PHOTO OF THE DAY

Thursday
Aug142014

08.14.14


The Eleventh  |  Kingsbarns Golf Links  |  St Andrews, Scotland


"9-iron gone awry from an awkward lie" on the Par-5 16th.Kingsbarns is simply one of the finest courses I have ever stepped foot on, with clubs or a camera. The fact that it is celebrated to such degree, in close proximity to St Andrews and all of the ancient and revered links courses of the area, speaks to its deserved accolades. Kingsbarns offers a little bit of everything, a brilliant routing, a nice variety of holes, beautiful views, and all of the attributes of a classic links. One does not feel the need to compare Kingsbarns to this course or that course. It commands its own distinct sense of place, unique to itself. I cannot imagine anyone would leave this course disappointed, other than that the day is done.

The thing I most love about playing Kingsbarns is that it invites creative and daring play. The Par-5 Third plays along the North Sea, and after an aggressive drive flirting with danger along the shoreline, I was left with 230 yards to a green guarded front and right by a menacing bunker. Decision time.

Last Fall I had put my old Ping Eye 2 1-iron back in my bag, always with the idea that it would be the perfect club to hit low, running shots on this very trip. After a few months of play, including frequent trips to the driving range where I would work on nothing but hitting hard chasers with that 1-iron, it had become my favorite club in the bag. Now I found myself in Scotland at decision time, but there was little doubt what needed to be done.

It was a thing of beauty. I doubt it got much more than ten feet off the ground, a bullet up the left side, covering the final forty yards along the ground. As the fairway contours fed the ball towards the green, well wide of the bunker, the ball appeared to be seeking the pin, only to roll out to the back of the green. I wish I could report that I made the long eagle putt, but my exhilaration had already been earned.

And now to the point of my story. If you are a player with a fair amount of skill, please consider my plea to you. DITCH THE HYBRIDS! Think about what I describe above, a shot that I prepared for months in advance, a shot that I have now visualized at least once every single day since. It simply isn't the same feat, the memory not near as sweet, if it's played with a hybrid rather than a long iron. Hybrids may be easy to hit, but they only rob your golfing soul and deprive you of a higher level of shotmaking, and ultimately, a deeper connection to the game. Embrace the challenge, put the long irons back in play. You'll thank me for it.


view more photographs from Scotland 2014

Wednesday
Aug132014

08.13.14

 SCOTLAND 2014
DAY 1 • CRAIL



The Fourteenth  |  Crail Golfing Society  |  Crail, Scotland  |  2014


A bump n' run approach to the Par-5 Twelfth.There were five of us that connected through London-Heathrow en route to Edinburgh, and we will now be know as The Mistake Makers, having made the mistake of not flying through Amsterdam.

I hear a lot of complaints about the Atlanta airport, but Heathrow has to be one of the worst places on Earth. It felt like we walked halfway to Scotland just to make our connection. We fought through the adversity and made it to Edinburgh on time, but our clubs would not. We went 0 for 5, not one set of clubs arrived.

We met up with the rest of our group and got on the bus for the drive to Crail, with the promise from Virgin Atlantic that our clubs would arrive on a following flight, and would be delivered to The Dunvegan in St Andrews, our home for the first four nights. Fortunately, that promise would be kept.

And so it was that this trip would begin with a round played with a set of rental clubs. It would not matter much to me, as Crail proved to be a thoroughly enjoyable course, the perfect start to what promised to be an epic tour of world-class links courses. The first round is always interesting, as it comes after an overnight trans-Atlantic flight, and playing a round of golf on little or no sleep. Our two Ireland trips began with a round at Royal Dublin, and as much as I love that course, its demands make for a tough opening round.

Crail is a different story all together. You cannot get much more seaside than Crail, with many holes hard against the North Sea and stunning views throughout the course. It is entirely playable, a fair challenge without bordering on difficult, but full of quirks and character and opportunities to embrace the ground game. Above all else, it was fun to play.

