Connect with us

Opinion & Analysis

A tip to make your round better: Bring your camera

Published

on

One of the main criticisms of golf is the time it takes to play a round.

A lot could be accomplished off the golf course in those four or more hours. You could clean the house, mow the lawn or organize your garage in that span of time, or you could watch an entire Peter Jackson movie.

I share your concerns about the time spent on the course. But if I could make one simple suggestion to make the day feel more accomplished and have your round seem more complete, may I suggest using your camera on the course?

Depending on where I am in the world, I’ve been known to bring my SLR (single lens reflex) camera with me on the course to capture the essence of the course the way I see it — from a golfer’s point of view. Like most of you, I own my share of golf calendars and books full of lush, green photos of faraway golf destinations. But these beautiful photos are typically from a bird’s eye view, capturing a perspective of the course that a player typically doesn’t have access to.

We have been spoiled to appreciate the beautiful landscapes of these golf courses by these professional photos and the amazing TV coverage from cranes and the MetLife blimp. But often times the beauty of the golf course is how the players see it, at eye level staring down at the pin 100 yards away. If I can provide you some tips for taking great photos on the course quickly and easily, I would argue that most of you would be able to produce your own album of golf photos that others would enviably say, “Wow! Where is this?”

But before I get into it a bit more, I want to add a caveat by pointing out that I’m not encouraging you to spend time walking the course and looking for the right photo opportunity. I’m sure you can imagine someone wandering off the fairway when they should be playing ready golf and I’m sure you can feel the frustration as you look at your partners asking:

“Would you look at this clown? What is he doing?”

Great photographs take time to compose, whether it is the right light, the right moment or the way the wind is blowing. That is what a lot of professional photographers are doing when taking the photos you see in books, and chances are they are not playing the course nor have a group of four behind them waiting (sometimes impatiently) to take your golf shot. Please use these five tips when the time is right and when you are not contributing to slow play on the golf course. If you are able to remember some of these tips while walking or riding the course, you should be able to take a quick photo in stride and not affect your speed of play. Besides, I don’t want the golf community to be angry with me for encouraging you to wander around the course like a tourist…or a clown.

Tip# 1: The best camera you have is the one you have available

There is nothing worse for a photographer like being unprepared for a photo opportunity and having to fidget around with controls, setting and lenses to ensure they get the right shot. That takes up time and annoys even a photographer like myself. Mobile phones have come a long way and are adequately equipped to take excellent photos, just as good as a point and shoot camera and some SLR’s. And because most everyone carries a smartphone nowadays, it is already with you and ready at the hip to take a quick shot. The photo above was taken using my iPhone — no special lighting, filters or lenses. I couldn’t miss this opportunity and grabbed the most available camera I had on hand. If convenient, and you were able to bring a camera bag with you, I would recommend taking an SLR camera with a wide angle lens as well, but typically the camera on your phone will be able to capture interesting and memorable photos if you are able to see things differently, which leads me to…

Tip #2: See the course differently

What separates an amateur photographer from a working professional is the ability to see the everyday in a different way. Now that might be a mind blowing concept for someone who doesn’t take photos very often, but I am talking to golfers and I know for a fact that golfers have an innate ability to visualize – whether it is seeing how the ball will draw/fade, how to manage the swirling breeze that just kicked up or reading a 60-foot putt that appears to have a double break and two elevation changes. That ability to visualize and see things differently is exactly what a photographer does before they take the shot. No one likes a “spray and pray” golfer — same goes for photographers.

For example, it is very common to take a photo at eye level standing up. There’s nothing wrong with that at all, but you can make things a bit different and interesting if you were to see the course and the image differently. Maybe stand behind your ball and give it a dramatic view by taking a photo on the ground. The ball is the focal point, but the essence of the photo is still the backdrop of the hole, keeping the viewer well tuned that this is a golf photo on a real golf course. Think about an ant’s eye view rather than the bird’s eye view we are all accustomed to seeing.

Another example would be to take photos of the interesting lies you left yourself with. Maybe you are off the fairway in the woods and there is a small bit of daylight that lets you see the pin a few hundred yards away. Take that image as if you were setting up for the shot, with the ball in the frame and the pin a sliver of color and it gives the viewer a sense of the challenge you faced. Perhaps you ended up dropping the ball in the fairway, but at least the image shows the difficulty level of the shot. And you can always lie about how you punched the shot through the branches and landed it within 10 feet to save par. Bring the viewer to the course the way you saw it and the unconventional suddenly becomes interesting.

