Happy Gilmore

Steven Paston tells of a new sports photography experience he had recently.


“It’s not very often working for Action Images that I shoot a sport that I have never covered before, but I can now tick golf off my list.”

Ireland Rory McIlory in action during the second roundsteven paston keep
A silhouette of Northern Ireland Rory McIlory during the second round. Photo steven paston


“A few weeks ago I was called up as a late replacement for the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth for the final two days, working as part of a team with my Action Images colleagues Paul Harding and Peter Cziborra. They have both shot plenty of golf in the past so were able to share some great advice on how to get around the course, and how close we can get to the players when they are playing.”

“This past week I was assigned to shoot the Irish Open golf championship in Cork. With the recent unsettled weather I packed all of my waterproofs along with my camera equipment, and took a short flight from Heathrow airport to Cork. I collected my hire car and checked into my hotel, before a short 15 minute drive to the Fota Island golf course, where I collected my accreditation and dropped off my camera gear.”

sp IrishOpenThurs_42a
Northern Ireland’s Darren Clarke contemplates his next shot during the first round. Photo steven paston


“With an early wake-up call, I was up at 6am and out on the course by about 7am. Rory McIlroy was teeing off at 7.50am, so the next few hours would be spent following him and any other high profile players. All my years of covering darts and snooker have paid off, as in golf you are not allowed to take pictures until the player has struck the ball!”

General view of sign during the first roundsteven paston keep
A steward holds up a ‘No Camera’s sign. Photo steven paston

“Before the tournament started, I downloaded a gps tracking app on my iPhone, and over the course of four days I walked approximately 30 miles, all the more tiring as I was always carrying my cameras, a 400mm, 70-200mm and short lenses.”

Ireland Rory McIlory looks dejected during the first roundsteven paston keep
Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlory looks dejected during the first round. Photo steven paston


“One of my main observations is that when you are following the big name players like Rory McIlroy or Graeme McDowell, the number of spectators builds up as the day goes on. You start to feel like you are in the tv show ‘Walking Dead’ being followed by a herd of ‘walkers’!”

sp IrishOpenSat_64a
Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell narrowly misses a Birdie on the 13th hole during the third round. Photo steven paston


“As I mentioned earlier I had packed all of my weather proof gear but went unused as we had dry weather and sunshine much to the delight of the local photographers. They joked with me that they were happy that my colleague, who regularly covers golf, was not there as it has been very wet when he has attended in the past!”

sp IrishOpenSat_84 Not on websitea
General view of a family of Swans and their cygnet during the third round. Photo steven paston


“The final day, Sunday, was a more straightforward day. I decided to follow young up-and-coming English player Matthew Fitzpatrick, who I had already shot during the past three rounds. Once I had shot him on the 18th hole, I went back to the 1st tee and managed to capture the leading group teeing off. This was a good time to transmit some early images to the office, and my plan for the rest of the day was to pick a hole and wait there for the top 10 or so groups to pass through, enabling me to shoot a few frames of each player, just in case they launched a late challenge.”

sp IrishOpenSat_06a
England\s Matthew Fitzpatrick plays a shot from within the tress on the 18th hole during the third round. Photo steven paston


“Once the leaders, Finland’s Mikko Ilonen and England’s Matthew Baldwin, came through I followed them all the way to the 18th hole. I was following the leader board on the European Tour app on my iPhone so I knew that no one else could still win.”

General view of the Irish Open trophy steven paston keep
General view of the Irish Open trophy. Photo steven paston


“My pic of Ilonen putting on the green didn’t really work, and I was a little concerned as trophy presentations can be pretty boring, lots of men in suits posing, a bit like all the group shots at a wedding. Finally we had Mikko Ilonen alone with the trophy, when Getty photographer Ross Kinnaird asked him to lie down on the table with the trophy, which he thankfully did! This made a really fun trophy pic rather than the standard ‘man holds trophy’.”

sp IrishOpenSun_44a
Finland’s Mikko Ilonen celebrates after wining the Irish Open trophy steven paston keep


“After four days of golf I’m happy with what I shot, especially as I had never covered a golf tournament from start to finish before. Now I have to find another sport I’ve never covered to cross off my list!”

Happy Gilmore

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s