Feature Interview with Joshua Evenson pg. ii

10. Talk to us about the other illustrators.

Links to St Andrews is adorned by hundreds of images, ranging from original art to iconic paintings from golf’s history, old and new photography and even a couple crossword puzzles. Each image has a story. Each artist and my association to them is unique, and all of them were a pleasure to work with. As you will see, there are a number of iconic images contained within the book as well. The balance of the imagery was mostly supplied by the contributors themselves.

Here are a few words about each person–how we met, the work they did and more:

Lee Wybranski

If you don’t know who Lee Wybranski is, you should. Lee and I have worked together since 2009, and our relationship goes back to when I was an intern at the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines. Lee has been doing the U.S. Open logo for more than a decade, as well as posters for the U.S. Open since Tiger Woods won at Torrey Pines. While he is most known for his posters, the best of Lee is yet to come as he settles in and diversifies toward more creative processes.

Website: www.leewybranski.com

Linda Hartough

Linda Hartough’s art is some of the most iconic in all of golf, especially over the last 30 years. Among her clients are many of the finest clubs around the United States, as well as The Open Championship and Masters. She depicts the inherent beauty of the natural golf landscape with ease, producing beautiful images that are enjoyed by golf fans worldwide.

Website: www.hartough.com

Kenneth Reed

An English artist, his work is some of the most enchanting of all. Mr. Reed’s Open Championship posters are classics; they are evocative and bold.

Website: www.kenreed.co.uk

Josh C. F. Smith

A West Coast man, Josh is an ever-evolving landscape artists known for painting many of finest clubhouses and golf holes, up and down the Pacific Coast. He is largely self-taught. His work captures the essence of the landscape. Informed by his work as a superintendent, I cannot imagine a better eye for capturing the proper elements of a golf course landscape than a person who lives, breathes and walks golf courses every day–perhaps even more so than an architect. His work is outstanding, and the best is yet to come.

Josh Smith continues to dazzle with his muted colors and tones.

Website: www.joshsmithart.com

Nicola Wakeling

As a British painter living in England and spending time in the Hebrides, her work tends toward capturing the beauty of light, reflection and the corresponding contrast to the coastal landscapes of the British Isles. While conducting research, I sought painters who work outside of golf. The purpose was to demonstrate the beauty around us while we golf, as more than a golf course or golf hole to be played. The game of golf is all about walking, so look around and take in nature.

Website: www.nicolawakeling.com

Robert Kelsey

While traveling Scotland, I stumbled upon Mr. Kelsey’s work. I do not remember if it was an original painting, print or perhaps a postcard. Nonetheless, his work is beautiful, especially given my love for blue hues. His seascape paintings are remarkable. Like Nicola Wakeling, I discovered Mr. Kelsey while searching for non-golf artists who could add something more to Links to St Andrews. Given St Andrews’ beautiful East and West Sands, Mr. Kelsey was the perfect choice.

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Wesbite: www.rkelsey.com

Jill Previti

The day before I had the honor to interview President George H.W. Bush, I enjoyed a walk around Kennebunkport. I stumbled across True North Gallery, and as Jill and I spoke, I learned that her sister studied at St Andrews. Immediately, I hoped she would contribute to this book. After proposing a few views of St Andrews, she agreed to do a few paintings, which are wonderful.

Website: www.truenorthgalleryofmaine.com

Aaron Damon Porter

On my first visit to New Orleans, just prior to the 2015 PGA Show in Orlando, I decided to spend a few days in the “Big Easy” in search of new ideas and inspiration for the book. New Orleans has quickly become one of my favorite cities in the world thanks to the music and food. While walking around Jackson Square one afternoon, I stumbled upon Aaron’s work. One of his very cool projects is the ABC’s of New Orleans, so his work focused on themes like ‘G’ is for ‘Gumbo’ and ‘J’ is for ‘Jackson Square’. I bought a couple pieces and asked him to do the ABC’s of St Andrews. You can see his work on the front and back inside covers of Links to St Andrews, they are special. If you ever visit New Orleans, be sure to say hello on your way to Café du Monde.

Website: www.etsy.com/people/AaronDamon

Matthew Harris

Matthew Harris’s captivating photography inspired me to see golf through his eyes. He shows the viewer the unique perspective, whether it’s of a golf landscape, cityscape, person or object. He is a delight to work with as well. Matthew and I met at Royal Dornoch after a round with the excellent golf writer Lorne Rubenstein. We were sitting in the clubhouse, where we were introduced to one another by the Club’s general manager, the very kind Neil Hampton. A week later Matthew and I stumbled upon one another outside the Royal & Ancient Golf Club clubhouse just before The Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. Later that day we had a coffee at Taste, and the rest is history.

Website: www.golfpicturelibrary.com

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11. Tell us about a few favorite interviews.

