Reference Photos and the Hole-In-One
....... by Bill Hudson
Other than quick studies, I paint far too slow and detailed to be considered a plein air painter. Rather, I take hundreds of on-site photographs for later reference while painting in my studio. I down-select a theme, assemble all relevant photos, and develop a composition sketch. Rarely do I paint using only one reference photograph.
I was eager and ready to take snapshots this past Labor Day weekend. My youngest son, Will, planned a once-in-a-lifetime, bucket-list event for golfers. All four sons (Brian, Joe, Luke, Will), I and eight of their friends left Orange County at 5 a.m. Sunday morning in three cars. We teed off that afternoon at Spyglass Hill Golf Course in Pebble Beach. Green fees = $415. The next morning at 8:30 a.m. we teed off at Pebble Beach. Green fees = $575. Imagine, in two days and one night we played two of the top 10 public golf courses in the America. Now, $1,000 sounds extravagant. BUT, these are unusual times and it is normally much more expensive. Because of COVID-19, Pebble Beach had waved its requirement to stay a couple nights in their cottages (Cost = approx. $1,000 per night minimum). Don’t get too encouraged. The cottage requirement was just reinstated.
Having played Pebble 20 years prior, I opted to only play Spyglass and follow the groups at Pebble Beach in a golf cart. My personal goal was to get reference photographs. How could I miss? Pebble Beach Golf Links is the most elegant, breath-taking piece of land I have ever set foot on. It is often referred to as “the greatest meeting of land and sea.” And the weather was perfect. After the first five holes, I began thinking of God and this incredible gift. How could heaven be better?
I arrived at the 7th tee with my sons Luke, Brian, Joe, and their close friend Kevin. This is the signature hole of Pebble Beach—a short, par 3, downhill, aimed boldly at the ocean into the wind which can influence club selection from a lob wedge to a three iron. The forecaddie, Josh, gave some quick instruction to Luke, the first to tee off. “Dude, it’s 106 yards, but today with no wind and downhill, it’s playing 85.” Luke chose a lob wedge.
Josh has caddied at Pebble for 14 years. It didn’t surprise me to learn that he is also an artist. He has video recorded every golfer’s tee-shot, more than 5,000, on this hole while he stands on the hill behind the 7th tee box. What you are about to watch, Josh had only seen once before. He calls this his greatest video. It was also the first hole-in-one for any of my sons.
Josh’s words immediately following the shot were, “I Quentin Tarantino’d that one.” He made the day for the foursome through bad shots, tough lies, and near-impossible-to-read putts. He gave yardage on every shot and direction for every putt while recording history for Luke and our family. You can find Josh’s artwork at Joshparrishcollection.com