WHAT'S YOUR REACTION?

THE HORNSTEIN STORY

Bill Hornstein has been honored by The European Photography Awards, Communication Arts, Graphis, The Spyder Awards, The London Photography Awards and American Photography. And appeared in Golf Digest, The Golfer’s Journal, USGA’s The Golf Journal, Caddie Magazine and Sports Illustrated.

My passion for golf started when my friends and I founded the Brewmaster Golf Tournament as a way to keep in touch as we got older. The prize? A green thrift store jacket I had embroidered with the words “Brewmaster Champion.” 30 years later — fluctuating around a 10-12 handicap — I’ve taken home the coveted green jacket more times than any of my friends.

Bill Hornstein

Bill Hornstein

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You wake up in the morning — what’s the driving passion each day?

I am always excited for the next project. For me, there is nothing like going to a new club wide-eyed, excited and full of energy. Everything is fresh and new and it gets me going when I think of all the possibilities. 

How can I best show this club, this course, this particular hole to make people say “Wow, I want to play there.”

Top of the Rock Golf Course

Top of the Rock Golf Course, a Jack Nicklaus Signature Course, is the first-ever par-3 course to be included in a professional championship, featuring nature and golf at its finest. Perched high above Table Rock Lake, the peaceful waterfalls, wandering creeks, bass-filled ponds and pristine lakes of Top of the Rock complete a true celebration of nature, the Ozarks and the game of golf.

You worked for a number of years as the lead person at a major creative agency in the Los Angeles area. What was that like and what skillsets were engaged on a daily basis?

I spent nearly 20 years working at TBWA\Chiat\Day in Los Angeles and New York working as a Creative, Art Director on accounts like Pepsi, Visa, Apple, Nissan, Infiniti, Michelin and Adidas to name a few. It was a great experience and gave me the opportunity to create award winning advertising for our clients and travel the world to our various offices. 

In addition to coming up with ideas and creating the look, tone and feel for these advertising campaigns, one of my main duties was to hire and supervise professional photographers to execute those ideas. 

I learned a lot from some of the best commercial and fine art photographers in the world and lean back on those experiences in my own photography today.

Payne's Valley golf course

Paying tribute to Ozarks-native and World Golf Hall of Fame member, Payne Stewart, Payne’s Valley is first public-access golf course designed by 82-time PGA TOUR winner Tiger Woods and Woods-led golf course design firm, TGR Design. Payne’s Valley stands out with its inviting layout, pristine water features, large fairways and greens, and spectacular 19th hole… the Big Rock at Payne’s Valley™

What prompted you to get involved with golf photography?

Photography was a passion of mine early on. I remember getting a camera when I was ten years old and was just fascinated. I’ve been actively shooting ever since. 

Once golf became another passion, I just knew there would be a time when the two would come together and finally in 2017 I said to myself, “if not now, then when?” 

So, I spend that year crafting my golf photography skills and shooting a portfolio of work that I was finally proud of and in 2018 started shooting golf full time.

The 10th hole of The Raptor Course at Grayhawk Golf Club.

The 10th hole of The Raptor Course at Grayhawk Golf Club.

What’s the greatest challenge in capturing the essence of a golf hole via a camera?

It’s often difficult to show the hills and undulations on golf courses so I do a fair amount of retouching on each and every shot I take. I play with light, shadows and color, to make the hole as flattering as possible without looking fake. 

It can be a lot of work but in the end it’s worth the extra time in order to make each and every shot as beautiful as possible.

Ozark Mountains near Big Cedar Lodge

Set among the majestic Ozark Mountains near the Big Cedar Lodge, Payne’s Valley is the first public TGR Design golf course in the United States. Sprawling, wide fairways showcase playability, while also allowing strategic angles and shot values to be emphasized to challenge experienced players. The green surrounds are designed to promote creativity and a variety of recovery options, while the fairway rough will be maintained to low heights of cut to further promote a fun, enjoyable golf experience.

Biggest mistake people make when taking photos outside — especially golf ones is what?

Shooting at the wrong time of day. Great light makes for great photos and that’s why most every landscape photographer shoots early morning and late afternoon to capture the long streaky shadows created by the sun when its low in the sky. 

This can’t be faked so when the sun is directly overhead and making the golf course look flat is when I put my cameras away and find something else to do.

Sunrise over a golf course

Sunrise over a golf course

For those interested in photography — what specific types of cameras would you recommend using in working outdoors.

In my opinion people focus way too much on equipment. Spend your time learning lighting and good composition instead of pouring over the latest specs of the newest camera.