Every interview was interesting and unique. To draw a new thought, feeling or reflection from each interviewee and remaining novel was no simple task. Many people feared there would be considerable overlap among the contributions; thankfully, there is very little.

Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore

The interviews with Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw were enjoyable because it was a special experience to listen to them speak about architecture.

Mr. Crenshaw is so eloquent and knowledgeable, especially when speaking about the Old Course. He really does know every bump and bunker. His knowledge of the Old Course both informs and guides his architectural philosophy, leading to an ethos that the avid golfer will embrace.

Mr. Coore’s easy manner put me at ease: he spoke as a teacher does while being thoughtful and patient with the student. Our initial interview was by phone, then we met in Scottsdale, Arizona, for him to sign the 100 sheets of paper for the limited edition books.

President George H.W. Bush

To interview former President George H.W. Bush was both unexpected and surreal. Thanks to an introduction among friends, we were able to speak to the president about his love for the game. He was dressed in a nice white golf shirt and great green golf pants, as though he had just walked off a 2-hour round at his home course of Cape Arundel in Maine. If you haven’t been to Cape Arundel, I highly recommend this old Walter Travis blessing. If you have the opportunity to meet long-time professional Ken Raynor, your experience will be even more delightful.

Sir Michael Bonallack

The interview with Sir Michael Bonallack took place in mid-September 2014. The occasion was a special one for three reasons: (1) the incoming chief executive for The R&A was being named that day (2) the results of The Vote to admit women was about to be announced and (3) I was honored to speak to one of the very finest amateurs to ever play the game, this person who has given so much. He is a true gentleman who loves the game. We all can learn by simply observing him and his actions.

Dr. Eve Soulsby

She may be one of the most enjoyable people I have ever had the privilege of meeting and spending time with. Her light, jovial nature has a person smiling and laughing from the first sentence exchanged.Dr. Soulsby is a long-time St Andrean. She taught in St Andrews for many years and has been a respected member of The St Rule Club for many years. If you ever have the chance to meet her, ask her for a few good stories about golf. You will not be disappointed!


12. Did anyone refuse your inquiry for a story?

I would say that only a few declined the request. A reason did not need to be given, as I understand that people are busy. Perhaps not as busy at Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player or Rory McIlroy, but that’s not the point. I am grateful for their consideration and perhaps they will choose to contribute in the future. Only one person demanded compensation for a written contribution. We could not pay one person and not pay another, so we respectfully declined the request to ensure parity and integrity of process. As I’ve outlined, there have been many goals for this project, LEAST of which was to “make money.” I approached this as though I were an amateur golfer, because I sure am an amateur storyteller, author, writer, etc. I hoped to learn, and that I have throughout the process.


13. How about the best advice you received throughout the process?

The best advice we received was from golf writer Bradley S. Klein; that was to work with Carol Haralson, she’s outstanding. She did an extraordinary job in designing and editing Links to St Andrews. Initially, my intention for hiring her was three-fold: (1) protect our investment to ensure we could at least break even, and that was a guiding goal (2) design the most beautiful book possible by helping us to avoid costly mistakes and (3) utilize her natural (and learned) creativity. We worked very well with one another. There’s always a bump here and there, especially when deadlines loom, but I wish to say that she is as good as it gets, as evidenced by the quality of Links to St Andrews.


14. You write that ” … this book is not intended to be a history of the game or of St. Andrews.” What is it intended to be?

St Andrews has been written about most extensively, and thoroughly on nearly every front. The breadth of publications is exhaustive. One can’t reinvent history. And there’s no need to regurgitate or repackage historical facts and statistics. While I do love the history of St Andrews and game of golf, it is very difficult to uncover truly unique perspectives, facts and general history. The closest I came was reviewing and cataloging more than 4,000 artifacts (mostly paper documents) owned by The Royal & Ancient Golf Club in association with British Golf Museum. My job was to determine author, date, important information and any other facts I could deduce from the relevant article.

My goal for Links to St Andrews was to share stories of St Andrews from many unique voices. After all, the game is much bigger than tour professionals. Links to St Andrews includes written contributions from artists, caddies, locals, students, non-golfers, administrators, retired professionals, Open winners, legends of the game and nearly every other background imaginable. It is by people who live and breathe the town or even those who might have visited it only once for whom it was their dream come true. I feel that everyone who has visited at least once has a story or memory to share. Every person is unique, so as long as I was mindful of the questions I asked or things I asked them to share, we would ensure there was little to no overlap among stories, thus avoiding redundancy.

My sincere hope is that this book encourages golfers of all ages to travel, meet new people, attend golf events and create new experiences by trying new things. For non-golfers, I hope they see golf as more than a game. Maybe it will even compel them to pick up a club–that would be great!