There is a nice mix of par-three holes at Crail, six of them in fact on this Par 69 course. Back to back one-shotters stand out, the 13th which plays long and severely uphill towards the clubhouse, and then the shorter 14th that comes right back down the hill with a gorgeous view, as pictured above.

view more photographs from Crail
view all photographs from Scotland 2014

Wednesday
Aug132014

08.12.14

SCOTLAND 2014


Royal Dornoch Golf Club
Dornoch, Scotland
2014


One month ago today I arrived in Scotland for a grand tour of some of the greatest links courses in the world. Over the next couple of weeks I will be sharing images and commentary from my trip- twelve rounds on ten courses over eight days. It wasn't enough!

This was my third trip to Ireland and Scotland in the last five years, having settled into a nice every-other-year thing with a group of close friends. In 2010, we spent ten days in Dublin and the southwest of Ireland for my first true links experience. When everyone else headed home, I instead headed to St Andrews to meet another group of friends for a few days. In 2012, we started again in Dublin and then headed to Northern Ireland. The great thing about these trips is that the glory is multi-dimensional, a brilliant mix of golf, friendship, revelry, and, for me, photography.

But there was something different about this year's trip, which started in St Andrews and then ventured north. It had everything those other trips had, but there was something more, a feeling I can only explain as a connection to something "real". I have often described my life in golf, both playing and photographing the game, as "an adventure of the spirit". Never has that theme felt more natural and been so genuine. There were moments when the pure joy was so strong that it was almost too much to take, unable to truly comprehend the reason for such impact.

What is it about links golf that excites such passion? Days you don't want to end, views you can't look away from, courses you don't want to leave, shots you've never tried, scores that don't matter, pubs you don't want to close, and in between, the sweet sound of laughter that you never want to go quiet.

I doubt that I can properly explain in words the emotion of my recent experiences, but I hope it comes across in my photographs.


view more photos from Scotland 2014

Wednesday
Jul092014

07.06.14


The Thirteenth
Kingsbarns
St Andrews, Scotland
2010

Saturday
Jul052014

07.05.14


Russell Henley
The Seventeenth
Idle Hour Club
Macon, GA
2008 Georgia Amateur Championship

Friday
Jul042014

07.04.14


Tiger Woods
72nd Hole
Torrey Pines GC
La Jolla, CA
208 U.S. Open

Thursday
Jul032014

07.03.14


Annika Sorenstam
Interlachen CC
Edina, MN
2008 U.S. Women's Open

Wednesday
Jul022014

07.02.14


The Sixteenth
Old Head Golf Links
Kinsale, Ireland
2010

Tuesday
Jul012014

07.01.14


The Eighteenth
Mid Pines Inn & GC
Southern Pines, NC
2012

Monday
Jun302014

06.30.14



The Fifth
Cuscowilla GC
Greensboro, GA
2009 

Sunday
Jun292014

06.29.14


Warning
Bethpage Black
Farmingdale, NY
2009 U.S. Open

Friday
Jun272014

06.27.14


The Seventeenth
Rustic Canyon
Moorpark, CA
2010

Thursday
Jun262014

06.26.14


Winged Foot GC
Mamaroneck, NY
2006 U.S. Open

Wednesday
Jun252014

06.25.14


Royal Dublin GC
Dublin, Ireland
2012

Tuesday
Jun242014

06.24.14

 


The Thirteenth
Tobacco Road GC
Sanford, NC
2012

Sunday
Jun152014

06.13.14


Portmarnock Golf Club

Tuesday
Jun102014

06.12.14


The Sixth
East Lake Golf Club
Atlanta, GA
2009

Sunday
Jun082014

06.11.14


The Ninth
Oakmont CC
Oakmont, PA
2007 U.S. Open

Sunday
Jun082014

06.10.14


The Eighth
Royal Portrush
Portrush, Northern Ireland
2010

Sunday
Jun082014

06.09.14


The First Tee
Ansley Golf Club
Atlanta, GA
2012