My advice on equipment is to find photographers who are taking the kinds of photos you want to take and ask them what equipment they use. 

Start with a camera body and a single lens so you can learn its strong points and limitations. And then go out and shoot, shoot, shoot.

Bill Hornstein golf photography

Bill Hornstein golf photography

Best advice you ever received regarding photography — what was it and who was it from?

We had commissioned Michael Kenna to shoot some car photography for us at Chiat Day and it was just amazing watching him work. He tried so many different angles, close-up, far away, down low, up high, just looking at every possibility. 

Later on, I asked him about it and he told me “amateur photographers take pictures; professional photographers make pictures.”

Golf Course Photography

Golf Course Photography

If you could change one thing in golf unilaterally — what would it be and why?

I feel like the governing bodies need to roll back distance for professional golfers. So many iconic and fantastic golf courses have had to change the character of some amazing golf holes trying to keep up with modern equipment.

Golf Photography

You’ve got a bucket list of golf holes you’d like to photograph. List three (3) at the top of that list you plan on doing in the near future.

  • The 13th at Augusta National. The last time I was there I stood stared at that hole when play had finished until it got dark and they kicked me out.
  • Every hole at Tara Iti in New Zealand looks incredible.
  • The Old Course at Lahinch in Ireland designed by Old Tom Morris.
Bill Hornstein, Sheep Ranch

The sixth and newest course, Sheep Ranch, opened on June 1, 2020. Located to the north of Old Macdonald, it has a mile of ocean frontage over a series of promontories, with several holes featuring shots over water and cliffs. The property had been a wind farm in the 1970s, but had been abandoned because the winds proved to be too intense for turbines of that era. Resort owner Mike Keiser bought the land in 2000 along with business partner Phil Friedmann, and originally intended for it to be a private course separate from the main resort. Doak and Urbina started work on the property after completing Pacific Dunes, and had completed 13 greens before Keiser and Friedmann stopped construction once locals heard about the project, fearing that the project would cause problems for the resort. For more than 15 years, the property sat largely vacant; the greens were not irrigated, and only a select number of resort guests who asked the right individuals were allowed on the incomplete course. Eventually, Keiser and Friedmann decided to incorporate this land into the resort, and enlisted Coore and Crenshaw to design a full course. Three pairs of holes that travel in different directions share teeing areas.

Complete the sentence — Bill Hornstein is —

Passionate about golf photography.

Bill Hornstein golf photography

The sixth and newest course, Sheep Ranch, opened on June 1, 2020. Located to the north of Old Macdonald, it has a mile of ocean frontage over a series of promontories, with several holes featuring shots over water and cliffs. The property had been a wind farm in the 1970s, but had been abandoned because the winds proved to be too intense for turbines of that era. Resort owner Mike Keiser bought the land in 2000 along with business partner Phil Friedmann, and originally intended for it to be a private course separate from the main resort. Doak and Urbina started work on the property after completing Pacific Dunes, and had completed 13 greens before Keiser and Friedmann stopped construction once locals heard about the project, fearing that the project would cause problems for the resort. For more than 15 years, the property sat largely vacant; the greens were not irrigated, and only a select number of resort guests who asked the right individuals were allowed on the incomplete course. Eventually, Keiser and Friedmann decided to incorporate this land into the resort, and enlisted Coore and Crenshaw to design a full course. Three pairs of holes that travel in different directions share teeing areas.

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For more info about Bill Hornstein go to: www.HornsteinCreative.com

Bill Hornstein, TifEagle Bermunda Grass

At over 6,600 yards with TifEagle Bermuda Grass used on the top-ranked Copperhead Course, Innisbrook South is reminiscent of a links-style design, both in terms of rolling terrain and numerous fairway bunkering. Ample waste bunkers, undulating terrain, and the Gulf of Mexico breezes all combine to make South another great Innisbrook challenge that’s become a favorite of our returning guests and event planners.

Bill Hornstein, Pacific Dunes

Designed by Tom Doak, Pacific Dunes doesn’t feel like it was built as much as it was discovered. Rippling fairways remain just as they were found and natural bunkers line the landscape as they have for centuries. The course emerges from shore pines to spectacular 60-foot sand dunes. When the wind blows, precise approach shots are a necessity. Pacific Dunes is short enough to give you hope but rugged enough to test every facet of your game.

Bill Hornstein, The Riviera Country Club par four 5th hole

The par four 5th hole at The Riviera Country Club

Bill Hornstein, The Riviera Country Club part three 4th hole

The par three 4th hole at The Riviera Country Club