Photographing San Angelo Country Club

Who says that I only photograph birds?  Actually, before I got into birding and photographing birds, I leaned toward landscapes, flowers, etc.  But one thing that I always loved was the game of golf.  San Angelo has one of the most beautiful courses in the area, and that is the San Angelo Country Club.

I was privy to be able to play it a couple of times as a guest of a few friends.  I did pretty well.  I got around the course without falling into the water hazards.  My favorite shot was the explosion shot off of the first tee, and I always tried to keep my putts low.

I really admired the gorgeous landscaping on some of the holes, so I approached Jason Hase, the pro, and got permission to use one of their golf carts and go around and photograph some of them.

Although the entire eighteen holes are things of beauty, six of them really stood out, as they each had some feature that made them more photogenic.

For your enjoyment here those images:

Hole Number 1.  This hole has a pond just short right of the green, in the trees.  It shouldn’t come into play unless you have a bad slice.  I captured this scene from behind the pond, looking towards the green and flag.

Hole number one - San Angelo Country Club

Hole number one – San Angelo Country Club

Hole number 3. This photo was taken from the right side of the green.  I loved the tree in the foreground and the background view of a pond on an adjacent hole.  The play on this hole comes from the left as you look at the image.

Hole number three - San Angelo Country Club

Hole number three – San Angelo Country Club

Hole number 4.  For this photo, I was standing behind the green.  A nice view of the pond fronting the green.

Hole number four - San Angelo Country Club

Hole number four – San Angelo Country Club

Hole number 6.  This a pretty little par three hole with a pond with a fountain in front.  Be sure to use enough club.  I photographed this one from behind the tee, trying to put the flowers and shrubs into the foreground.

Hole number six - San Angelo Country Club

Hole number six – San Angelo Country Club

Hole number 10.  Another three-shot hole to begin the back nine.  Again you need all carry to reach the green.  I photographed it standing on the tee.  The blue that you see in the trees way right of the green is the Concho River.

Hole number ten - San Angelo Country Club

Hole number ten – San Angelo Country Club

Hole number 15.  I love this pretty little par three.  It has this gorgeous pond to the left front of the teeing area.  It doesn’t come into play, of course, but adds to the beauty of the hole.

Hole number fifteen - San Angelo Country Club

Hole number fifteen – San Angelo Country Club

Yesterday, Jason contacted me and we arranged for the club to purchase the rights to these image for their new website.  I hope to someday to get back there and perhaps photograph the remaining holes.

I hope you enjoyed these photographs.  Click on any of them to see beautiful enlargements.

Birdies, Eagles, Albatrosses

I had you going there for a minute, didn’t I.  I bet you thought I was going to tell you about another birding hotspot.  Today, this post is about the other golfing avians, birdies, eagles, albatrosses. 🙂

Lately, with the temperatures turning so nice for a bit, I sometimes remember my days of enjoying a round of golf.  Golf is a sport that you can get out, enjoy the outdoors, and forget all of your problems.  I haven’t played a round in about five years.  I was a pretty decent player.  I was pretty short off of the tee, though.  When everybody was smoking their tee shots a hundred yards pass me, I was just steady down the middle.  I was given a nickname, “three pecks and a putt”.  I hit a lot of “walkers”.  Walkers are shots that aren’t hit far enough to get back into the cart and ride to.  I never hit into the rough, either.  I couldn’t hit the ball that far. 🙂

But what I enjoyed most about the golf courses was the beauty of them.  And that is what inspired me to photograph some of the course around here.  San Angelo Country Club is one of the prettier ones, and I have sold many of my images of a few golf holes, in the pro shop.  Here are a few samples.

San Angelo Country Club - Hole no. 1

San Angelo Country Club - Hole no. 6

San Angelo Country Club - Hole no. 10

But I am not convinced that I want to play again.  I feel the real birds calling me so I will probably find myself outside this afternoon searching for another elusive lifer.

So enjoy the photos, click on any of them for an enlargement, and I’ll maybe have some more birding photos for you next time.

Photographing San Angelo Country Club

Since this is the week of the playing of the U. S. Open at Congressional Country Club, I thought it would be an ideal time to show you some of my other work.  I know, my forte is probably birds and wildlife, but I really love the beauty of golf courses.  One of my favorites, that I feel is one of the most photogenic in west Texas, is the local San Angelo Country Club.  It is full of character, trees, water, hilly terrain, and a downright difficult 18 holes, at least for me.

Back in 2005 the golf pro invited me to photograph a few holes, to frame and put for sale in the pro shop.  The following are four of those, and they just happen to be some of my the best sellers.  I photographed them, using an original Canon EOS digital Rebel and a Tamron 28-300 zoom lens.  I was new to the digital age back Iwanted to get my feet wet.   Checking the EXIF data, I believe that I mostly set the camera on automatic, because I lacked self-confidence to try to get “fancy”.  I do remember that I shot at ISO 100 for maximum sharpness.

After finishing the shoot, I placed several framed and matted full-frame 12x18s for sale in the shop.  I sold several during the follow months.  If any San Angelo Country Club member is reading this, I still have framed prints left for sale.  Just contact me.  Descriptions are below each image.

