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Dave Baysden and the art of golf

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Dave Baysden is the kind of guy you root for. A father and husband first and foremost, the North Carolina native has found a way to finally do what he is passionate about professionally. Luckily for all of us, that passion is art.

Golf art, specifically. Though he does paint all types of outdoor and sports scenes, golf is what has helped put him on the map. And in a world where so much of the golf art belongs in the realism and historical categories, Baysden’s work is imagination and color mixed with all of our dreams of playing the best golf holes in the world.

“I have loved art and creativity since I can remember,” Baysden said. “I’ve always drawn, doodled, painted – whatever.  It was always just who I was created to be, not necessarily something I was interested in.”

Baysden works as a graphic designer for an engineering firm now. And while that job provides security and comfort, it was not long ago he decided he needed to get back to the joy he once found creating art as a child.

“I decided to just start something, paint something,” he said. “I began small – painting little watercolors while sitting on the couch with my wife after the kids fell asleep. I remember the first night, starting with a few ideas…a trout, a fly-fishing scene, baseball players and the Masters.  Pretty much what I still enjoy painting. So, I figured – paint what you know, right? Golf is a sport that is beautiful.  Easy to use that for inspiration.”

And it is a game he loves to play, too. A golf nut just like so many of us, Baysden loves being outside and draws much of his inspiration from beautiful courses and nature. Golf provides the visuals and landscapes that fuels artistic passions while adding extra dimensions of history, characters, competition, and story-lines. Baysden has proven to have a knack for capturing the spirit of the game.

TPC Sawgrass- 17th Hole

Pine Valley- 10th Hole

Working with both acrylic and watercolor, Baysden says he starts with a loose plan for each painting and then messes it up until he likes it. A self-taught artist, he has had to work to find a process that works best for him…but most importantly, it needs to be a process that he enjoys.

“I love spending late nights in my workshop throwing paint around.  I’ve generally got music playing — a mix of Americana, country and classic rock,” Baysden said. “Like golf, painting is an extremely mental activity for me. If I can enjoy the process of a painting, then I can overcome the doubts and fears that are constantly ringing in my head.  Golf is the same way… I’m learning to enjoy the process of a round of golf – the few ups and plentiful downs – and I feel like my game is seeing some improvement. I’ve got a lot of work to do though in both art and golf.”

Quail Hollow- 18th- Watercolor

Last summer, Baysden began a new process of painting using only a golf tee as his tool. He wanted a new creative challenge and figured if he changed his palette knife and brush to something different, then he might create something different as well. He looked around his desk and saw a golf tee and a light bulb went off. He also creates these gorgeous little paintings on thick wood panels so he can drill a hole in the top to include the tee that was used. That way, the owner can rest a golf ball on top. Perfect for a hole in one display.

Sweetens Cove- Tee Painting

Illustration is also a huge part of Baysden’s creative outlet. Professional golf provides a wonderful subject matter for comic style story-lines. “I just try to capture highlights and storylines from the majors in a fun, lighthearted and creative way.  It takes me back to those Sunday comics pages. I do a quick illustration to sum up each day of the tournament in a single image cartoon.”

2018 PGA Championship- Day 1

 

2018 US Open- Day 3

Several tour players have responded positively on social media, too. Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau and Tom Watson have all reacted to illustrations done by Baysden in one manner or another. But the biggest connection to the Tour definitely came from Matt Kuchar and The Masters. Baysden had been in Atlanta for the 2016 Tour Championship at East Lake, just walking around the course, sketching. He painted several quick scenes around East Lake, including a watercolor sketch of the Seamus headcovers in Matt Kuchar’s bag. Baysden had already been a fan of Seamus and their unique designs, so he was excited to do a quick painting for his portfolio. He later posted the piece on his Instagram account and tagged Seamus Golf. Next thing he knew, the owner of Seamus, Akbar Chisti, contacted him and asked for the painting for his own collection.

The two continued to correspond over the next year and Baysden even did an original painting backdrop for  Seamus Golf’s  PGA booth–an image of the Old MacDonald course at Bandon Dunes. Then Baysden had another creative idea. “We started batting around the idea of doing a painting on canvas that could be made into headcovers. We decided on a few scenes and then just went for it. I sent him some paintings of Augusta and Shinnecock on pre-cut headcover canvases, they sewed them up and he said he was going to approach Kuchar about using them at the Masters.” And that is exactly what happened. Matt Kuchar used a one of a kind, Dave Baysden painted Seamus headcover in the 2018 Masters Tournament. “It’s still such a highlight and something I can’t believe came together.”

