Spring Shooting Gets Under Way with 2 Days at Wade Hampton Golf Club!

May 15, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

WHAT A BEAUTY!

Naturally, I'd known of Wade Hampton Golf Club before I had the opportunity to photograph it.  It's considered by many to be Tom Fazio's finest design, and I'm a big fan of Mr. Fazio's work.  Golf Digest named it this year's 10th Most Beautiful Course in America.  It's ranked in the top 20 in Golf Digest's Best 100 American Golf Courses.  It's the #1 ranked course in North Carolina.  And it's among the Top 100 Golf Courses in the World by all credible ranking sources.  Whew!  

So to say I was pumped to be asked to photograph Wade Hampton Golf Club would be pretty accurate.  Finally, I could get my busy Spring shooting schedule under way, and I got to start it all off at one of the country's most beautiful courses to boot!  How good is that? 

Wade Hampton Golf Club, Cashiers, NC - 9th HoleThe ninth green A BRIEF TIME OUT

I need to pause for a moment for some thank you's.  First, thanks to Dan Janton and the folks at Heritage Charity Auctions and Awards, who arranged for me to do this photo shoot.  The guys at Heritage continue to be incredibly supportive of my work, and it's very much appreciated. Second, my sincere thanks to Pete Matthews, Director of Golf at Wade Hampton, for allowing me the joy of roaming this beautiful property for a few days.  I'm never happier than when I'm photographing a beautiful golf course and this one is, indeed, a beauty.  And finally, it would be incredibly rude of me not to thank Tom Fazio for designing such a stunning track.  A great course, in my estimation, is the result of a successful collaboration between God and a golf course architect who fully understands and loves the land with which he is blessed to work.  Tom, my hat's off to you.  Now, if you could only help me arrange a photo shoot at Frederica...

 AND NOW, BACK TO THE STORY...

I had spent a week in the Highlands/Cashiers area of North Carolina last Fall, and really enjoyed myself, so I was happy to get back into the area.  When I arrived, Pete Matthews and his team were incredibly welcoming and helpful, giving me carte blanche to do what I love to do.  It doesn't get any better than that.  Sadly, shooting conditions were not optimal for my shoot on Wednesday afternoon.  Nothing but clear blue skies.  Perfect for playing golf and enjoying the mountains.  Not so much for photographing a golf course.  I did get some usable images, but I decided that I would need to stay at least thru Thursday afternoon, when partly cloudy skies were predicted, to get some good late day shots.  Honestly, though, if the worst thing I had to deal with was spending a few Wade Hampton Golf Club, 18th Green and ClubhouseThe 18th Green and ClubhouseWhat a way to wrap up a round more hours roaming Tom Fazio's master work, life is pretty great!

Thursday morning the light was beautiful, but the skies were still clear, so I concentrated on more intimate shots using a long lens to minimize the skies as a design element.  And I got some good photos.  Worst case scenario, I figured I'd shoot in the soft morning light and just replace the skies in the shots that had large swaths of plain blue.  Not my favorite thing to do, but sometimes it's necessary.  I left the course around 10, hopeful that the afternoon would bring the kind of interesting skies that help  make great photographs.  And that's exactly what happened.  The clouds began appearing around noon, and by the time I started my afternoon shoot at 4, I was in heaven.  It was a great afternoon of shooting, leaving me in very good humor.

I was back at the course at 5:30 Friday morning, hoping that enough clouds would remain from the day before to produce a good sunrise and once again, God smiled.  The dawn wasn't a blazing, shield-your-eyes kind of shooting opportunity, mostly because the mountains blocked the sun until it rose high enough for the rosy color to fade.  But the early morning colors were beautiful and I captured some wonderful images before the sun actually made its entrance.  Once Father Sun hit the ground, I launched into my usual hyper driven shooting frenzy, racing from hole to hole, trying to get as many good shots as possible.  As often happens, the skies went fairly gray right after the beautiful sunrise, so there are some pretty unusual images in that part of the collection.  But then the clouds parted enough to give me some more beautiful, partly cloudy shots before I had to hit the road. 

IN CONCLUSION

Wade Hampton is a property I could never finish shooting, and hopefully I'll have more chances to chase after the perfect light and the perfect image.  But for now, the 100 images I completed may well be the best collection I've ever done.  At least that's my story and I'm sticking to it!  Just click any of the images in this article and you can see some of my favorites.

Wade Hampton Golf Club, Cashiers, NC - Sunrise on the 9thSunrise at Wade HamptonLooking across the ninth green


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