Monday, February 6, 2017

Getting to Know: Patrick Koenig, Golf Course Photographer

American Golfer: When did you start playing golf?
Patrick Koenig: I started playing golf when I was 12. I would mow my neighbors lawns until I had saved up $90 for a junior membership at Arlington Park Golf Club. I remember, I would just play all day. I would hold single-day 72-hole golf tournaments where I would compete against make believe golfers.

AG: How did you become a golf course photographer?
PK: I have always enjoyed taking photos of golf courses, and to me, just being out on the golf course is almost as much fun as playing. It is my desire to preserve those moments that started me on my journey. I didn't really start getting recognized for it until about 5 years ago. When the Instagram thing took off.

AG: What makes a certain style of course more (or less) enjoyable for you to shoot?
PK: I always look for great colors and contrasts. I love it when that fescue turns golden brown against a blue sky and the shadows get longer during the golden hours. Most photographers will agree that the lighting is usually the most important variable for a great photo. That is especially true when it comes to golf photography.
I always try to find what features or aspects of a golf course are unique about a course and find a way to highlight that.

AG: Are there features that are hard to capture or that don't translate well to the viewer?
PK: Elevation changes or creative mounding can sometimes be a challenge. I think that's why most people are shocked when they visit Augusta. Some things just don't translate well and elevation is one of those. Architecturally significant trees can be a challenge sometimes as they create a certain feeling on a golf hole. This can be hard to share with a photograph.

AG: What is your artistic process?
PK: Most of the time I don't have time to shoot a golf course and play it separately. So often, I mix playing and taking photographs. I also like to go out after a round of golf and visit some of those key photo spots during ideal lighting times where I have the time to give the shot the attention it deserves.

AG: Of all the holes you’ve shot, do you have a favorite (why)?
PK: People often ask me this, but I can't pin it down. There are too many great golf holes and too many different moments to just pick one. A couple of my favorite courses when it comes to photography have been Whistling Straits, Gozzer Ranch, Pebble Beach and Chambers Bay. I am always looking for my next great shot.

AG: What’s your “dream foursome” (living or dead, golfer or non-golfer)?
PK: Tiger Woods: Growing up, Tiger was the most influential golfing figure of my time. The Big Cat is an easy one to put on this list.
Jesus: I am not a particularly religious type of guy, but I would imagine after a round of golf with Jesus, you'd probably come away with a couple of pretty good golf/life tips.
Alister Mackenzie: He'd probably be able to get us a tee time at Cypress. Plus, I would love to see Mackenzie's reaction to the modern day versions of his courses. You'd get absolutely amazing insight into the world's most significant golf courses.
I feel like you need a President to round out this foursome, so let's throw in Abe Lincoln. We could trust honest Abe to keep score.

AG: Is there a “bucket list” location in/on which to shoot?
PK: Take me out to Pine Valley or Cypress Point. I am also accepting gigs at Augusta.

AG: What is the future of golf course photography?
PK: There is a trend towards aerial photography and video, I expect you will see more of that as consumers demand a more immersive experience.

AG: If not golf, what would you be shooting?
PK: I enjoy some good nature landscape photography. A good nature shot is very similar to a great golf course photo.

Check out Patrick's work and blog at

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