Tip #3: Use a focal point

The reason why golf courses design a “signature hole” is to create a focal point, a chosen hole that makes the course interesting and sets it apart from other golf courses in the world. They will use images of the signature hole for promotional purposes to frame and speak to the beauty of their golf course symbolized by this one hole.

Kananaskis 

You don’t necessarily have to wait for the signature hole to take photos though. The course itself has many features that make it different from others, and it is those features that can make a photo stand out. In Arizona, you can use the cacti or the visible division of fairway versus off-fairway details of desert golf to bring interest to the photo. In Orlando, the use of palm trees to line a golf hole makes it certain that this wasn’t a hole in Canada. In Alberta, many holes are framed by evergreen trees and the backdrop of the Rocky Mountains, something you would never see in Orlando. Include some golf details where possible to remind yourself that these amazing sights were taken on a golf course.

Other easy examples of focal points to compose interesting images are right in your bag. The reflection of your driver head can be used to capture your foursome and if you are really adventurous, you can hold the driver up off the ground and squeeze in the landscape into the photograph as well. This can be done at the tee box and wouldn’t take much time at all.

Tip#4: It’s all about light

Ask any professional photographer and they will tell you that the secret to taking great photographs of anything is light. Light is what enables us to see an image, and the use of light will determine the mood of a photo. Take a look at the professional golf photos in those calendars and books – you know what you will see? Almost all of them were taken at sunrise or sunset. During those two times of the day, we are given the best natural light for any photos. It is why many of us have a sunset/sunrise photo or two in our collection, we all know it is the most beautiful a sky can get.

So for the early morning golfer and the after work dusk golfer, you are in luck because most any photo you take during these times of the day will turn out really nice (light wise, composition is still up to you). The softness of the sun will always highlight objects and scenery with a pleasant warm glow that will certainly make you look like you knew what you were doing. Though the convention is to never shoot into the sun, it is during this time where you should experiment with it and allow yourself the opportunity to get the sun’s effect on the clouds and how it illuminates the sky with dazzling color.

For the other unfortunate souls who have to deal with midday light, I got nothing for you. Sorry.

Just kidding. In midday light, you will have good results when you have the sun slightly behind you or to the side. Even better is a partially cloudy day when the sun is hidden and the shade provides the best midday light possible. Without getting too technical, shaded light enables you to capture highlights, mid tones and shadows in the image which in turn provides dimension and avoids the appearance of a “flat looking photograph.” Photos at sunrise and sunset are successful because of the dramatic tones and transitions from light to shadow, allowing you to see the undulations of the fairway and greens and giving a sense of depth and dimension.

Tip#5: Take non-golf photos too

This one might take a little convincing, but if you were to enjoy the golf course as a chance to be outdoors and not just an activity where you drink and bet dinners with your friends, you will likely find it is no different than going for a nice walk or hike (just with a few tossed clubs and four letter words thrown in). And when people go for a nice walk or hike, they will take the time to see the flowers or the birds and really immerse themselves into the nature of their surroundings.

If you have a chance, don’t hesitate to take a quick snapshot of the eagle perched on the top of a tree or the flowers that greet you at the tee box. Unlike nature, golf courses are well manicured and taken care of so the flora you come across may seem too perfect. That is a perfect chance to get that image because like a food photo from a magazine, the staging is already done for you and all you need to do is take the photo.

 Stewart Creek

Similar to Tip #3, use your surroundings to remind yourself that you aren’t in your own backyard. Take photos of the interesting features that you don’t see very often at home. I’m personally fascinated by architecture and have enjoyed seeing some of the amazing mid-century modern homes from the 50’s and 60’s that lined many fairways in Palm Springs. These are homes that I only get to see in magazines, and being able to see it in person was thrilling and almost transported me back in time until I had to pull out my 2012-model driver.

Taking photographs during your round is arguably a good way to multitask and can help you feel as though you’ve achieved a lot more than just golf in four hours (and it’s way better than sending work emails). As long as you are able to take the photos within the flow of the game and not slow down the pace of your foursome, you will be rewarded with some great images to share and look back on. It can also tame the frustrations of a challenging 18 hole ordeal — maybe your score didn’t prove it, but at least your photos can provide evidence that it was in fact a beautiful day.

