Just a day or two ago I came to one of those times in life when I had to make a major decision. No, it wasn’t a family issue or a work-related crossroads. It wasn’t even one of those days when you decide it’s time to get healthy or lose weight or…whatever.
No, the major decision I had to make was this: It’s time to order new checks. What design or picture do I want on them? (We use checks less and less in this electronic age, I know. But that’s another subject altogether.)
As I was browsing through the options from one check-printing company, I came across a wonderful scene from a well-known golf location. This particular check-background photo was one of four sports themes available. While I haven’t decided on just which design to use, stumbling across the golf image started me thinking about some of the great photos and paintings I have seen over the years. Some that have captured my attention were portraits. Other fine paintings were city or street scenes. But a handful of the most memorable images I have in mind were golf scenes, either paintings by remarkably talented artists or photos by masters of light and shadow.
For example, a group of us played in a charity tournament a few weeks ago and, as I passed through the dining area of the clubhouse I was stopped in my tracks by a painting on the paneled wall. I shouldn’t have been surprised to see a Leroy Neiman “Golf Champions” there, but seeing even a print from someone so well known is a pleasant interlude.
One great place to indulge in a great photo or print with a golf theme is the aptly named www.art.com. An initial visit will bring the viewer face to face with some wonderful black-and-white photos of great moments in sports. A quick search for golf-related items brings hundreds of choices, including a wonderful black-and-white print of a pair of golfing buddies that will delight almost anyone. I particularly enjoy the atmosphere created by the Henry Gawthorn Giclee print of St. Andrews in about 1920.
Those who love the great game will understand the wild beauty and the challenge presented in “7th Heaven” by Jim Harrington, as they will ache for a chance to walk the fairways at St. Andrews when they see the marvelous Bill Vanderdasson print of the old course bridge and clubhouse.
When searching through some of the great prints and photos of any theme, the viewer is quite likely to stumble across an image that is familiar for one reason or another. I found the black-and-white “Golf Club and Golf Ball” by John Wong and realized that I had used the image as a desktop/wallpaper on my work computer just a few months earlier. Another that is close to my heart is “Gulf Coast, Illinois Central” by Proehl that was created using the same Giclee process as the Gawthorn work mentioned earlier. Growing up in Southern Illinois was an experienced enhanced by the nearby Illinois Central railroad tracks.
Golfers generally have a sense of humor, though there are notable exceptions. In fact, maintaining that trait is key to surviving the vagaries of the old game. Stephanie Marriott presents this idea with her uncluttered but effective “I Golf therefore I Swear” print. It’s not the most expensive piece in the Art.com catalog, but it may well be one of the more truthful items.
Winding up my too-brief visit to the world of golf art, I came across a print named “Golf Course, Palm Springs, California.” The vivid colors, the golf-cart design and the clothing obviously date the image. But for some reason, the viewer is prompted to say, “Ahh, that’s how it used to be.” As one wise man said, golf takes us to the most beautiful places in the world. Great golf art can put us in another world, if only for a moment.