 on: May 11, 2014, 02:49:25 PM »
Seriously, though, unless it was a political play to acquiesce to his good friend, Charles, I cannot imagine why WJT would be so vehement in his condemnation of the difficult of the course in one breath, then move to soften the words in the next. I've met bombast, but never like this.
Maybe for 2022
~Eden Valley
~Hillview
~Pinehurst (NY)
~Kis 'N Greens
~Pine Meadows
~18 Mile Creek
~Greenwood
~Shawnee
~Leroy
~

DMoriarty

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Walter Travis' Impact on the game of Golf
« Reply #57 on: May 11, 2014, 10:04:10 PM »
I understand what you are saying but I think you have the order wrong.  The article where Travis was praising NGLA came first.  There was a well-publicized members tournament at NGLA in July of 1910, and and the excerpt above (in blue) is from the AG article on NGLA in the August 1910 issue of American Golfer.   The other articles - where Travis becomes critical - are from late 1912 and early 1913.  

So what changed?  At least two things happened in the fall of 1910 which seemed to have really set Travis (and others) off:

1.  In September 1910, the R&A banned mallet putters, including the popular Schenectady putter which Travis had used to win the British Amateur 6 years before.  I won't get into it here, but this created a huge stir in American golf and fueled strong sentiments against the R&A and what was portrayed as British paternalism and condescension. CBM, who was the only American on the R&A rules committee, ended up trying to broker peace which would have preserved a single set of rules, but the result was that much of the hostility toward the ruling ended up being directed at him.  Travis was leading this charge.  And he and CBM went back and forth on the issue.

2.  Also, in November 1910, Horace Hutchinson published an article entitled "An English View of American Golf" in H.J. Whigham's Metropolitan Magazine.  Hutchinson was considered close to CBM and Whigham (who was from a prominent golfing family in Prestwick, had been very involved in the creation of NGLA with CBM, and was his son-in-law.)  In the article, Hutchinson is somewhat critical of many of the leading American courses, but heaped praise on CBM's NGLA.    Perhaps unfairly, the article was viewed as a slap in the face of American golf.

Given the Schenectady putter fiasco, the timing couldn't have been worse.  To put it mildly, a segment of the American Golfing community were very upset by the comments and read it as another shot at American golf and at American's generally.  Much of the hostility was expressed in Travis's magazine, with Travis seemingly at the middle of it. There was a letter/article written by "Americus" trashing Hutchinson, and given that NGLA had escaped criticism from Hutchinson, CBM and NGLA seemed to be targets as well.   I don't know whether or not Travis was in fact "Americus," but he certainly was egging him on, even publishing an editorial comment adding to the critique. There were also calls for reforms to the USGA which was considered to chummy with the R&A and not representative enough of the outlying clubs.  

Anyway, it gets pretty complicated, but this seems to have lead to a strong anti-british sentiment and a strong anti-CBM sentiment by Travis and probably some others.   It was still ongoing a few years later, when AG went after NGLA after the tournament with the high scores.  And it continued in the Amateur Rule crisis a few years later.  

Note, this isn't intended to be the final word on any of this, just a quick and dirty assessment to try to set out some of the potential issues between Travis and CBM and a certain segment of the golfing establishment.  
« Last Edit: May 11, 2014, 10:14:47 PM by DMoriarty »
Golf history can be quite interesting if you just let your favorite legends go and allow the truth to take you where it will.
--Tom MacWood (1958-2012)

Ronald Montesano

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Re: Walter Travis' Impact on the game of Golf
« Reply #58 on: May 12, 2014, 05:45:20 AM »
Thank you, David. I've got to go back and do my due diligence.
Maybe for 2022
~Eden Valley
~Hillview
~Pinehurst (NY)
~Kis 'N Greens
~Pine Meadows
~18 Mile Creek
~Greenwood
~Shawnee
~Leroy
~

