Our Mo’ Golf is an unabashed aficionado of golf course photography. He’s not all that great, mind you, but he knows a few decent amateur photographers, like Joe Bausch and Jon Cavalier. The fellow we all want to be when we grow up is Laurence Lambrecht. Based in Rhode Island, Lambrecht is what Rhonda Rousey was, the undisputed champion of golf course photography. There are some regional sorts, but if you’ve purchased a calendar or a book of golf photos, or seen a great shot in the halls of some clubhouse, chances are it’s one of his. Here’s a bit of insight from behind the lens of Laurence Lambrecht.
1. Tell us about yourself and how you came to play golf.
My career in golf began at the Maidstone Club as a caddie in my teens, the competition for loops was keen and knowledge of golf was important. I did not have a family background in golf however, I played baseball and my family was not a member at a club. The challenge of understanding the game, the rules and the strategy was of interest to me and I flourished at it.
I did not take up golf until I was in my 20’s sadly, but it was an easy transition from the baseball hand/eye reflex with a bit of expert coaching….
2. At some point, you became a golf course photographer, and then a successful, world-renowned one. Tell us of your photography background and how it led to golf course photography.
I was the school photographer in high school and was the photo editor at the University of Denver school paper, studied Mass Communications with a minor in photography. I had some accomplished professors in the photo business who were very helpful in my education. Not until my 30’s was I able to get a position that led me back to photography, a position with a trading card company who produced Score and Pinnacle brands brought me back into the photo world. I was the director of photography as well as a weekend shooter of NFL and MLB games for the company, was there for 9 years until the company was sold.
Through contacts at Golf Digest, I pursued some work with the editors there and landed several travel and tournament assignments….eventually covering the tour on a regular basis for Golfworld and Golfweek. Gradually I started gravitating toward the landscape aspect of the golf business to where I am today.
3. What do you see first, the art or the artistry/strategy of a golf course?
I saw first the artistry of the golf course, Ireland was my first project in that regard.
Royal County Down Links in Newcastle, Norhtern Ireland
4. Borrowing from the previous question, what do you think the average golfer sees and doesn’t see, on a golf course?
I would not sell the ‘average golfer’ short in this regard, they might not understand the reasons they like a particular venue, but the visuals of a golf course can overcome many of the flaws in a design. Golf is a visual adventure to most of the field and the experience they derive from the landscape is more important than the critical design evaluation.
5. I’ve looked at your website and I don’t see a lot of gray, overcast skies. How good of a weatherman do you have to be to hit near 100% on glorious blue skies?
The first thing you have to understand about the golf landscape is that the sun has to hit the grass, the stormy clouds and the dramatic skies make for great pictures but the sun has to hit the ground. My background as a fishing guide also gave me the experience with weather observation and it has come in very handy with calculating my timing with respect to the forecasts.
6. Have you ever arrived at a golf course and asked yourself, how am I going to capture this course? Not that it’s a goat track, but that its nuances and qualities don’t reveal themselves immediately. If so, what did/would you do?
Yes there are challenging venues in my field, the especially if the goal is to photograph all 18 holes! Not many courses give you great pictures of more than 9 holes…..shadows, clouds, angles all have a part in creating an interesting portrait of a golf hole. Scouting the course and noting specific times of day for each hole to be photographed is a way I have done the best with the tougher layouts.
Terravista Golf Course In Brasil
7. You’ve traveled the globe and preserved the world’s most photogenic courses. Is there any place you’ve not yet visited, that you would like to see? Failing that, what part of the world has given you the greatest pleasure behind the lens?
Probably the Far East, Vietnam and Thailand, I have done a bit of work in Japan and China but not enough to say I have experienced the golf there. Also I want to explore the links courses of Western Europe (France, Netherlands, Sweden, Germany).
My greatest thrill is working in Ireland, although the courses in the Melbourne area have great appeal as well.
8. What’s the current state of your game? Do you play for fun, do you compete, somewhere in between?
I have never competed professionally, I sometimes play in competitive club events. I’m a 7 handicap and I enjoy playing for fun. I balance my leisure time with fishing and golf.
9. What question haven’t we asked that you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it, please. And thank you for your time and patience with this interview.
What is the most gratifying part of your job? The most gratifying part of my job is to experience the amazing venues around the world that golfers have preserved for this game. From the Links in Ireland to the Sand Hills of Nebrasks to the cliffs along the Oregon coast and across oceans, the landscapes that have been saved though golf are spectacular. It is a nice compliment to the state of the game and its future.