When Channing Benjamin and I scout the golf landscape in search of the next location for the Golfography Experience, we only consider those golf courses that can provide an exceptional photography canvas for our lenses. For the 4th edition of the experience, we did not need to look any further than our own backyard. With 36 championship golf holes set against the San Jacinto mountains, Indian Wells Golf Resort in Palm Springs was the perfect course for the Golfography Experience. The Celebrity and the Players courses have hosted other high profile events like Golf Channel’s Big Break and the PGA Tour’s Skins Game. Indian Wells Golf Resort has also been ranked in the Top 25 “Best Municipal Courses in the United States” by Golfweek Magazine.
For those new to the Experience, it can be described as a beautiful fusion of photography, good times, and a furious assault on the golf senses. The Golfography Experience provides participants an opportunity to play a ton of golf, network with other like mind individuals and expand their horizons when it comes to creating content on the golf course.
The Golfography Experience is an unparalleled hands-on experiential event – all in the name of inclusivity and the growth of the game.
As the Golfography gains traction with it’s 4th appearance on American soil, we saw several new faces and plenty of returning guests. Friends like Alejandra Schnider and Trey Profili returned after life changing experiences at Ballyhack’s Golfography. Superstars Matt Ginella and Could Be The Day led the charge with a fresh infusion of story telling and photography instruction.
After the sun went down and we dumped our images onto our hard drives, it was time to enjoy the benefits of life at Indian Wells Golf Resort. We headed to the critically acclaimed Vue restaurant where the experience went to another level with a Whiskey tasting event and a top 5 dining scenario. Even as a non imbiber, I enjoyed learning about the process and detail that it takes to deliver some of the world’s finest whiskeys.
It was bright and early when the Golfography crew headed out to capture the early morning sunrise over Indian Wells. The golf course would not let us down with a sunrise that raised excitement levels and tickled the senses. Once that first light hits the grass, you don’t have much time to capture the morning’s best photographs. With each passing moment, the photography potential is reduced by a fraction and it’s a scramble against time to make your photographs count.
Perhaps my favorite aspect of the Golfography Experience is enjoying all of the diverse imagery that everyone involved is able to create. We were all at the same golf course at the same time, but the angles and viewpoints show just how differently everyone’s individual experience is. Here are some of my favorites from Instagram.
After the sun had risen and the photographs began to lose their luster, it was time to play some golf. We paired up and headed out to enjoy nine holes of golf on the Players course before lunch. While the Celebrity course provides the most exceptional views, the Players course provides more of a challenge to the seasoned golfer. Our crew gladly accepted that challenge.
After the morning round of golf it was time to head into the clubhouse for story time and a first class lunch. First up on the podium was the Co-Founder of the newly created Fire Pit Collective, Mr Matt Ginella. With a long history in the world of golf, Matt has experiences at Sports Illustrated, Golf Digest, and Golf Channel to draw from. Needless to say, the crowd hung onto Ginella’s every word.
The crowd favorite was easily Matt’s “Tiger with the tiger” story. An attempted recreation of this exceptional story would be foolish here, so you’ll just have to join the next Experience to get the original version from the man himself.
While Matt Ginella is certainly a tough act to follow, we were confident that Seth Epstein was the man for the job. As the Founder of Los York, Seth is an Emmy award winning director and has led campaigns for some of the biggest brands in the world including Nike, Apple, Audi, and Motorola. What attracted The Golfography to Seth was his unique use of light and focus that allows him to deliver a world class product to his clients. Personally, I learned quite a bit from Seth’s brief talk, and I can assure you that everyone in that entire room took something away from the experience.
With our stomachs full and our creative minds filled with inspiration, we set out for some afternoon golf. That afternoon golf would quickly turn into a massacre as Kevin and I were 3 down in our grueling back nine push up match before we even had time to pull out our cameras. Our team fought back diligently, but it was futile. We were simply outmatched and outgunned. We popped off our 50 pushups with pride as we prepared for the upcoming 12 man skins game.
In a game that is filled with rules, one of the most enjoyable things that a golfer can do is to play outside of those rules. No, I am not talking about cheating at golf, I am talking about playing in a 12-some.
With the day’s groups long gone, we found the perfect stretch of golf course to blast our Led Zeppelin, tell bad jokes, and fire at flagsticks. Seriously, if you haven’t played in a 12-some skins game, have you really even lived life at all?
Yes, the Golfography is about world class photography, but most importantly it’s about having a world class experience. It’s often these types of situations that are the most memorable for everyone involved.
It is also a well known fact that the only thing capable of breaking up an all out 12 man skins contest is a sunset like this one over the 4th green on the Celebrity course.
Even though the sun had set, we were not finished with taking golf course photographs. Led by Kyle and AJ of Could Be The Day, we headed out onto the 10th hole to learn the fundamentals of long exposure photography. After those fundamentals were learned, we set our sights on the advanced maneuver of spelling. After several failed attempts, we finally got our P’s and G’s together and snapped the shot that we were looking for. Please enjoy the fruits of our labor below.
For the final day of the Golfography Experience, we always like to jump into some serious golf competition and give away some great prizes to those who demonstrate their golf course prowess. Seth and Kevin “Got religious out there” and delivered a one shot victory in a two man team net best ball format. Those 59’s are hard to beat.
The gift certificates to Worldwide Golf Shops, the Taylor Made putters, SIM 3 woods and Drivers, all flowed freely to the day’s winners. The fine folks over at Oahu Golf Apparel and Travis Mathew made sure that everyone was dressed to the 9’s and looking flawless.
Before we all began to head our separate ways, we took a moment to sign the commemorative poster that would not only celebrate our glorious 3 days of golf, but it would be handed over to Indian Wells for display. That display will undoubtedly generate jealousy in the hearts of golfers for decades to come.
If you are interested in avoiding such jealous feelings, Channing and I would like to cordially invited to join us on our next Golfography adventure at Arbor Links in Nebraska on July 23-25th. Just click the button below if you are interested in being a part of the quintessential golf and photography experience of your lifetime.