Since focusing her skills as a landscape painter to recreate some of the world's most beautiful golf holes, Linda Hartough has become recognized as one of golf's leading artists. So extraordinary and realistic is her attention to detail that her oil paintings seem to come alive with a clarity that surpasses the camera.
Hartough's work has gained international fame. She is the only artist ever commissioned by the United States Golf Association and the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews to do the annual paintings and prints for the U.S. Open and British Open Championships. She has painted prestigious golf courses from the U.S. to Scotland to Hong Kong. Her paintings are so admired that they have earned a place on two ABC Television Golf Specials on famous golf holes, hosted by Jack Nicklaus. Her paintings are in the collections of such famous clubs as Augusta National, Pine Valley and Laurel Valley. Hartough originals are also included in the private collections of Jack Nicklaus and Rees Jones.
A confirmed artist since the age of six, Hartough was raised in the picturesque countrysides of Wilmington, Delaware, and Louisville, Kentucky. Much of her early career was spent in Chicago where, after receiving her Fine Arts degree from the prestigious School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1970, she made a living by selling her paintings locally. In 1980, she moved to South Carolina near Hilton Head, where she painted landscapes, portraits and horses.
In 1984, Augusta National Golf Club commissioned Hartough to paint the famed 13th hole, thus beginning her golf landscape career. After an enthusiastic response to her work at the 1988 PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, Florida, she focused her career entirely on golf landscapes. Since that time, Hartough's work has enjoyed unparalleled status in the golf world while receiving international acclaim, including Golf Digest's "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 awareness and appreciation of golf art as a valuable segment of fine art.
Hartough's approach to capturing a great golf hole is to spend a week or more at each course, taking photographs at different times of the day to capture all possible light features. She then determines what is important or memorable in each view of a hole and expresses it in the painting. Her memory serves as a less objective image of the hole. The combination of the two provides the unique view found in each of her paintings.
"It's a challenge to make a great painting and still depict a golfer's favorite scene, but my goal is to make any work of art I create 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,” Hartough said. “It is some of the most beautiful and varied landscape in the world, combined with a deep historical sense of tradition that transcends time."
As a capstone to her remarkable career, in 2017 Hartough was inducted into the Low Country Golf Hall of Fame.