Back in May I was commissioned to shoot a great story for Golf Digest magazine in Benton Harbor, Michigan. The story features long time PGA Tour caddie Mark Long who has been Fred Funk’s caddie for many years. Mark’s known on tour as a funny and popular caddie with an impressive arsenal of impressions featuring many of golf’s legendary players.
After a discussion with Golf Digest’s assistant photo editor Kerry Brady, I realized the shoot was likely to be complicated. Mark and Fred Funk were in Benton Harbor competing in the Senior PGA Championship at Harbor Shores golf course. It’s a “major” championship and it was nearly impossible for Mark to guarantee a shoot time since tee times and practice schedules would fluctuate every day.
Kerry left the shoot location and concepts entirely up to me…but stressed that she wanted the photos to be funny and reflect some of Mark’s big personality. All I knew was that I didn’t want to attempt to shoot on the tournament grounds because it would be a zoo and nearly impossible to get access to any place interesting on the golf course.
I was familiar with the nice stretch of Lake Michigan shoreline close to the golf course. I thought it might work to inject Michigan’s pristine dunes and beaches as if they were an extension of the golf course. So we met Mark there, I brought a flagstick and a shovel from Grand Rapids and Mark did the rest (not the digging part, though.)
It’s kind of difficult to explain to a photo subject that “we’ve dug a hole in the sand for you and would love it if you’d let us bury you in it.” Luckily, Mark was game and hopped right in.
I’m especially excited to see both photos run full page in the September issue of Golf Digest that’s on newsstands now. It’s not often you see two images run full page as an opener. I’m thrilled with the results.
The final bonus to the shoot was going out for dinner with Mark after we’d wrapped the shoot. His Seve Ballesteros impression is so good that his nickname on tour is actually “Seve.” He’s got some amazing golf stories and fortunately doesn’t mind sharing them at all…good times!
Golf Digest Assistant Photo Editor: Kerry Brady
Gold Digest Director of Photography: Christian Iooss
Lead Assistant: Josh Tyron
2nd Assistant: James Lacroix