Interview with Linda Hartough

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Landscape Painter, Hilton Head Island, SC. Founding Trustee of the Academy of Golf Art
Posted on
May 17, 2022
M. James Ward in
Estimated reading time: 7 minutes
The 13th Hole at Augusta National, "Azalea"

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes



Linda Hartough is a world-renowned golf-landscape artist known for extraordinary attention to detail in her recreation of some of golf’s most beautiful holes. Hartough, a 2017 inductee into the Lowcountry Golf Hall of Fame, has been honored with the Golf Digest Lifetime Achievement Award. 

She is a Founding Trustee of the Academy of Golf Art, a professional society of golf artists established in 2004 to create an awareness and appreciation of golf art as a valuable segment of fine art. 

The Hartough Story

When I was a very young child, I was driven to draw, paint or color anything I could on any surface available (contained and controlled by my parents to acceptable substrates such as paper and coloring books), which later developed into drawing from life more realistic images that other people could relate to as art. It was at the age of six that I realized, through other people, that not everyone could paint and draw like I did, so that was when I began to define myself as an “artist”! That realization guided everything I did for the rest of my life, and I am deeply grateful for identifying my gift at such a young age (kept me out of a lot of trouble!).

My career has always been centered around painting many subjects but mostly landscape, so when I was asked by Augusta National Golf Club to paint the famed 13th Hole, in 1984, I had no idea it would lead me to a 38-year career of specializing in golf landscape and working with the golf world’s most famous golf courses and golf tournaments, like the Masters, U.S. Open and Open Championships. 

My first golf painting of the 13th Hole at Augusta was made into my first-ever print, which was sold out at my first golf tournament – the 1985 Masters. Since then, I have done paintings and prints for 22 Masters, 26 U.S. Opens and nine Open Championships.


You wake up in the morning -- what's the driving passion?

To get through with all the things in life that must be done before I can immerse myself into painting. I have to clear my head of all other things first.

Who provided you with your first golf connection and what fascinated you with the sport?

My father was an avid golfer his whole life, so he persuaded me to take lessons and play at thirteen. The sport reminded me very much of the process of creating my art – it was a discipline that required a lot of time and repetition to perfect. I continue to see and appreciate the degree of discipline and command of all the variables it takes to master the game.

Interview - Linda Hartough - Painter
The 12th at Southern Hills / Tulsa, Oklahoma

Describe the preparation you do in assessing a golf landscape before you even pick up a brush to capture it.

First, I visit the course to decide which hole best sums up the character and sense of place. Then I have to find the right light or time of day and season that best shows off the scene so that I can dramatize the experience of being there. 

I use my photo reference to capture all the elements I want to include. When in the studio, I study all the reference until I can visualize the painting complete, and only then do I put paint on the canvas.

How surprised were you when Augusta National reached out to you in 1984 to paint the iconic par-5 13th hole, and was that the year when you were first on the property?

Since I was used to doing commission work for high-profile clients, I thought it would be just another one-and-done painting. My father was more excited than I was about it. It was the first time I was on the property and had no idea at the time that it would lead to a career in golf landscape painting.

Interview - Linda Hartough - Painter
The 9th Hole, Pebble Beach

You use a quote on your website that says, "The painting is a success when both elements emerge." What are you referring to when you say "both elements emerge?"

It refers to the challenge to make a great painting and still portray a golfer’s favorite scene, but the goal is to make the work of art transcend the scene depicted. When you look at a golf hole, you have to see what players like about it – how a golfer plays it. Then you have to see it as a landscape – as a work of fine art. 

The painting is a success when both elements emerge. I really enjoy painting golf landscape. It is some of the most beautiful and varied landscape in the world, combined with a deep historical sense of tradition that transcends time.

What are the leading golf locations on your bucket list where you have not been to date but wish to capture if the opportunity arises?

Cypress Point is high on the list. I have photographed it but just haven’t done the painting yet! I have not been to the great Australian courses or the stunning New Zealand courses. And there are so many courses that I have visited but not painted yet in Ireland and Scotland.

Interview - Linda Hartough - Painter
The 18th Hole, Swilcan Bridge, St Andrews

As a founding trustee you spearheaded the creation of the Academy of Golf Art. What was the genesis for its creation and what do you envision being its ultimate purpose?

The Academy of Golf Art was founded to create an awareness and appreciation for golf art as a valuable segment of fine art, expressing the game of golf and preserving the game’s traditions. It provides a platform for artists to contribute their expression of the game in exhibitions and a way to connect with collectors and one another.

If you could change one thing in golf unilaterally -- what would it be and why?

I have seen golf change for the better over the last 38 years, so I don’t have anything to add. Mainly I personally experienced the restrictions of being a female in all-male clubs, but I was always treated with respect and never found it a problem even before the changes.


Best advice you ever received -- what was it and who was it from?

To thine own self be true. –Shakespeare

Complete the sentence -- Linda Hartough is –

Grateful to have been welcomed into the wonderful world of golf with so much appreciation for the paintings I have done by all those who love the game.

Interview - Linda Hartough - Painter


All landscape golf drawings courtesy of Linda Hartough

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About M. James Ward

A GWAA and MGWA member, the 66-year-old from the USA has covered golf in all facets since 1980, notably the major championships and other high level events. He has played over 2,000 courses globally and has competed in USGA Championships.

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