The Kyle Philips-designed course at Dundonald in Ayrshire, Scotland opened in 2003 and is now recognised as a must-play links courses. It has hosted a number of professional and amateur tournaments, notably pre-qualifying for the European Tour and the Senior British Open Championship, and most recently Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open.
In line with Kyle Philips’ design directive, professional golf photographer Mark Alexander reveals his approach to capturing the natural beauty of Dundonald links.
Kyle Philips’ ambition when designing Dundonald was to create a championship links that felt as though it was an old, established course. Having covered every square inch of the layout, do you believe he achieved his goal?
Yes, absolutely. The first thing you appreciate is that the links have been worked so well into the landscape. Before it was very flat and nothing to write home about; but, what they’ve created is a very special landscape that genuinely has the look and feel of an established links. It’s a beautiful, playable course. Everything is laid out in front of you so when you stand on the tee you can envisage how the course will play, which really heightens the excitement.
Kyle Philips also designed Dundonald with the philosophy that a golf course’s character and personality should be derived from the site. How do you capture that in a photo?
I like to shoot from the golfer’s perspective so when they look at the image they can feel the club in their hands. To do this, I look at the playability of the course and of the hole in terms of where I’d like my ball to land on the green or where I’d like it to land it on the fairway. But equally, I like to capture the broader view, which encompasses the dangers involved in terms of the bunkering, the dunes or the rough which adds colour and define the hole. So, I try to incorporate both the fairway and the greenscapes as well as the rough and dunescapes. The two blend so well at Dundonald, it’s really quite spectacular.
Next up, Mark discusses the marketing potential and business application of golf photography for the sports and tourism industry.