4. Fairway Golf Charity 2013

The Fairway Golf Charity is a non profit organisation which raises money with a yearly golf tournament in Gams.
It supports various different social projects. In 2013 for example these were  “Freude herrscht” , “Autismushilfe Ostschweiz” and “Stiftung Sternschnuppe“.

Because I was not familiar with golf photography I summarized a few tips which could be helpful:

  • Avoid any noise. This even means to select the AI Servo mode for focusing to avoid the bleeps of the camera.
  • Freeze the action. Best is to use Tv mode and a fast shutter speed of a minimum 1/500 (also 1/2000 or 1/2500 are common). Shoot in continuous mode.
  • Take at least one wide angle and a supertelelens with you. I go with the EF 300mm,  EF 70-200mm f/2.8mm and the EF 16-35 f/2.8L.
  • Take a monopod with you. Not only to stabilize but also because its tiring to hold these heavy lenses the whole day
  • Try to shoot in the golden hours. That means early and late when the sun is low.
  • Try to find shots with a clean background
  • For close-ups use a shallow depth of field (f/2.8)
  • Take pictures that show emotions of the players

Well, that was the theory. The day of the tournament was very long (8am to 11pm). We started at about 8 am with a short briefing and discussed which part of the course each of us has to cover. We were a group of four photographers and concerning the size of a 18 hole golf course I would say that four is a good number to cover everything without the need to hurry constantly from one spot to the next.

After the players arrived and  a warm up at the driving range we made a group picture of the 105 participants and at 11 am the tournament started. Each flight in the tournament was between 4 and 5 people (a flight is a term for a group of golfers within a tournament with roughly the same skill level). With 21 flights we were prepared for a 5 to 6 hour tournament.

The tips were helpful, especially the AI Servo mode was very important. Not only because of the noise but more because of the need to constantly refocus during the movement of the player (for example during the tee-off). If the sky is cloudy it’s best to use higher ISO values to make sure the shutter speeds are high enough. “Freezing” the action was also a good hint to keep in mind.

For the next tournament I consider to take a flash with me (for group pictures) and maybe a second body to switch quickly between two lenses. But that also means a heavier backpack to carry the whole day 🙂