Mark Newcombe - the art of golf photography

PUBLISHED: 15:17 24 April 2012 | UPDATED: 21:18 20 February 2013

Renowned Barnsley photographer Mark Newcombe, who is celebrating 25 years in the business

Renowned Barnsley photographer Mark Newcombe, who is celebrating 25 years in the business

Barnsley photographer Mark Newcombe celebrates 25 years of capturing golf's greats

When Seve Ballesteros shook hands with teammate Jose Maria Olazabal following a crucial shot in the 1991 Ryder Cup, Mark Newcombe was right there with them.

The resulting photograph, taken against the backdrop of an incredible sunset, remains one of the celebrated Barnsley photographers favourite images. He has won numerous awards over the years but, for him, this emotive shot of one of the sports greatest heroes will always be his best work.

Its all about having an eye for a picture and being in the right place at the right time to get it, said Mark. Its not like football or other sports where youre in a stadium; courses are a hundred-plus acres, so you have to anticipate whats coming. That ability comes from experience and also from playing golf myself.

Ive met some great people over the years and been to amazing places but, more importantly, Ive had a front row seat at some of the biggest sporting events in the world.

Hes also proved hes mastered the art of long game after notching up 25 years of capturing images of golf superstars, including Tiger Woods, Seve Ballesteros, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Sir Nick Faldo, at tournaments around the globe.

His business in Dodworth Visions in Golf is home to one of the largest golf picture libraries in the world, with more than half a million images. But Marks career began in the humble surroundings of his local school, where he was first encouraged to take up a camera in art class.

He later went on to work for 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 Andrews.

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 of corporate giants.

His award-winning pictures have immortalised many memorable moments.

Of particular note was Tiger Woods ecstatic celebration at the US Open in 2008 following a long putt which forced a play-off. The controversial champion went on to win the play-off and the major.

But its not all ecstasy for Mark there are also occasional moments of agony too.

The job is demanding, he said. Hauling 25 kilos of photography equipment around a golf course, sometimes in high temperatures, requires physical fitness.

And I also have to spend up to four months of the year working away from home and my wife Debbie and 16-year-old son Harry. But Debbies quite understanding though shes a keen golfer too.

When hes at home, Mark deals with the office-based side of his business, maintaining an expansive online library service covering all aspects of golf, from action pictures of top male and female players to instruction and equipment images and a historic archive dating back to the 1800s.

The majority of pictures are Marks but he also sells work by other international photographers. Together, their images are downloaded every day and used in books, magazines and newspapers, or by advertising agencies and sponsors.

Kevin Steel, a coach with Enterprising Barnsley, has been helping Mark develop this side of his business, encouraging him to make the most of social media.

Ive always recognised the importance of utilising developments in digital media, he said. But Kevin has been helping me make the most of all the business opportunities that are out there.

Enterprising Barnsley is a partnership between Barnsley Development Agency and Barnsley Business & Innovation Centre.

The Enterprising Barnsley programme is supported financially by the European Union. Phase two of the project has attracted more than 2.2 million of investment from the European Regional Development Fund.

Which proves that they really do putt their money where their mouth is (pun very much intended).

If you would like to learn more about Enterprising Barnsley, go to

For more information about Visions in Golf, call 01226 286111or visit

The print version of this article appeared in the May 2012 issue of Yorkshire Life

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