Hole Number One.  Probably my favorite of them all.  A lengthy opening hole, downhill with a slight left dogleg.  The second shot must carry a creek that crosses the fairway, then winds up along the right sideof the green.  I took this photograph from across the creek, looking up towards the flag.  It was early morning and I liked the light that was coming from the left.

Hole Number Three.  Another par four.  This photograph is looking across the green toward another adjacent hole.  The fairway comes in from the left of the picture, but I liked this old Mesquite tree in the foreground.

Hole Number Six.  This a beautiful par three.  It doesn’t play as long as it looks.  I think the water is intimidating.  Somehow I always picked too much club and ended up air-mailing the green.  With the menacing pond in front, that is not a bad mistake.

Hole Number 10.  Another nice little par three to begin the last nine.  From another elevated tee that carries a little creek.

Well, so much for my golf photography.  I haven’t played in nearly four years, but looking again at these pictures, I am getting a hankering to do so again.  FORE!!!!!  🙂

Also, to vote for one of my photographs in National Wildlife Magazine’s annual contest, click here  People’s Choice .

Back to the links – new kind of birding

So I think I might just try to get back into golfing.  Or at least, try one more time and see if I can get it right.  It is a kind of birding, because I am always on the hunt for birdies, eagles, and the rare albatross.  In my lifetime of golfing I have had lots of birdies, but only three eagles, and witnessed one albatross.  Okay, I know that seeing one doesn’t count. 

It has been about three years since I have even thought about swinging a golf club.  Actually, I’m not even sure if I can swing one.  I’ve only been out of that back brace for a few weeks.  But if I can survive the practice at the driving range without falling down, I might be able to do it.  Really, I think the hardest part of my game is getting the clubs out of the car.  But of course, there is always that most difficult  shot in golf, the explosion shot off the first tee. 🙂

The reason for this sudden idea to do this is that Ranger Laurie, at San Angelo State Park, wants me to join her for nine holes at our little walking course here in downtown San Angelo.  But to prepare for this great event will entail me getting into shape again.  Ranger Laurie is a smallish built little lady, and I suspect that she will be trying to smoke that little white ball past me.  But, to my favor, it isn’t how you drive, but how you arrive.  And I can putt. My friends didn’t call me “three pecks and a putt” for nothing. 🙂

Back in my younger days, I shot a pretty good stick.  I wasn’t very long off the tee, though.  I hit a lot of “walkers”.  Those are shots that I didn’t need to get in the cart to ride to the next shot.  But I was really straight.  I didn’t miss many fairways.  Of course, it hard to get into the rough when my drive goes only 150 yards when I get it on the screws. 

But on the other hand, I could offer a different perspective on it.  Center field at Yankee Stadium is only 408  feet, so I would be hitting it over the fence there consistently.   Ergo 150 yards equals 450 feet.  Darn, if I don’t feel better already. 🙂

I learned to play on this little nine-hole course, Santa Fe Golf Course, in San Angelo back in 1962.  The same course where this match is going to take place.  Of course, it has changed quite a bit since then.  It has grass on it now.  A pleasant walking exprience.  As Walter Hagen once said, “….smell the flowers along the way”.  Back then I used to get impatient with all the old guys holding everything up.  Well, what goes around, comes around.  I now am one of those old guys. 🙂

In later years, another golf was built north of town, Riverside Golf Course, and it became my home away from home.  I broke 80 three time there: had two 79s and one 76 on that par 72 layout.  I actually once had a 73 at Santa Fe, but the par there is only 68.

Then a few years ago, Quicksand Golf Course was built east of town.  Now that is a killer course.  Immaculate shape, it is what I call a poor man’s country club.  Difficult to say the least.  About 111 sand traps, several of them 16 feet deep.  The signature hole is number 7.  (see picture below)  A hellish double-dogleg par 5 that plays 621 yards, uphill and into the prevailing wind.  I parred only once in all my years of playing it.  I had a 35 mph tailwind that day.  It has 21 sand traps on it to terrorize it a tad more.  The photo, by the way, was taken many years ago on film.

Hole No. 7 - Quicksand Golf Course

I have great memories from playing all those courses.  I got my first eagle on the short par 4 first hole at Santa Fe course.  I got lucky and holed out my 2nd shot.  At Riverside one time I had a little motorized pull cart.  I accidently set it for the wrong speed and I almost sent it into the Concho River.  A golfer on an adjacent hole saw it coming, and stopped it for me.

Another great memory was one day I was playing in a little scramble tournament at Riverside.  On this long Par 5 our “A” player creamed the tee shot halfway to the green.  For the second shot, the other guys hit long irons but missed the green.  I, the “D” player stepped up with my little three-wood.  I swung, didn’t hit it great, but it bounded along the ground, rolled through a dry creek bed, off some rocks the onto the green.  I then rolled in the 45 foot right to left breaking putt for the eagle.  And the crowd went wild!! 🙂

So I better stop thinking about the past, and start planning on how I will take on Ranger Laurie. 🙂