Your Reaction?
  • 0
  • LEGIT0
  • WOW0
  • LOL0
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK1

Dennis lives in Calgary, Canada where golf is available (at best) six months of the year. The other six months are spent understanding the nuances of the game that make it so addicting and wonderfully frustrating. In a perfect world, Dennis would take his set of G10s and his D300S to travel the world playing and photographing the beautiful, unique landcapes of the golf world. For now, he sits at a desk and is developing an eight-layer golf ball simply called "The Tour Ocho."

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. fx volume data csv

    Aug 9, 2014 at 6:47 am

    The trader goes long the currency with a high interest rate and finances that purchase with a currency with a low
    interest rate. There doesn’t tend to be a great fluctuation between the values of currencies because the international monetary fund (IMF) and the world banks want
    there to be global economic security, within acceptable parameters.
    Ultimate Flora fx also utilized GDL (Glucono delta
    lactone), which is a patented nutrient, which nourishes
    the beneficial bacteria in the gut.

  2. T.Litz

    Jan 16, 2013 at 12:36 am

    Great points Den. Multitasking does help..in a golf course? for me it’s one or the other. First I suck at golf which I determined later and convinced that I can’t be good at everything so I slowly reduced the amount of energy trying and spend just a tad more into my photography…then there’s bliss.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Opinion & Analysis

“I Love You, Tiger!” At Big Cedar lodge, an outpouring of affection for Tiger Woods

Published

on

What a difference a year makes.

About one year ago, Tiger Woods was in Branson, Missouri at Big Cedar Lodge to announce that he was designing a golf course there; Payne’s Valley, his first public course. That day was attended by hundreds of national and local media, the Lieutenant Governor of Missouri and Johnny Morris, Bass Pro Shops owner and the visionary behind the amazing golf complex that has been established at Big Cedar Lodge.

That day, Woods had not played competitive golf for awhile, and he was recovering from multiple surgeries. Woods took a couple of ceremonial swings, the last of which clearly left him in physical distress. Days later, he was in surgery again and his playing career looked to be all but over. The situation became worse when Woods was arrested for driving under the influence, found with multiple substances in his system. It seemed as though the sad mug shots from that arrest might be as prominent in his legacy as the smiles and fist-pumps that accompanied his 79 wins and 14 major championships.

Fast forward to yesterday, where Woods was back in Missouri to do a Junior Clinic at Big Cedar. An estimated crowd of over 7,000 kids and parents showed up on a school day to catch a glimpse of Woods. The atmosphere was carnival-like, with sky divers, stunt planes making flyovers and rock music blaring from giant speakers. When Woods finally arrived, the reaction was electric. Mothers and their kids were chanting. “Tiger! Tiger! Tiger!” at the top of their lungs. Photographers battled soccer moms for position to get a picture of his swing. Some of the kids were as young as 6-years-old, which means that they had probably not seen Woods hit a meaningful shot in their life. At one point, when Woods was hitting shots and explaining how to execute them, a woman shouted, “I love you, Tiger!” Not to be out done, a woman on the other side of the crowd, who was their with her husband and kids, shouted “I love you more, Tiger!” Maybe the only people with more affection for Woods would be the people in the golf business. A senior marketing official in the golf industry leaned over at one point in the event and said, “God, we could use just one more from him.”

Woods swing looks completely rehabilitated. He was hitting shots of every shape and trajectory on-demand, and the driver was sending balls well past the end of the makeshift driving range set up for the event. But even more remarkable was the evidence of the recovery of his reputation. Surely there are still women out there that revile Woods for the revelations of infidelity, and no doubt there are those that still reject Woods for his legal and personal struggles. But none of them were in Missouri yesterday. Mothers and children shrieking his name confirmed what we already knew: Tiger Woods is the single most compelling person in American sports, and he belongs to golf.

Unlike a year ago, Woods is swinging well, and seems as healthy and happy as he as ever been as a pro. Add to that the unprecedented outpouring of love from crowds that once produced a combination of awe and respect, but never love. Fowler, McIlroy, Spieth and the rest may get their share of wins and Tweets, but if the game is to really grow it will be on the broad, fragile back of Tiger Woods. It’s amazing to think what can happen in one short year.