The opportunities keep coming for Baysden. And that is great for us, the consumers of the fruits of his passion. Baysden is swamped with commission requests and proposals and he credits that to his friends in the art community who continue to drive him towards his goals.

Baysden has had the opportunity to work with State Apparel on a mural for their San Francisco location and has also had his art displayed on the cover of Caddie Magazine. While his art is exceptional, he isn’t alone in the blossoming golf art community.

Several other artists (Baysden mentioned Josh Bills, Mike Cocking, Lee Wybranksi, Bart Forbes, Joshua Smith, Chris Duke as huge inspirations) continue to challenge and encourage him to create something great every day. Baysden feels humbled to have his art alongside those artists and hopes to promote a sense of community and support of all golf artwork. 

“I’m just amazed it took me so long to overcome the fears that kept me from creating anything in the first place, but even more amazed at the responses I have received once I just started creating.”

Please keep creating, Dave Baysden. For all of us.

State Apparel- San Francisco

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Johnny Newbern writes for GolfWRX from Fort Worth, Texas. His loving wife lets him play more golf than is reasonable and his son is almost old enough to ride in the cart with dad. He is a Scotty Cameron loyalist and a lover of links style courses. He believes Coore/Crenshaw can do no wrong, TMB irons are almost too hot and hole-in-ones are earned, not given. Johnny holds a degree in journalism from Southern Methodist University.

3 Comments

3 Comments

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  2. Nack Jicklaus

    Mar 9, 2019 at 8:10 pm

    Great stuff.

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    Mar 9, 2019 at 4:06 pm

    Love his work….

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Opinion & Analysis

Chat with a (soon-to-be) PGA Tour champion: Sam Ryder

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From 2003 through 2008, I had a side job as a high school golf coach for Bishop Moore High School in Orlando, Florida. One of the kids to come up through the ranks during my tenure at Bishop Moore was a young man named Sam Ryder. Now, at 29 years of age, Sam is in his sophomore season on the PGA Tour, qualifying by way of his second-place finish in the standings on the 2017 (then) Web.com Tour.

Ryder played on the PGA Tour Canada in 2014 and 2015. In 2015, he finished fourth in the PGA Tour Canada Order of Merit earning a place on the Web.com Tour for 2016.

In July 2017, Ryder had his first Web.com win, at the Pinnacle Bank Championship, finishing eight strokes ahead of the field. He finished second in the 2017 Web.com Tour regular season rankings to gain a place on the PGA Tour for 2018.

In his rookie campaign on the PGA Tour, Sam had a T2 finish at the John Deere, a fifth-place finish at the Houston Open and a T7 at the Barbasol Championship. He finished the year ranked 101 in the FedEx Cup Race.
This year, despite battling an injury, Sam has a third at the Shriners, a T4 at the Safeway and just last week, a T18 at the John Deere. He is currently ranked 92nd in the FedEx Cup standings and 190th in the World Golf Rankings.

I recently caught up with Sam to chat about his run-up to the PGA Tour and all the various experiences that go along with that.

So, let’s go back to your Bishop Moore days…when I was coaching my last year of vrsity, I think you were a junior. Sean took over your senior year. Curious, if back then, did you aspire of playing professionally?

SR: Generally, yes, I think I always saw myself playing baseball growing up. I wanted to be a professional in Major Leagues. When I turned to golf, I continued the path. I have always thought, “Why put in the effort if you don’t have a means to an end?” Without putting the goal on paper, it was always the end goal: to see how far I can go.

How about your years at Stetson? How did that play into your development as a future PGA Tour star?

SR: Stetson was my only Division 1 scholarship offer, and actually the only school I applied to. I knew I wanted to give golf a shot. Playing Division 1 in Florida was going to give me my best opportunity to get better.

At what point during your rise through the Canadian and Web.com did you really feel like you had what it took to play full time on the PGA Tour?

SR: I’ve always just wanted to see how good I can get. I love the game of golf, so it’s easy for me to work hard. I never knew if I was going to be a failed pro who never made it on tour or make it to number one in the world. But I’ve always been driven by the competitive nature of the sport and wanting to see where I “stack up” so to speak.

What was the most eye-opening part of playing full time on the PGA Tour for you?

SR: I think the biggest challenge of being a PGA Tour rookie is trying to learn all of the new golf courses. Everything about being a rookie on Tour is setting you up to be uncomfortable. Rookies are really behind the eight-ball when they get out there. Until you’re able to get into a routine and develop a level of comfort it’s hard to expect good results. I wanted to stay true to my approach for the most part. I earned my way on the PGA Tour and knew I was good enough based on the success I had on the Web.com Tour. I’m always trying to get better, but I wanted to do it my way, the way that got me there. It’s really easy to try to be someone you’re not when you get on Tour.

