Welcome to the RGC Print Series. Here we’ll feature talented artists with a knack for beauty and a passion for viewing golf in a new light. Our first featured artist is a photographer from Sweden with covers on over 600 different magazines and books. Over the last ten years, he has established himself as one of the greatest golf architecture photojournalists in the world.
Jacob Sjoman has had the privilege of capturing photos at many of the most striking golf courses that Mother Earth has to offer. He’s traveled to New Zealand to watch the sun fall out of the sky at Tara Iti and journeyed to Norway to catch a glimpse of Lofoten Links under the Northern Lights. In between, he’s immortalized courses in Australia, Bulgaria, and Canada.
The “Front 9” of the RGC Print Series is available for purchase in The RGC Print Gallery.
Jacob fell in love with the game of golf at an early age. He felt the tackiness of a grip for the first time at age eleven and never looked back. But how did he get so skilled as a photographer?
He began in 2004 with a basic digital camera, knowing nothing but “point and shoot.” When potential clients began popping up, Sjoman knew he was onto something. But to make a name for himself, he needed a formal education in his newfound passion.
“I quickly realized that I needed to educate myself and learn the tools. So I enrolled in photography school.”
After completing photography school, Jacob was first hired to photograph cars. It wasn’t until 2010 when he realized that he could bring together two of his loves, and capture the rarities of the golf world.
Since then, he’s filled his passport to capacity. And after visits to over 350 courses, two seem to stand out from the pack.
Jacob journeyed to Lofoten Links in September of 2015, shortly after a renovation extended the track to 18 holes. The course’s design exemplifies the importance of molding a course into the existing landscape without disturbing its natural beauty. Located comfortably inside the Arctic Circle, Lofoten is the world’s northernmost links course. You can catch the Northern Lights here from August to October while the course is closed, but golfers get to make up for lost time a few months out of the year when the northern latitude gives them a “midnight sun” — and the chance to play all 24 hours of the day.
A hair over 10,000 miles away from this Norwegian masterpiece is a new course that sits on a slice of New Zealand beach seemingly built for golf. Tara Iti, which debuted at #6 on the Golf Digest’s Top 100 list in 2018, has already bumped its way up to #2 in the world. The brilliance of the 17th hole, a par-3 that seems to slide into the Pacific Ocean, is the highlight of the stunning Tom Doak design.
The private course has the acclaim of a high-class resort but feels a little more like home. Its relaxed and laid-back environment would confuse the gated courses in America, which take their privacy a little more seriously.
“You feel so relaxed, even though it’s a high-end place. Everything feels good and it’s not oversized. Some places feel too big, the clubhouse is too big. But this place — it’s perfect.”
A perfect golf photo is about lighting, and lighting can only be tamed by the time of day. For Jacob, that means being up hours before sunrise, and working until after the light has left the sky.
A little golf course down in Augusta, GA wouldn’t be etched into every golfer’s mind without the work of a faceless army.
“A normal workday I’m up at the course an hour before sunrise, and active until the sun goes down. Even then, you’re sometimes up after that shooting night photos. They’re very long days, but it’s fun.”
His travel schedule takes up 90-100 days of Jacob’s year, and aside from a few companions on odd jobs along the way, his excursions are solo efforts. When you’re traveling solo, that means carrying all your gear yourself. With seven different cameras, photo flashes, umbrellas, video lights, and night photography assets — not to mention the weight of over 20 batteries to keep cameras on and drones in the air — his cargo can at times be almost more than one man can bear.
Over the last decade, Sjoman has amassed an overwhelming archive of photos. But he likes it that way. He never deletes anything (perhaps out of superstition), in case of additional requests by a client. This expansive collection has yielded many masterpieces over the years, and with Jacob’s help we’ve combed through to find our favorites to share with you.
What ties these nine featured photographs together is perspective. The series contains photos of holes highly regarded in the world of golf, captured from a new vantage point. The 16th at Cabot Cliffs in Nova Scotia is often captured from behind the tee box, exemplifying the difficulty of the tee shot and what can happen to your ball if only a slight error is made. Jacob’s photo of the hole flips the perspective, and is captured behind the green looking back at the tee. The reverse angle allows the viewer to take in the true elegance of the T-shaped green, surrounded by nothing but trouble. No wonder it graced the cover of Golf Magazine.
The true secret to Jacob Sjoman’s work is its uniqueness, and we are truly proud and excited to showcase his work exclusively with you. We hope you enjoy.
Our Jacob Sjoman collection, the spectacular first in the RGC Print Series, is available for purchase at The RGC Print Gallery. If you’re an artist who’d like to be featured, please contact email@example.com.
Riley is a writer, golf professional, and recent graduate from the University of South Florida. Born and raised in southern New Hampshire, Riley fell in love with the game of golf at a young age. It's tough to beat New England golf, and Riley has played all over the North-East. Put the scorecard away, and enjoy the ride.