Travis Campbell awarded the inaugural Larry Powell Scholarship

Campbell is completing a two-year certification program at Rutgers Center for Turfgrass Science


Travis Campbell
Travis Campbell on the job at Carmel Country Club in Charlotte, N.C. Photo courtesy of Travis Campbell

Travis Campbell, GCSAA member and student at Rutgers Center for Turfgrass Science in New Brunswick, N.J., has been named the winner of the inaugural Larry Powell Scholarship from the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA). Campbell will be recognized at the 2023 GCSAA Conference and Trade Show during the GCSAA Foundation Donors and Grassroots Ambassadors Reception on Feb. 8 in Orlando.

The Larry Powell Scholarship was established in 2022 by GCSAA Past President Mark F. Jordan, CGCS, and the GCSAA Foundation to honor Larry Powell, a 48-year GCSAA member and golf course superintendent at Clearview Golf Club in Canton, Ohio. The scholarship focuses on individuals from underserved populations who are GCSAA members or interested in becoming a member. Scholarship preference is given to needs-based applicants with consideration for leadership skills and community engagement.

"I thank the GCSAA and am very appreciative of the honor of having this scholarship in my name. I have to thank my wife, Teresa L. Cole, who has passed away. Her extremely dedicated work and that of the rest of my family, put me in a position to be considered for this honor," Larry Powell said. "I want to congratulate Travis Campbell for being the first recipient of the Larry Powell Scholarship. I commend him on his diligence, persistence and attention to detail. These traits will serve him in pursuit of his career. I’m thankful this scholarship will help him in that direction."

Powell’s father, Bill Powell, was an entrepreneur and pioneering golf course owner who opened Clearview Golf Club in Canton in 1948.

The integrated course was the first and only course to be designed, constructed, and owned by an African American. Bill was a member of GCSAA for 37 years prior to his death in 2009. Bill and Larry were the first African American father-son members in GCSAA history. The Powell Family, which includes Larry’s sister, Renee, who was the second African American player in LPGA history, was awarded GCSAA’s Old Tom Morris Award in 2019.

“It is a blessing that GCSAA organized this opportunity for the African-American demographic in the turf industry while honoring the legacy of the Powell family,” Travis Campbell said.

Campbell’s grandfather introduced him to golf when he was 3-years old, and he played competitive golf throughout his childhood and even at the collegiate level. For Campbell, golf course management is more than a passion – it’s an aspect of his life coming full circle.

“Growing up, I was always working on my game to become the best player I could be, but now, I work every day to gain knowledge and live up to my potential in the turf industry,” he said.

As part of Campbell’s turf management curriculum at Rutgers, he completed a 10-month internship at Carmel Country Club in Charlotte, N.C., in 2022. During his internship, he was part of the daily conversation with the superintendents and assistant superintendents, discussing plans for what they wanted to accomplish on any given day or throughout the week. From raking bunkers to supervising the crew, that experience exposed him to almost every job in the greens and grounds department at Carmel Country Club.

Campbell’s golf industry experience also includes previously working as a pro shop attendant at Hidden Valley Golf Club in Gaston, S.C., and as an assistant superintendent at Indian River Golf Club in West Columbia, S.C.

Once he completes his education at Rutgers, Campbell hopes to land a job as an assistant superintendent. Long-term, he has a goal of becoming a superintendent at a Top-100 golf course anywhere in the world. While Campbell’s grandfather got him started in the game of golf, Tiger Woods’ life and career have motivated him beyond measure.

“I live my life based off the concept of putting 110% effort into preparation or practice, which leads to success in big moments,” Campbell said. “Tiger Woods also inspired me to view adversity as an opportunity to excel as opposed to a hindrance that forces me to give up.”

This scholarship will help Campbell with living costs and tuition for the spring semester at Rutgers, and he thanks the Powell family, GCSAA, and all his mentors who have helped him and imparted their knowledge along the way.

“I am extremely honored to be associated with Larry Powell as the first winner of this scholarship,” he said. “I thank GCSAA for creating this scholarship for underserved populations such as my own. I view it as a privilege to be a black man in the golf course turf management industry.”