You have been in contention multiple times on the weekend and deep into a Sunday, what have you taken as the biggest positive from those experiences and what do you feel you still need to work on in regard to notching that first win?

SR: Biggest positive: playing well in big-time pressure moments. I haven’t really “lost” an event, so to speak. I have come from behind to make a good push. Knowing that when I am in these situations, and the adrenaline is going, I am able to hit the shots and make the putts. It gives me confidence that I am not going to fold in a pressure situation.

Something that everyone is always working on, including Tiger Woods, is to stay in the moment. As cliche as that is, it is a constant struggle to focus on the task at hand. Don’t get too high or low- treat each shot for what it is…

As a PGA Staff Professional with Cleveland/Srixon for several years, I know how great the equipment is with them. What had you join their team as a staff Tour Professional?

SR: I’ve been with Cleveland since I turned pro in 2012-13, they were the first manufacturer to approach me, and I love their equipment from the ball to the wedges and now the irons and driver.

What currently are you and your coach working on?

SR: Having missed significant time due to injury recently, we are just working on a lot of the same things I have been working on, my swing doesn’t change much. Right now, distance control with the irons and wedges is a focus.

Any veteran Tour members welcome you as a new member when you first came out? Kind of show you the ropes.

SR: Former player, Fulton Allem, gave me advice about managing strengths and weaknesses. Some players get so consumed with their weakness that they lose their strengths. Other players maximize their strengths and have awareness and the ability to monitor and play around their weaknesses. That goes along with the importance of staying true to your identity as a player as opposed to trying to be someone you’re not.

Chris DiMarco has been a mentor to me, growing up in the Orlando area. He has been able to provide guidance and support over the past few years, as I navigate my first years on TOUR.

For the most part veteran players as a whole have been accommodating and welcoming and are happy to share knowledge along the way.

So, what’s a typical work week look like for you? Tournament week and non?

SR: Tournament Weeks are pretty consistent…

Monday- is usually a travel day and I make a point to good work out in that day, as it’s a day off from golf Tuesday- I play nine holes
Wed- Pro-am
I go to the gym every day before I go to the course, just to get my body warmed up. Thursday and Friday rounds alternate AM/ PM tee times. I get up three hours before regardless of the time of the round, just to get body ready.

Non-Tournament Weeks…
When I am home, I go to the gym with my trainer, Alex Bennet @ TPC Sawgrass performance center 5/6 times per week. Usually, Monday and Tuesday are days off from golf, to give my body a rest.

I practice on Wed/ Thursday and play money games with other TOUR players on the weekend, to keep my game sharp and prepare for the high stakes the next week. I live less than a mile from the beach, and I enjoy going there to relax. I spend time visiting friends too.

You’ve become somewhat of a fashion icon on tour…what is your take on style and dress on Tour? It seems like a big thing for an observer from this side of the ropes…a way of self-marketing perhaps or standing out from the pack?

SR: I definitely care about my style on the golf course. I’m certainly not afraid to make a little bit of a fashion statement and wear things other players may not be willing to wear. The clothes I wear can definitely contribute to some added confidence, and confidence is one of the most important components to playing good golf.

Curious on your take of the health of golf in general?

SR: I think it’s great. The game of golf is in a good spot. I think Tiger Woods being relevant is massively important to the game, it brings sponsors and more viewers to the game. There is a great crop of young players right now. It is in a healthy, sustainable spot. Jay Monahan really has the TOUR moving in a good direction.

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Podcasts

The 19th Hole: Gary Player, Irish ambassadors talk Open in Northern Ireland

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Hall of Famer Gary Player returns to the 19th Hole to talk about the Championship, his record and his favorites to win this year. Also features Irish Ambassador to the U.S. Dan Mulhall and Northern Ireland Consul Director Norman Houston.

Check out the full podcast on SoundCloud below, or click here to listen on iTunes or here to listen on Spotify.

Want more GolfWRX Radio? Check out our other shows (and the full archives for this show) below. 

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TG2: Up early watching The Open Live! SPOILER ALERT!

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Rob talks Knudson into getting up WAY early to watch The Open Championship. Talking about live play, Darren Clarke’s hair, and how Rory started his day. Definitely spoilers, so don’t listen if you are recording!

Check out the full podcast on SoundCloud below, or click here to listen on iTunes or here to listen on Spotify.

Want more GolfWRX Radio? Check out our other shows (and the full archives for this show) below. 

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