Ed Homsey

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Walter Travis' Impact on the game of Golf
« Reply #59 on: May 14, 2014, 05:47:08 PM »
I believe that Mr. Moriarty described the essence of the conflict that arose between Travis and CBM.  I am convinced that the difficulties arose out of the Schenectady controversy.  Travis was critical of CBM's position on the R&A committee, expressing the opinion that he had no official role and did not represent American interests well.  To his credit, Travis published CBM's letter of response.  But, the damage was done.  When you look back at the development of the NGLA concept, Travis was directly involved, along with Emmet and others.  There is a report that Travis was instrumental in determining a proper name for the course.  But, in the end, Travis was dropped from the project, and was not recognized as having had any part in it.  Why?  I think it was because of the bitter feelings generated by the Schenectady issue. 

DMoriarty

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Re: Walter Travis' Impact on the game of Golf
« Reply #60 on: May 14, 2014, 07:47:32 PM »
When you look back at the development of the NGLA concept, Travis was directly involved, along with Emmet and others.  There is a report that Travis was instrumental in determining a proper name for the course.  But, in the end, Travis was dropped from the project, and was not recognized as having had any part in it.  Why?  I think it was because of the bitter feelings generated by the Schenectady issue.  

I think the problem with this theory is the timing.   The putter controversy didn't begin until September 1910, after NGLA's initial tournament, and Travis was no longer being listed as part of the project by this time.  In other words, Travis appears to have been dropped long before the putter controversy.
Golf history can be quite interesting if you just let your favorite legends go and allow the truth to take you where it will.
--Tom MacWood (1958-2012)

Patrick_Mucci

Re: Walter Travis' Impact on the game of Golf
« Reply #61 on: May 14, 2014, 11:55:22 PM »
David,

The R&A banned the putter in 1910 ?

Surely there had to be conflicting opinions prior to the date of the ban.

DMoriarty

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Walter Travis' Impact on the game of Golf
« Reply #62 on: May 15, 2014, 02:12:15 AM »
Patrick,  Above I said Sept. 1910, but I think that while the actual R&A rule was changed in September 1910, the Rules Committee had barred the putter in sometime in the spring (April?) of 1910. 

As for as conflicting opinions about the putter prior to this date, I don't think there was anything in the R&A or USGA rules about limits on clubs until some time in 1908.  (Prior to that the use of a pool cue had been barred.)  Some time in 1909 the R&A barred the use of a croquet mallet, and clarified in 1910 by barring all center shafted clubs, and specifically included the Schenectady.     
Golf history can be quite interesting if you just let your favorite legends go and allow the truth to take you where it will.
--Tom MacWood (1958-2012)

Ed Homsey

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Re: Walter Travis' Impact on the game of Golf
« Reply #63 on: May 15, 2014, 12:27:00 PM »
David--You are absolutely right that my opinion about the link between the Schenectady putter controversy and the CBM-Travis "breakup" is a theory, aubject to being tested and proven or not.  I would welcome anny light you can shine on the time-line of the CBM-Travis "breakup".   Were Emmet and Whigham also dropped from the NGLA project?

DMoriarty

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Re: Walter Travis' Impact on the game of Golf
« Reply #64 on: May 16, 2014, 04:40:22 PM »
Emmet and Whigham were not dropped from the project.  Both were acknowledged throughout and in NGLA's statement to member's after the clubhouse finally opened, although both credited CBM with the creation of the course. (As did Travis, at least for a while.)    

As for the timeline of the "breakup" between Travis and CBM, I am not sure when it began, but suspect it was in 1910 with the Schenectady Putter fiasco and with the Hutchinson article.  

