So I got a call from my pals out at UT Golf Club yesterday, needing a shot of #12. I dug up this one and thought about what a handy tool HDR has been for me and golf. I shot this one at high noon a few years ago. Before, shooting a golf course at any time other than “the golden hour” was a bad idea. Noon was out of the question. Not anymore. You real estate marketers remember this when you’re told you can’t shoot in the middle of the day.
I know, I know. This can’t happen anymore. A golf course designed and built for golf’s sake. (I got that line from Frances Trimble, a highly-respected Texas golf writer and historian.) Golf courses should be built with the golfer in mind, shouldn’t they? Not for selling real estate or as a place on which to sprinkle the dookie water from surrounding developments. Golfcrest Country Club in Pearland is incredible, and there’s nothing flashy about it. Simple, straightforward golf with beautiful trees and turf. So what if the clubhouse looks like Noah’s Ark (not my description). This, my friends, is what golf should be. Allen Findlay, chairman of the Greens Committee there, told me that Hurricane Ike took 400 trees. I can’t imagine what it looked like before.
Usually I try to avoid shooting the unsightly periphery of golf. Power lines, Pulte Homes, etc. Sometimes it’s unavoidable. It’s there, and there’s nothing anyone can do about it. (Westlake Dermatology would certainly disagree.) I vote for embracing the features we feel may be different, ugly, unworthy, distracting. They are part of the environment in person, so why not in photographs? These anomalies are what make us different, special, unique. They are what make us, us. Look at Heidi Montag. She has systematically removed every last cell of sex appeal in a long and expensive journey designed to achieve it. The poor thing.
The shot above is one from a couple of weeks ago in Houston. That’s Houston National Golf Club, up on the northwest side of town. Some very cool mounding around a relatively flat golf course. 27 holes and plans for another 9, which will change the whole place into a 36-hole facility with a private and a public course.
After spending a week in Houston, I’ve gained a new respect for it. The weather was PERFECT every day I was there. No humidity. 45-degree nights and 70-degree days. Maybe it’s always that way in Houston (LMAO). Normally in Houston, it’s not humid, it’s more a feeling of hummus.
Brad Dunn has completed his first album and it’s now up on iTunes. Have a listen, buy a song, and tell all your friends that CW is the macdaddy who turned you on to him. You may remember this photo I took of him down at Fosforus Studios. You may also remember when I posted the shot below of him hitting it stiff out of the fairway bunker on #15 at Grey Rock, en route to beating me for the first time. But since he’s been in the studios writing and recording around the clock for a few months, I’ll take him down next time.
I got an email last night from Tina Bradley-Mayers that her father had passed away. Jackson Bradley was a dear friend to me, and although I didn’t see him all that much, we’d always pick up like no time had passed. He helped me out with my golf swing when we first met in 1986 at The Hills of Lakeway. And again at Riverhill in Kerrville. Then he was kind enough to sit down and tell me stories of his life in golf for an article in Austin Golf Magazine in 2004. After our interview, he insisted we go out and play nine holes at Austin Country Club. (That’s a shot up there of him approaching the 6th green in our match that day.) I was 39 and a 0.4 handicap. Mr. Bradley was 84 and was showing signs of Parkinson’s. We talked about how it really only affected his putting, and if he could time it right, he could still putt fairly well. He shot 37 and beat me by 2, and while I was grinding my ass off, I feel certain that he was toying with me.
Rest in Peace, Mr. Bradley. See you on the other side, where I’ll be calling for a re-match.
So I went out and dug up the shots I’ve posted here on this blog over the last couple of years and found which ones were clicked the most, along with a few that Google ranks the highest when searching for things I think are necessary to find me. If this is the collection of what represents me as a photographer, I’ve got some work to do. My tagline for the coming year: “Shoot More Skin in 2010.”
But this guy does not. In fact, Jhonattan Vegas will be one of the best golfers to ever play the game. I’ve played with great golfers (Brian Bateman, Bill Rogers, Joe Ogilvie, Wes Short, Brian Gay, Omar Uresti, Bob Estes, Tony Jacklin, Steve Stricker and a bunch of great players you’ve never heard of), but I’m not sure any of them have or had the potential this guy has. I know Coach Royal said something like, “potential just means you ain’t done it yet,” and he’s right. JV here ain’t won the US Open or the Masters yet or a whole bunch of majors, but he will. Why? Because he has a rare combination of power, finesse, desire, intellect and attitude. He’s extremely likable. He’s kind, funny, smart, authentic and plays golf on a completely different level than 99% of everyone else. I’m not sure what he shot yesterday out at UT Golf Club, where we played in their 2009 Pro-Pro-Scratch-Scratch with UTGC’s Corey Lundberg and Longhorn golf team junior Bobby Hudson (who’s also a terrific player, genuinely kind man and UTGC course record holder), but JV played the game with confidence, power, talent and intellect. And he played like a kid, having fun the whole time. I could write a good-size book about the few hours I spent with this guy. He finished 63rd on the Nationwide Tour money list, which means he’ll be back there playing the 2011 season, unless he makes it through Q-School. He’s playing in China in a couple of weeks for his home country (Venezuela) in the World Cup. (This shot of him was taken four years ago at the 2005 Austin Men’s City Championship at Morris Williams GC.)
You heard me. So go see this handsome fella here. Yep, that’s Chuck Cook, and he has joined the instruction team out at UT Golf Club. I watched him give some tips to the boys there on how to use all that technology they have out there, and it was a sublime combination of technology, experience, hard work, intelligence and simplicity. I wanted to put down the Nikon and get strapped in. But I prefer to play the game instead of study the nuances of my golf swing. At least right now. The minute I make a bunch of putts and shoot 80 is when I head out Quinlan Park Road and hang on to Chuck’s pantsleg until he agrees to diagnose me.
I stopped by the 8th green at Lakecliff Country Club on the way home from my D-Crain shoot on Tuesday and got this one.
Here’s the best way to watch golf on televsion, especially when it’s on ABC. What moronic producer thought Curtis Strange would have even the slightest chance against my mute button? If you’re curious about the title of this post, that’s how many PGA Tour wins Stewart Cink has had, according to Strange.