Name that golf course

nth_oct2009

From a consumer marketing standpoint, here’s a good reason to avoid aerial photography of golf courses, at least in the Hill Country.  I don’t care who you are.  You can’t tell me that this shot does anything for anyone (except maybe a developer or a homebuilder.)  I hate the word “standpoint.”

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The University of Texas Golf Club

utgcmay2009I’ve been out at UT Golf Club shooting their ‘Texas Legends” Invitational.  The golf course really looks good, but it’s the club that impresses me every time I go out there.  Those guys know what a club is supposed to be.  The thought and effort that goes into their events is the best I’ve ever seen.  Anywhere.

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UT Golf Club April 2009

UT Golf Club April 2009

That’s how many times I released the shutter on my D3 this weekend.  Most of it out at UT Golf Club for the 2009 Orange & White Cup Matches.  The White Team prevailed this year, squaring the matches at 2-2 in its fourth year.  Most of the time when I’m out shooting golf, I want to be playing instead.  Today, not so.  The wind was howling (and gusting), it was cold, and the greens were running faster than porcelain.  Time and again, I watched very good players make very large numbers.  I did see some great shots, though.  Jay Legg’s cut 8-iron from 121 on 13 to 4 feet.  Rusty Kennedy’s tee shot on 4.  Graham Turney’s approach to 15.  Jean-Paul Hebert holed one out from the cart path on 18 to win his match.  Here’s a shot of the final group coming up the 18th hole.

On the tee

utgolfclub18thteeA few guys from the golf staff at UT Golf Club on the 18th tee.  This hole, in my opinion, is the best closing hole in the Austin area.  And all the times I’ve played bogeyed it, I always thought to peel a draw off that right fairway bunker.  GM Steve Termeer (there in the white cap) says no.  The correct line is at the left bunker.  Who knew?  I guess it pays to listen to a good player.

19th Hole

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A peek into the bar at UT Golf Club.

UT Golf Club Clubhouse

utgolfclubhall1Been out to see the new clubhouse at UT Golf Club?  Very nice.  Here’s a shot from the hall that connects the main lobby to the golf shop.  Stay tuned for more.

My book

book

So for those who don’t want to click through the whole blog and sit through my ramblings, click here to see a random sample of some images from the past year or so.  Shots from assigments, directed shots, personal stuff.  Chase Jarvis, at one point, asked readers to send in their opinions as to which ones in his portfolio they liked (and disliked) most.  I’d sure appreciate some feedback from you.  I like them all, so if you only want to tell me which ones suck, that’s okay, too.  Thanks for any input.

The 9th green at UT Golf Club

utgolfclubhole9Here’s a shot of the 9th green and approach area out at UT Golf Club.  This hole has dozens of great photographs just waiting to be captured.  It’s a great par-5, too.  Big, bending, well-bunkered with a small green.  The only thing I don’t like is that it looks like the safe play is left of the green.  Not so.  There’s a big shaved collection area over there that’s a fairly tough up-and-down.  At least for someone with the yips me.

Post work

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Par-3 8th Hole, UT Golf Club

I’ve been accepting cash for photography assignments now for two years, and I’m just now beginning to understand the critical aspect of good post-production work.  Getting the shot is important, sure, and probably the only thing that matters in photojournalism, but advertising work is a bigger animal.

I watched a Texas Monthly video narrated by art director TJ Tucker of a recent cover shoot of Boone Pickens and came to find out that the final image was a composite of several different photos.  Lots of hard work went into getting those shots, and true talent put them all together.  Randal Ford is an incredible shooter, and come to find he’s a master at post work, too.  That’s the part of the video that got me thinking and trying harder to deliver better shots to my clients.

So you may think, “what was done to that shot there of the 8th at UT Golf Club?”  Not a whole lot, and nothing to alter the composition of the image (beyond a little cropping), but there are lots of little tweaks and sliders that can separate a good image from a great one.

And for those interested, off the thousands of golf landscapes I’ve shot, I find that shooting par-threes is usually not much of a challenge.  The 8th hole at UTGC is a an exception to that finding.  Don’t let anyone tell you not to use a ladder.

UT Golf Club

ut_golf_clubCongratulations to everyone at UT Golf Club for finally getting in the new clubhouse.  And for the rest of you, go take a look at it.  Really, really nice.  Some of my photos are hanging up in there somewhere.  This one here of the par-3 2nd hole isn’t one of them, but looking at it brings a few things to mind in the spirit of teaching golf photography in the Hill Country.

First, mornings are a crap shoot.  The light is usually perfect, but maintenance crews making tracks in the dew can ruin a sublime golf landscape.  Also, remember to dress well.  By “well,” I mean be prepared to experience the proverbial witch’s tit.  At least in the spring and fall.

Second, don’t let anyone tell you that you need a ____ing ladder.  This is just my opinion (which is the most important one on this blog), but the best golf photos are from the ground.  Isn’t that where golfers are?