SACKVILLE, N.B. – The question at the moment at the Sackville Golf and Country Club is this: “Will Travis Colwell ever be considered in the same class as living legends Fred Carter and Kevin Read.”
The modest 35-year-old native of Dorchester has no illusions as he regards the two veterans as simply outstanding.
“Kevin seldom plays anymore but he has shown he can merely pick up the clubs, go out and shoot par golf without any practices – he is simply a natural athlete who can do it all.”
And he views Carter as a student of the game who is never stymied by any situation – a veteran who still can play a few holes with the best and who is now conveying much of his knowledge to younger players like Joe Carpenter.
But with seven club championships to his name and with numerous top-10 finishes in tournaments throughout the region, Colwell is viewed as the best among the current crop of local golfers.
So where did this former hockey player with the Titans learn the game and become so adept?
“Any success I have attained is directly attributable to Jon Estabrooks,” he said during a recent discussion. “Jon was our coach at high school and he took an interest in me and taught me all I know about the game.”
That is a tribute to the man who defeated him for the title a year ago and who overcame serious medical issues to regain his form.
Asked who he feels may provide him with the next major challenge, Colwell unhesitatingly named two junior players.
“Joe Carpenter and Colby Tower are the champions of the future,” he said. “They have been trained well, are natural shotsmiths and you will hear their names often in the years to come.”
Colwell recently put his seventh championship in the past 10 years to bed with a 14-shot win over Wade Ward and Todd Hicks. He did this by shooting a three-over-par 75 in the opening 18 and then came back the following day with a one-under 71 to finish with a 146 total for two-over-par finish. He did this by shooting five bogeys and two birdies in the first round and coming back with six birdies in the final 18.
Colwell still plays at least four times a week and enjoys challenges. He especially likes playing with Sue Seaborn, who likely owns more championship banners than most golfers will ever be able to amass. And now he has his oldest daughter accompanying him and getting the hang of the sport.
Ward, one of his many playing partners, was asked to describe Colwell, and he had only compliments for the man who moved from Dorchester to Sackville 15 years ago.
“He’s great to play with,” was Ward’s response. “He hits an amazing ball off the tee, has an uncanny ability to chip and can be deadly on the greens and with his long game has really shortened up the Sackville course.”
He went on to say he’s a joy to play with, never gets excited, can overcome any bad situations and encourages others.
Carter admires the way in which Colwell is consistent off the tee, driving the ball an average of 300 yards, and sees him retaining his two handicap for a long time. Seaborn also is intrigued with the way he can handle the driver and keep the ball in the fairway while Jack Drover admits he will never be ready to challenge him.
Asked about the best game he has ever played, Colwell said it would have been a six under par at the Memramcook club and also a five under at his home club.
Colwell really enjoys the challenges of the rolling Sackville layout and is impressed by the number of young people taking up the game, expecting the day will come when he will no longer be the favourite to finish atop the field.