Profile: Russell Kirk Golf Photographer

By Tim Cotroneo

Once or twice in our life, everything comes together. That’s what happened to Russell Kirk while he stood near the 18th green at the Old Course at St. Andrews.

Kirk described his “aha” moment this way: “I watched as the sunlight drenched the Royal & Ancient Clubhouse, and an amazing light illuminated the green. I decided then and there to merge my passion for golf with my love for photography.”

Since that stirring occasion, Kirk has traveled internationally while shooting photographs of the world’s greatest golf courses. Kirk’s previous life as a New York-based commercial advertising photographer served as a solid foundation for his breathtaking golf course photography, aerial videos, and commercial/still life images. Kirk took time out to share some of his favorite memories and photographs with Travel Dreams.

Castle Stuart Golf Links 18

Questions and Answers with Russell Kirk:

Q:  Where are you based?
A:   Russell Kirk:  I’m based in Atlanta, GA.

Q:  How did you get started in photography?
A:  I am the son of a photographer from New York City, so I’ve been around the industry my entire life.

Turning Stone Resort Shenendoah 15

Q: What is your favorite camera or “go to” camera?
A: I use a Canon camera system.

Q:  How do you educate yourself to take better photos?
A:   I enjoy photography and believe I have a great eye for imagery. My passion for the art fuels my constant drive to learn more about the new technology that I employ in my work.

Q:  What is the one thing you wish you knew when you started taking photos?
A:  Not sure how to answer this question as I don’t feel that there would be something that would have influenced me to a different career.

Corales Golf Club 8

Q:  What is your photographic niche and what is it about this niche that appeals, inspires, or satisfies you?
A:  Transitioning from a successful advertising career to that of golf landscape has been extremely rewarding. Having the opportunity to truly use my talent, travel, and witness the beauty of natural surroundings brings immense satisfaction.

Q:  Talk about the preparation that goes into your photography?
A:  Before an assignment or personal project, I will scout the property I am to photograph. I study the course layout, and where the shadows fall early in the morning and late afternoon. Sometimes the optimum moment is the magical minute that nature unexpectedly rewards my patience.

The Castle Course Course

Q:  What is special or unique about golf photography?
A:  Golf landscape photography provides the distinct opportunity to share the architect’s vision for the course with my expertise and vision with the camera. Combined we share a story that will entice a golfer to play a course or bring back memories.

Streamsong Resort

Q:  What do you try to say in your photographs?
A:  I want my photographs to capture a moment in time that the audience wants to be a part of.

Q:  Is there an under the radar course in the U.S. and internationally that really speaks to you as a photographer?
A:  On a recent trip to Scotland I had the time and good weather to both photograph and play Golspie Golf Course and Brora Golf Course. These two under the radar links course have natural dunes, creating beautiful texture and light formations.

Q:  Anything I haven’t asked that you’d like readers to know about you or your photography?
A:   I would like readers to recognize my passion for the game of golf, love for photography, and respect for nature.

If you’re interested in one of Russell Kirk’s amazing prints, go to his website at:


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