Many thanks to the Golf Channel for requesting updated and original headshot golf photography of the top 70+ golfers in the world in early 2017. Golf Channel wanted updated headshots for their Dell Match Play telecast from Austin, Texas.
I worked closely with the graphics department at Golf Channel to determine what was possible to accomplish. I had 6 weeks to photograph the top golfers in the world. Here were our challenges. Not all golfers play in all tournaments. Not all golfers have time for a photo. The location of my photography studio can help or hurt my chances of success. Golfers are only likely to pose on practice days. I’ll have to set up a studio in Mexico City, Orlando and Austin. And to top it off, a Golf Channel employee suggested it wasn’t possible.
I traveled to Mexico City for the World Golf Championship event. I stayed at the Fiesta Americana Mexico Toreo, which was the site of a bull fighting arena. It was a beautiful and new hotel with a lot of shops and restaurants. PGA Tour officials had me setup upstairs in the women’s locker room. After talking with Courtney Holt, on-site officials and the locker room attendant, I quickly moved into the player locker room. The move was a key to our success as we photographed 41 of the golfers on our list. My first player photographed was Bill Haas. I also photographed Henrik Stenson, Dustin Johnson, Matt Kuchar, Bubba Watson, Rickie Fowler and Rory McIlroy in the two days. I flew in on Monday, February 27, 2017 and was out on Thursday, March 2nd.
Two weeks later, I was set up at Bay Hill in Orlando, Florida. NBC and Golf Channel occupy a home at Bay Hill for the tournament week, which is where I was to set up my photo studio Tuesday morning. It was a great location for me, but a little out of the way for the players to conveniently drop in. Once again, Courtney Holt to the rescue. We got approval for a move to the driving range, which turned out great. The weather cooperated Tuesday and Wednesday and I was able to photograph another 15 players including Justin Rose, Charles Howell III, Kevin Chappell and Billy Horschel.
With two days left on the clock, I headed to Austin for the first time. I stayed downtown at the JW Marriott on the corner of Congress and 2nd. I was able to meet up with an old friend from Biddeford, Maine while in Austin. I was glad to hear that my buddy Thomas Neault is rocking the business world! Golf photography helps me reconnect with some old friends!
I set up my studio on the range on Tuesday, March 20th. The location would be fantastic, but was too inconvenient for the number of golfers I had left to photograph. So, Courtney Holt to the rescue! We moved inside to the players locker room. I quickly made friends with Byron, Austin Country Club’s locker room attendant. I set my photo studio up for the 6th and last time for the project. The next two days brought some very heavy hitters such as Phil Mickelson, Patrick Reed, Sergio Garcia, Jordan Speith and Jason Day.
Many thanks to Courtney Holt for her hard work, humor and friendship. None of this would have been possible without her.
It was great to watch the golf tournament on Golf Channel and NBC that weekend and see our work on the screen!