People have assumed that Travis's having been dropped at NGLA was part of what you call the "breakup," but I am not so sure.   Travis's writing remain positive about NGLA in 1909 and in 1910 even though he no longer appears to have been directly involved with the project.  So perhaps there is some less controversial reason he was no longer involved.  Maybe he didn't have time.  Maybe it didnt fit in his schedule. Maybe he was busy with his changes at GCGC or with the creation of Salisbury Links.  Maybe he didn't want to pony up the grand to join.  Or perhaps there is some other reason that had nothing to do with a "break up."  I don't know one way or another.   But it is speculative to assume that Travis was being unfairly cutout or that he was thrown off the project because of some sort of falling out or "breakout."  There doesn't seem to be any record of that, and Travis certainly had ample opportunity to express those views in 1909-10 if that was indeed the case.  

Anyway, my point above is that Travis's NGLA involvement (and the end of his involvement) seems to have predated the 1910 Schenectady putter fiasco, do I don't think we can reasonable say that the latter led to the former.

Here is question for you or anyone else.   When did Travis first start taking money for designing courses?  Was he paid for Salisbury Links?   If he started taking money during the 1907-1909 period, then this might explain why he was no longer involved at NGLA.  
Golf history can be quite interesting if you just let your favorite legends go and allow the truth to take you where it will.
--Tom MacWood (1958-2012)

Ed Homsey

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Re: Walter Travis' Impact on the game of Golf
« Reply #65 on: May 17, 2014, 07:48:26 PM »
David--I should not have used the term "break-up".  So, let's put that aside.  The fact is, CBM states in his book that "I dropped Travis".  I think it is worthy of exploring the reasons why Travis was "dropped".  If you go through "Scotland's Gift  Golf carefully, I believe you will come away with the sense that CBM had a dim view of Travis.  He acknowledge losing to Travis, but seemed proudest of the two victories he had over Travis.  He dismissed the Schenectady Putter as anything of importance, and pointed out that Travis was putting better with another putter.  In the chapter on the NGLA, he did not mention Travis once.  So, my question is:  what was it between these two guys? 

DMoriarty

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Re: Walter Travis' Impact on the game of Golf
« Reply #66 on: May 17, 2014, 08:21:59 PM »
I am not so sure I read Scotland's Gift the same way.  For example, as for Travis's use of the Schenectady Putter, Travis himself said he putted just as well with another putter, so I don't think it makes sense read anything into CBM saying the same thing.  I don't recall anything negative about Travis, but if you have something specific in mind, I'll go back and take a look.  (It wouldn't surprise me if CBM didn't like Travis by the time he wrote Scotland's Gift, but this doesn't necessarily mean he was negative about Travis when NGLA was being designed.)

It is true that CBM doesn't mention Travis much regarding the creation of NGLA, but this could be because, after some initial involvement, Travis didn't have much to do with it.  This is pretty consistent with the reports at the time by all involved including Travis himself, who viewed the course as a monument to CBM.  

As for the reason Travis was dropped NGLA, I too think would be nice to know what happened, but we don't know. The best we can do may be to eliminate theories that don't make sense.  And the Schenectady putter explanation doesn't seem to make sense because the timing is wrong.

Do you know when Travis started to get paid for his design work?  CBM said early on that NGLA would be built without the aid of a professional architect, and if Travis began taking money for design this could have been a reason for him to be dropped at NGLA.    


« Last Edit: May 17, 2014, 08:29:28 PM by DMoriarty »
Golf history can be quite interesting if you just let your favorite legends go and allow the truth to take you where it will.
--Tom MacWood (1958-2012)

DMoriarty

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Re: Walter Travis' Impact on the game of Golf
« Reply #67 on: May 17, 2014, 08:28:55 PM »
Here is part of what Travis had to say in about how the ban on the Schenectady putter would impact his game and the games of others:

There will undoubtedly be lots of grumbling from players when they find they have to discard their favorite putter. And in most cases the change will work a slight hardship, although this is more fanciful than real. For years I have been using a putter of the Schenectady type. Quite recently I have had a club built along accepted lines and I find that my putting hasn't suffered a bit. And this will prove to be the case with the large majority of players.
Golf history can be quite interesting if you just let your favorite legends go and allow the truth to take you where it will.
--Tom MacWood (1958-2012)

