Cinematography Mailing List - CML

Golf - Help Needed


Is there someone can give me tips for shooting golf tournament…cause I never cover it


Amirudin tm

As one who has been there and done that my advice is to use the quietest camera ever made and don’t move a millimetre while a player is playing a shot.

Otherwise, even if you are half a mile away and a Boeing 747 is taking off overhead … and the player misses a 20ft putt he and the entire crowd will blame you to the point of violence

David Samuelson …

"An old cinema newsreel cameraman who always considered to film a big golf match was the worst assignment of the year."

Try shooting from the front of the player at a 4 mt. distance or more. If you are the receiving camera (the ones that’s near where the ball is supposed to land), always have in mind that something can go wrong and the ball might land on your head, so be careful. It’s always good to understand what the player is going to do, or trying to do, to prevent accidents.

Don’t enter the green until it’s putt time. Don’t stand on the sand bunker (never). You have to be absolutely still while the player is making the swing. Walk fast and shoot steady. A good 18 hole golf course is a 6 km. walk so if it’s going to be hot, get some water.


Rodrigo Lizana Lamarca
Pixine, Cine Digital y 35mm
Santiago, Chile


If I remember correctly a trick the TV guys used to do was change the input of the video camera's viewfinder to green channel only.

This made following that little and fast white ball against the sky easier as the sky would be black in the viewfinder.

Many Thanks
Tom Gleeson

If you are following tee/approach shots, switch your viewfinder to watch only the red channel. This will turn the sky very dark, which helps you track the ball. (You pretty much need to use zebra stripes to set exposure using this method, or you may get some interesting exposures!!) Less
important if you're only shooting the action on the green...

Pay attention when you're not shooting. I've seen a spectator in the gallery taken away in an ambulance because she was looking at something elsewhere on the course, instead of at the ball approaching her head from down the fairway.

Wear a ball cap, even if (like me) you never wear ball caps. Good for the heat, and for shading the sun from your eyes so you can see the ball.

Lots and lots and lots of water in the sun... I've walked 18 holes daily at +35C and it takes a lot out of you! At one tournament, I outlasted 3 PA's who were assigned to carry my tripod, even though they were all younger and stronger.

Dress appropriately for the course - different courses/tours have different regulations. Although camera operators can sometimes push the rules a bit (live broadcast teams are sometimes given clothing that helps course officials identify them), it will make everyone happier if you obey the course rules.

If you are fortunate enough to have complete access to the green (usually only the live broadcaster) - you must move into position as the golfer is lining up his putt - once he/she is in position and preparing to putt, you've got to freeze. Moving just before the golfer putts is a major faux pas. (After a while you will learn which golfers take a long time to line up a putt, and which golfers are quick.)

You'll also piss off people in the gallery who have been standing there for hours, only to have you walk in and set up right in front of them. Usually people are relatively understanding, but if I can I try not to set up in front of the same person every time.

When you're set up at the edge of the green, you may find yourself part of the action if someone's putt goes long and the ball rolls towards you. I've pulled up the camera and moved out of the way, when I was shooting things like promo footage where "getting the shot" didn't matter (at least once he missed the putt!). If you're shooting and can't move, and the ball hits a tripod leg, just step back from the camera and let the officials deal with it. (Apparently there's a difference between the ball hitting a tripod leg and hitting your foot... So if at all possible make sure the ball doesn't touch your body.)

Usually they'll just let the ball sit wherever it ended up, and have you pull up the camera and move; but wait for the officials to tell you to move before you do anything.

George Hupka
Downstream Pictures
Saskatoon, Canada

I covered a golf tournament a couple of years back at Wentworth. UK ladies championship. Having never done pure sports type coverage before I tried to shoot it like a doco shoot which was totally wrong. Whilst going for pretty shots after a few holes I realised I wasn't covering the action enough. This was a one camera shoot leaving me with my work cut out although I did have a golf buggy which helped a lot.

The hardest points were filming the putting, not getting in the eyeline and working out how to zoom in and out on the action, particularly the ball rolling across the green.

I'd suggest watch some golf events on cable. There's always something on and see how the shots are worked out. If you are on your own good luck as its harder than you think.

Phil Millard

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