Barnsley photographer celebrates 25 years of capturing golf greats
28 February 2012
A world-renowned Barnsley photographer has proved he’s mastered the long game after notching up 25 years capturing images of golf superstars.
Mark Newcombe, 51, has photographed golf courses, tournaments and some of the greatest-ever players in action. These include Tiger Woods, Seve Ballesteros, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Sir Nick Faldo.
His business in Dodworth – Visions in Golf – is also home to one of the biggest golf picture libraries in the world, storing over half a million images.
Business support organisation Enterprising Barnsley is now supporting the company to further build on its success by helping with marketing.
Mark took his first pictures during a school art class and later went on to work for two news agencies covering news and sport. Football, Formula One motor racing and golf were his main interests and he covered his first golf major in 1984, the Open at St Andrew’s.
In 1987, now self-employed, Mark decided to concentrate exclusively on golf and has since travelled the world on hundreds of assignments from all the major tournaments to promotional work and fashion shoots for a range corporate giants.
His award-winning pictures have immortalised many memorable moments. Of particular note was Woods’ ecstatic celebration at the US Open in 2008 following a long putt which forced a play-off. The player went on to win the play-off and won his last major.
Mark worked with Ballesteros one-to-one several times and the late star features in Mark’s favourite, and what he describes as best, picture. It was taken during the Ryder Cup in 1991 when Ballesteros and teammate Jose Maria Olazabal shook hands following a crucial shot against the backdrop of a stunning sunset.
Mark said: “It’s all about having an eye for a picture and being in the right place at the right time to get it. It’s not like football or other sports where you’re in a stadium, courses are a hundred-plus acres so you have to anticipate what’s coming. That ability comes from experience and also from playing golf myself.
“I’ve met some great people over the years and been to amazing places but, more importantly, I’ve had a ‘front-row seat’ to some of the biggest sporting events in the world.”
The job is demanding. Hauling 25 kilogrammes of photography equipment around a golf course, sometimes in high temperatures, requires physical fitness. And Mark has spent up to four months of the year working away from home which he shares with wife Debbie, 41, also a golfer, and son Harry, 16.
The office-based side of the business is the on-line library service covering all aspects of golf, from action pictures of top male and female players, instruction and equipment images and a historic archive dating back to the 1800s.
The majority of pictures are Mark’s but he also sells work by other international photographers.
Each day images are downloaded and published in books, magazines, newspapers, and used by advertising agencies and sponsors.
Kevin Steel, a coach with Enterprising Barnsley, has been helping Mark develop his company’s sales, marketing and use of social media.
Mark said: “I’ve always recognised the importance of utilising developments in digital media and Kevin has been helping us to make the most of business opportunities that are out there.”
Enterprising Barnsley is a partnership between Barnsley Development Agency and Barnsley Business and Innovation Centre.
The Enterprising Barnsley programme is supported financially by the European Union. Phase two of the project has attracted £2,259,511 investment from the European Regional Development Fund as part of Europe’s support for the region’s economic development through the Yorkshire and Humber ERDF Programme.
Notes to News Editors:
Attached pictures show Mark Newcombe and his shot of Ballesteros and Olazabal during the 1991 Ryder Cup. The image of Woods is available on request.
Media contact for Visions in Golf: Mark Newcombe on 01226 28611.