I am fired up to introduce my fourth guest on A Casual 9 – avid golfer, golf photographer, and writer Patrick Koenig. With Patrick’s stunning photography of the world’s best golf courses assaulting my Instagram timeline, and his strong wit on Twitter, he has quickly become one of my favorite follows on social media.
Patrick carries a sporty 3-handicap and has taken his game (and camera gear) to enough courses to make most of us envious, including Cypress Point, Augusta National, and Merion Golf Club, just to name a few. His work has been featured by the likes of Golf Digest, and now he’s taking his career to the next level by being featured here on Golf is Mental. Please enjoy.
1. Tell us a bit more about who Patrick is and how you got into golf and golf photography.
PK: I grew up in Indiana and my golf journey began as a youngster when I would scour the creeks of The Arlington Park Golf Club looking for golf balls. I would sell those golf balls at our local garage sale making around $500 a year. I took $90 of those earnings to purchase an annual membership to the club and I would play that par 3 course about 5 times a day. Sometimes I would play two balls and host 72 hole tournaments against myself. I think I spent the rest of the cash on Laffy Taffy and baseball cards.
Photography and specifically golf photography came much later. I felt like some of the photos that I had taken for fun, were just as good as those in the magazines I would read. Instagram and Golf Digest really helped me get my photos out there.
2. What kind of camera setup do you take with you on the golf course when you need your photography A-game?
PK: My camera is a Nikon D7200 and for a shoot, I usually bring a couple of lenses and a ladder to get some unique angles. But most of the time I just shoot as I play. Although not advised, standing on top of a golf cart can yield some unique perspectives. I have recently involved myself with a drone purchase, so stay tuned for some new stuff.
3. You’ve played and photographed an impressive list of courses. What have some of your most memorable experiences been so far?
PK: Playing next to President Obama at Olympia Fields was pretty cool. They scanned my bag and checked my camera pretty thoroughly each time the POTUS would draw near, but I was allowed to snap a couple of quick photos as we passed by. The Secret Service was not amused by my “Did the President birdie that one, because I just did!” inquiry.
Cabot Cliffs in Nova Scotia with Golf Digest’s Ashley Mayo and the “2 Jeffs” was also amazing. The wind nearly blew us over 3-4 times but we didn’t mind one bit. Merion is also a special place. So much so, that I recall actually enjoying my 3-putt on the 17th green. Enjoying a 3-putt probably won’t happen again soon, unless it’s to win the US Open.
4. What sort of things do you think make a golf course fun to play, and does that correlate with the things that make a golf course fun to photograph?
PK: Here is a quick run down of the things I enjoy as a player. These translate to varying degrees of photographic enjoyment.
- Short par 4’s. Always a great opportunity for a player to make some decisions and potentially card a low or high number.
- Variety – Who says we have to stay with the typical formula of 10 par 4’s, 4 par 5’s, and 4 par 3’s. Give us long holes, short holes, right, left, up, and down. More variety on a golf course is usually more enjoyable. A unique hole is also much more fun to photograph.
- Fast greens. Green speed usually enhances the challenges around the green and can lead to some really fun and interesting recovery chips and pitches.
- Unique setting. Maybe it’s a round of seaside links, a journey through dunes, or a trek through tall pines, a round of golf can be greatly enhanced by the beauty of your surroundings. I’d also rather take pictures of a golf course with mountains in the background versus a condo.
5. What are your thoughts on golf course rankings produced by major publications, and would the top courses you’ve played so far be ranked in the same order or have some surprised you?
PK: This is one of the things that I love about playing all of these different courses. You can pretty much argue and discuss things until you are blue in the face. But what you see in those rankings is usually a pretty good indicator of a course’s merit. Some should probably be higher and some lower, but let’s be honest, all these places are great, it’s just a matter of how great.
6. Nowadays with Instagram filters and decent camera phones, everyone and their dog thinks they’re a photographer. Do you view this as a positive or a negative as an actual photographer?
PK: If you are a professional photographer and the black labrador down the street is taking better photos than you on his iPhone, it may be time to rethink your choices. The real talent always rises to the top and the more I get into photography, the more I admire what the best are able to accomplish. Folks like Dom Furore, Evan Schiller, and Brian Oar take some amazing photos. If nothing else, the influx of “photographers” has only helped to set the professionals apart.
7. You’ve amassed an impressive following on social media thus far. Last time I checked you were in excess of 50k followers on Instagram and 11k on Twitter. What are your biggest social media pet peeves?
- Motivational quotes – Take it easy Tony Robbins
- Slow motion golf swings – Unless you are falling into a lake or Paige Spiranac, I am not watching the whole thing.
- Excessive pictures of your kids or food – Chances are, I don’t care about either.
- Jabronis – I have a zero tolerance policy with jabronis.
To combat these crimes, I always try to add value and deliver original content with my posts.
8. You had a zinger of a tweet about Ian Poulter after he lost his Tour card, which I’m going to segue into a shameless Tiger plug. Who has a better chance of winning on the PGA Tour in the next 10 years – Tiger Woods or Ian Poulter? Please show your work.
On the bright side of things for Ian Poulter: He is no longer considered one of the most overrated players on the PGA Tour.
— Patrick Koenig (@PatrickjKoenig) 22 April 2017
Update: Poulter resumes his status as most overrated player on the PGA Tour. https://t.co/dRNgOuCZ7n
— Patrick Koenig (@PatrickjKoenig) 30 April 2017
Recently regained his tour card because of bad math: 3 points
Makes cuts… sometimes: 1 point
Gets trolled often on Twitter: -1 point.
2 PGA Tour wins: 0 points
Total points: 3
Unclear if he will ever play golf again: -2 points
Can will the golf ball into the hole with his mind: 4 points
79 PGA Tour wins: 2 points
Total points: 4
As you can see, the math says it’s a close one. However, I’d take the small chance that Tiger returns healthy and wins again over a Poulter victory… all day long.
9. If you could give just one tip to the average point-n-shoot photographer to spice up the quality of their photos and dazzle their friends on Instagram, what would it be?
PK: Add more high kicks into your golf photos (full tutorial here) and ease off the contrast.
A huge thanks to Patrick for taking a short break from playing the best courses around and blocking jabronis on social media to entertain us on A Casual 9.
For more stunning photos and stories from Patrick, check out his website. You’d also be doing yourself a huge disservice by not following him on social media:
Think you have what it takes to be featured on A Casual 9? Drop us a line!
Previous Episodes of A Casual 9:
Episode 1: Roger Kingkade – the Calgary legend dishes on his recent exit from radio, his golf game, and how his new golf app business is helping both golf courses and golfers.
Episode 2: Lisa “Longball” Vlooswyk – the 7-time Canadian Women’s Long Drive Champion talks about her amazing story, competition, getting more women to play golf and, of course, how to hit it longer.
Episode 3: Leah Bathgate – the Founder and President of the Alberta Golf Tour talks about the future of the Tour, the benefits of competition, men and women competing in the same flights, and more.