Recently, I was commissioned to illustrate the Augusta National Golf Club and course in Augusta, Georgia for Golf Monthly magazine. I really enjoy producing maps. It appeals the “detail nut” inside me and I rather looked forward to it.
A bit about Augusta National Golf Club
Augusta National Golf Club was opened in 1933 and is one of the world’s premier golf courses. The club plays host to the annual Masters Tournament, one of the four major championships in professional golf and the only major played each year at the same course.
The membership list is pretty secret, although Pete Coors (beer magnate), Bill Gates (computer magnate), and Warren Buffett (everything magnate), are known members. These top dogs are given the coveted green jackets to wear if they choose. With that list alone one can only guess at the membership fees.
Interesting to note is that the site, due to its over-manicured nature, is pretty low on wildlife, so to make life more pleasant for its prestigious membership, bird noises are piped out of the trees.
Illustrating Augusta National Golf Club
The challenge with a golf map is the need to illustrate architecture and landscape, while ensuring all the holes are in the right places. Golfing is a real nerdy sport so one flag out of place, and I’d get a beating.
As i know absolutely nothing about golf, I needed to rely on the client to check my work and feedback as I went along. That was not the main tricky issue, however. The main problem was that there is very little current reference for me to go on. Naturally, I would’ve liked to be flown to Augusta to work on site but, unfortunately, those Madison Avenue budgets are long gone and the rapid turnaround required for the print deadline meant time was tight.
I had to reach for as many online images as I could and used Google Maps too to help me build a jigsaw puzzle of the current arrangement. Google maps is fine for the basic structure, though you don’t really get the deeper detail of the fairways, greens and bunkers. For this I gathered dozens of online images of each hole.
One couldn’t take anything for granted either. Hole 12 is positioned on a small river and looks pretty smooth but on closer inspection you can see there is tiny nick out of the riverbank just in front of the hole, it’s so easily missed (as I’m sure Donald Trump has discovered on more than one occasion) and It was only the detailed images that showed this but I caught it and was able to ensure it went in.
As I worked I kept in mind that this is an illustration not a piece of art. This meant keeping the colours flat and simple so the whole scene is easy to read.
The client and I slowly worked through the structure and built the course from scratch until we had something we were both happy with. Illustrating Augusta was quite a challenge but it was good to learn a bit about the course too.
“We commissioned Liam to produce an illustration of the course at Augusta National as there are no photos available that do it justice. We needed to show all the holes with details such as greens, bunkers, tee boxes, and mark several famous spots on the course. Everyone has seen these many times before on television but it’s hard to piece it all together. It was important to get all the details spot on but make it simple enough to be visually appealing. Liam did a great job on this. He turned it around quickly and was very responsive to things when a couple of small but important features needed changing. We’d definitely use him again.”