Ed Homsey

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Walter Travis' Impact on the game of Golf
« Reply #68 on: May 17, 2014, 08:52:55 PM »
All things depend on the eye of the beholder, but if you did not find anything in Scotland's Gift Golf, that had a negative connotation about Travis, I suggest a reread.  Or, if you'll give me a little time, I'll pull up some comments that I believe have negative connotations, e.g. his reference to Travis's "inappropriate" criticisms of his treatment during the 1904 Brit Am.  You theorize that CBM did not mention Travis in the NGLA work because Travis "did not have much to do with it".  There are reports that suggest Travis's involvement was important, e.g. suggesting the name of the course, inspecting the grounds.  I think we are a long way from understanding the relationship between CBM and Travis, and given the significant influence those two had on the game of golf in the early 1900s, it is worthy of further, careful study.

DMoriarty

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Re: Walter Travis' Impact on the game of Golf
« Reply #69 on: May 18, 2014, 12:31:25 AM »
Ed,  Maybe I am misremembering, so I look forward to reading comments from Scotland's Gift that you feel had a negative connotation toward Travis.

As for whether or not Travis had much to do with NGLA, there is overwhelming evidence that CBM was the person running the show from the very beginning.  Even Travis acknowledged this.  Nonetheless it is possible that Travis had some contribution, but I've never seen anything setting out a major contribution to the creation of the golf course. Do have anything in particular in mind.  As for the name change from National Golf Course to National Golf Links, I probably don't place as much significance on that as you seem to. 

I agree that careful study would be helpful, but unfortunately we don't have too much information, so we end up with a lot of speculation.

I take it you don't know when Travis started getting paid for his design work?
___________________________________

Mr. Schmidt.  Welcome to the site.   You're right about Whigham.   
Golf history can be quite interesting if you just let your favorite legends go and allow the truth to take you where it will.
--Tom MacWood (1958-2012)

Patrick_Mucci

Re: Walter Travis' Impact on the game of Golf
« Reply #70 on: May 18, 2014, 01:13:42 PM »
David & Ed,

Years ago, Tom MacWood initiated a thread about Travis's contribution at NGLA.

Perhaps, if it could be located, it might have information that could be helpful.

I know that Tom and I disagreed on the level of Travis's involvement and impact on NGLA.

I tend to think that "ego" is at the center of the rift.
"Personalties", especially big personalities, often clash.

Jim_Kennedy

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Re: Walter Travis' Impact on the game of Golf
« Reply #71 on: May 18, 2014, 01:22:16 PM »
"I never beat a well man in my life" - Harry Vardon

Jim_Kennedy

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Re: Walter Travis' Impact on the game of Golf
« Reply #72 on: May 18, 2014, 02:38:16 PM »
The title is misleading, but this one gets around to Travis/CBM at post #103.

http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,13177.100.html
"I never beat a well man in my life" - Harry Vardon

Jim_Kennedy

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Re: Walter Travis' Impact on the game of Golf
« Reply #73 on: May 18, 2014, 03:29:17 PM »

From the Dec 21st, 1910 edition of the NY Daily Tribune*


* If this article or the information contained in it has already been posted somewhere else in the world of GCA, too bad, you're reading it again.  ;)

« Last Edit: May 18, 2014, 03:58:47 PM by Jim_Kennedy »
"I never beat a well man in my life" - Harry Vardon

Ed Homsey

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Walter Travis' Impact on the game of Golf
« Reply #74 on: May 18, 2014, 08:44:19 PM »
That is a incredible post, Jim.  Though CBM protested in his book that he was unaware of the implications of the mallet-headed putter ban by the R&A, i.e. that it included the Schenectady, this post suggests that he was in total support of the R&A ruling.  Based on some historic misteps in CBM's book, i.e. when the Schenectady was created, and when Travis first used it, I'm beginning to have some questions about his grasp of the facts.

btw--David--I do not know when Travis was first paid for his design of a golf course.  I will review our information to see what I can find.

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