Your Reaction?
  • 49
  • LEGIT2
  • WOW0
  • LOL3
  • IDHT2
  • FLOP1
  • OB0
  • SHANK4

Continue Reading

Opinion & Analysis

12 reasons serious golfers don’t realize their potential

Published

on

What stops serious golfers from realizing their potential? If you are an amateur who wants to get better, a young player trying to achieve more, or a young professional with big dreams, this article is for you.

I’ve made a career out of helping athletes maximize their abilities, golfers in particular. And the things I see young playing professionals doing prior to our work together is often what is holding them back. The reality is that most young players, no matter what their level, have three key problems:

  1. They’re distracted by what’s not important
  2. They have no detailed structure and plan to reach the targets they determine are important to them
  3. They have no formal process to develop mindset and attitude

In the list below, I share what I see working with these young players and some common blind spots.

1. No real plan and steps to achieve targets

Most players do not know how to create a long-term and short-term plan that outlines all steps needed to reach targets. Players should have yearly plans with targets, steps and actions and weekly plans to organize/schedule their time and prioritize key needs.

2. Not focused enough on the object of the game

This goes hand in hand with No. 1. Surprisingly, players seem to forget that the object of the game is get the ball in the hole in the least amount of strokes. Trophies and checks are not issued for the best swing, the best putting stroke or most balls hit.

3. Not enough pressure in practice

Most young players have loose practice. The intensity of feelings between the practice tee and the course are too different. Focus and intensity must be a part of all practice. Add competition and outcomes to sessions so some urgency is created.

4. Too much practice time on full swing

The data is clear — most shots in golf happen from 100 yards and in from the green. If the majority of practice time is not spent on these shorter shots, practice time is wasted.

5. An obsession with the look of the swing

Players are not generally prepared to own their own swings and embrace the differences that make them unique. Obsessing over swing mechanics is a major distraction for many players. Many players convince themselves that if it doesn’t look “good” on their iPhone, their swing won’t get results.

6. No structure with the driver

Since scoring is the main goal, a consistent, reliable shape to each shot is important. My experience has been that if players are trying to go both ways with the driver, that is a sure-fire way to elevate numbers on the card. Pick a shape and eliminate one side of the course. Predictability from the tee increases a player’s confidence to put the ball in the fairway more often, creating more opportunities to score.

7. Expectation that they will hit the ball well everyday

Many players have the unreasonable expectation that they will hit lots of fairways and greens every time they play. This expectation leads to constant disappointment in their game. Knowing that the leading professionals in the game average about 60.6 percent driving accuracy and 11.8 greens in regulation per round should be a good benchmark for the expectations of all players.

8. Trying to be too robotic and precise in putting

Some players get so caught up in the mechanics of putting that their approach becomes too robotic. They become obsessed with precision and being perfect. Feel, flow and instinct have to be a central part of putting. This can get lost in an overly robotic mindset trying to be too precise and perfect.

9. No process for assessment and reflection

Players do not have a formal process for assessing practice or rounds and reflecting on the experience. The right lessons are not consistently taken away to ensure step-by-step improvement. Knowing how to assess practice, play and ask the right questions is key to development.

10. Getting in their own way

The voice inside of most young players’ heads is not helpful for their performance. It’s often a negative, demanding voice that insists on perfection. This voice leads to hesitation, frustration and anger. The voice must be shaped (with practice) into the right “emotional caddie” to support efforts and promote excellence over perfection.

11. A focus on the negative before the positive

A default to the mistakes/flaws in the round before looking at the highlights and what worked. When asked about their round, most players highlight three-putts, penalty shots and any errors before anything else. Emphasis should always be on what went well first. Refection on what needs improvement is second.

12. The blame game

Young players love excuses. Course conditions, weather, coaching and equipment are a few of the areas that are often targets, deflecting responsibility away from the player. Many players do not take full responsibility for their own game and/or careers.

I hope this provides some insights on roadblocks that could get in your way on the path to reaching your targets in the game. Whether it’s lowering your handicap, winning a junior tournament, working toward the PGA Tour — or just general improvement — considering these observations might help you shorten the road to get there.

Your Reaction?
  • 603
  • LEGIT77
  • WOW16
  • LOL4
  • IDHT9
  • FLOP5
  • OB2
  • SHANK19

Continue Reading

Opinion & Analysis

Fantasy Preview: 2018 Valero Texas Open

Published

on

With one of the weakest fields of the year, TPC San Antonio hosts the Valero Texas Open this week. Only one player from the top-20 in the Official World Golf Rankings will tee it up here. That man is Sergio Garcia, who co-designed this course with Greg Norman.