One special unforeseen outcome of this book is that it has encouraged many people I know to try new things and to maybe even take the leap to try something they never thought possible. A few friends are trying to write a book of their own, while others have told me that it led them to apply for a new job, to travel to a distant place or to even change their career to pursue a dream. Of course, I found this to be inspiring and have done all I can to encourage them.

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15. Please discuss Mark Parsinen and the 9th green at Kingsbarns and the 12th at The Old Course. 

Mark Parsinen is one of the most thorough, observant and analytical people I have had the privilege to meet. While interviewing him at Castle Stuart, he walked me through all the unseen decisions that he made pertaining to the clubhouse and course. My eyes were opened thanks to his patient explanation. As I learned more about his philosophy and process, his work at Kingsbarns and Castle Stuart started to make sense. All of Mr. Parsinen’s nuanced decisions are informed by intense reflection, study and discovery. Collectively, I believe such decisions have led to two excellent modern golf courses.

To answer your question, I believe the 12th green on the Old Course is one of the very best as I noted previously in my answer to question #6. In short, I agree that the 9th at Kingsbarns is as close as it gets to the subtle beauty of the 12th on the Old Course.

As a side note, I absolutely love the 15th hole at Tom Doak’s Common Ground Golf Course just outside Denver, Colorado, as it reminds me of the 12th and Road Hole (sans bunker) combined due to the slope, strategy–not so much orientation, but the skill required to get the ball close to the hole to have a chance at par and birdie.

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16. Golf architect Mike Nuzzo isn’t kidding when he notes that The Old Course was a key design factor in the creation of his wonderful Wolf Point in Texas. Please share with us your favorite passage from his contribution.

My favorite passage from Mr. Nuzzo’s written piece was his closing point: “Freedom at Wolf Point is ever-present. Players can choose any number of ways to complete their objectives. They are limited only by their imaginations. As are we all.” This is, as he recognizes, the greatest attribute of the Old Course–to play it as you choose with thoughtful creativity.

Unfortunately, I have not yet to visit Wolf Point myself. I’ve heard strongly positive reviews from many people within the golf industry. They say it exudes the timelessness and subtle perfection of the Old Course. I can’t wait to visit – hopefully before the end of the year.


17. You will love it when you get there. Moving on, a central theme throughout the book is how the Old Course impacts people differently. How did it impact you?

Many people who visit the Old Course for the first time are not at all impressed by it. They deem it too flat, not beautiful, or simple, and even ugly. They cannot fathom how this old course is deemed to be the greatest, most revered courses of all.

The Old Course impacted me in many ways.

One: Time taught me that the Old truly is timeless and can be played differently every day due to the current conditions of that moment.

Two: The keepers of the Old Course taught me to play quickly, respect the course in every way and enjoy the walk.

Three: Thankfully, I have become more creative in my shot-making. If possible, I prefer to keep the ball close to the ground, due to the elements or that unexpected bounce. And I also use the putter more often around the green if the course permits such a play.

Most of all, I believe the Old Course taught me to be patient and grateful.

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18. You just completed traveling the country, gaining many contributor’s signature on paper made from grass from St. Andrews, Dornoch, Pinehurst, and Hoylake! These 100 sheets will be auctioned for charity. Very neat! Tell us about them.

In lieu of compensation, we were trying to think of ways to thank contributors while giving back to the game. One idea was to create handmade, grass-infused paper and then ask each contributor to sign them. We would then donate them to charitable organizations and causes within (and outside) golf around the world. I’ve been traveling the world to meet with each contributor. After tens of thousands of miles of travel, I have twenty signatures to go. I’ll be starting another journey around North America in mid-October. In addition to meeting wonderful people, I have enjoyed visiting new places, seeing new golf courses and learning all I can. Throughout the process of writing this book, I have visited more than one hundred new golf courses–many of them architectural gems. Below is the front and back signed by almost all of the contributors.

If you have a charitable cause that you think would benefit from one of these books, please contact me. Though we only have 100 copies of the fully signed edition, we do have 500 additional copies that will have been signed by the core team, which is the standard book with a beautiful slipcase.

19. Finally, I have to ask: What is it like to play the Old Course backwards?

To play the Old Course backwards is an unforgettable experience. I must admit: I believe it to be as good from one to eighteen as it is in reverse. Though it may be difficult to fathom, the routing is equally strong and perhaps even better for the average golfer who hits a consistent fade, which will enable them to miss the gorse more often. The second shot on the 1st hole from one and 18th fairway in to the 17th green is the toughest approach shot I have ever played. All I will say is “think about it.” The bunkers that seem irrelevant when playing the traditional routing now make sense. And the greens are equally mischievous. The prevailing wind affects shots differently, demanding new obstacles be overcome by the golfer. I strongly suggest visiting at a time when you can also play the Old Course in reverse and enjoy!

Links to St Andrews can be purchased at www.linkstostandrews.com . Josh can be reached at joshuacevenson@gmail.com.

The End