Just like last week at the RBC Heritage, the wind can wreak havoc at TPC San Antonio. The course features an exposed layout, making the level of wind is often unpredictable. Expect it to be a factor yet again this year. Unlike last week, the longer hitters do have an advantage on this course, which measuring more than 7,400 yards with little rough off the tee.

Last year, Kevin Chappell held off a charging Brooks Koepka to post 12-under par and win his first title on the PGA Tour.

Selected Tournament Odds (via Bet365)

  • Sergio Garcia 14/1
  • Matt Kuchar 18/1
  • Charley Hoffman 18/1
  • Luke List 25/1
  • Ryan Moore 28/1
  • Kevin Chappell 28/1
  • Adam Scott 30/1

From the top of the market, it’s hard not to love Luke List (25/1, DK Price $10,000) this week. The big-hitting American is still looking for his first win on the PGA Tour, but he is knocking on the door relentlessly. In his last eight events, List has finished no worse than T-26.

He was so close once again last week, and he should take plenty of confidence from that performance onto a course that theoretically should suit him much better. On this long track, List will have a significant advantage as one of the longest hitters on Tour. Over his last 24 rounds, he ranks 5th in Strokes Gained-Off The Tee and 1st in Strokes Gained-Tee to Green. List is also flushing his irons. He was second in the field last week for Strokes Gained-Approaching the Green, and over his previous 24 rounds he sits 3rd in the same category.

It’s not only his long game that is highly proficient right now, either. List’s short game has been stellar over this impressive stretch, too. He ranks 8th for Strokes Gained-Around the Green and 28th for Strokes Gained-Short Game over his last 24 rounds.

The one department holding the big man back is his putting, where he ranks 145th for the season. The rest of his game is so sharp at the moment that he’s in the enviable position of not needing that hot a week with the flat-stick to win. He only needs an average week on the greens to finally break through and claim his first PGA Tour event. There’s nothing to suggest List isn’t going to play well once more this week, and at 25/1 he seems undervalued.

Returning to a track that he adores, Brendan Steele (33/1, DK Price $8,900) is always a danger at this event. As well as winning the title here in 2011, Steele has finished in the top-20 three times since then. Whatever it is about TPC San Antonio, it’s a course that brings out the best in Steele’s game.

It’s been an excellent season for the West Coast native, too. He won his opening event of the season at the Safeway Open and has since finished in the top-30 six times. One of the main reasons for his strong run of form has been his work with the driver. Steele is ranked 1st in Strokes Gained-Off The Tee over his last 24 rounds, and he has only failed to post a positive Strokes Gained statistic in this category once since this event last year.

Recently, Steele’s game is showing trends that he may once more be close to hitting the form that saw him win at the back end of last year. In his previous 24 rounds, the Californian is ranked 10th in Ball Striking and 7th in Strokes Gained-Total. Always a threat at this event, Steele is coming into this week with all parts of his game in sync. He should be a live threat once more in San Antonio.

Another man who has played well all year is Xander Schauffele (35/1, DK Price $8,800). The Californian has made seven of eight cuts this year, and he has finished in the top-25 in four of those occasions. Excellent off the tee, TPC San Antonio should suit the 24-year-old this week, too. Schaufelle ranks 7th in Strokes Gained-Off The Tee and 17th in Strokes Gained-Tee to Green over his last 24 rounds.

With wind likely to play a factor this week, pure ball striking will be necessary. That shouldn’t be an issue for Xander, who sits 7th in Strokes Gained-Ball Striking over his last 24 rounds. There is nothing off about Schauffele’s game right now. He ranks 21st in Strokes Gained-Putting over his previous 12 rounds and 5th in Strokes Gained-Approaching the Green over the same period. It’s only a matter of time before the two-time PGA Tour winner puts himself in the thick of contention again, and there’s no reason why it can’t be this week.

Recommended Plays

  • Luke List 25/1, DK Price $10,000
  • Brendan Steele 33/1, DK Price $8,900
  • Xander Schauffele 35/1, DK Price $8,800
Your Reaction?
  • 3
  • LEGIT0
  • WOW0
  • LOL1
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP1
  • OB0
  • SHANK0

Continue Reading

19th Hole

Facebook

Trending