Picture perfect: The Joann Dost Golf Lifestyle Gallery in Monterey, California

Playing golf in Monterey, California? Take a quick side trip to the Joann Dost Golf Lifestyle Gallery to peruse stunning photos of golf courses like Torrey Pines and St. Andrews.

If you travel to play golf in exotic places, it hasn't escaped you that the greatest golf course architect of all time isn't Donald Ross or Alister MacKenzie, but rather Mother Nature.

Because playing courses like Pebble Beach Golf Links or Bandon Dunes is as much about the cliffs, the terrain and the ocean as it is the design of the holes themselves. So no wonder they are among the most photographed in the world.

Few people can appreciate golf course splendor more than renowned course photographer Joann Dost. A former player on the LPGA Tour, Dost transitioned from shooting low scores in tournament competition to shooting golf courses with her camera in 1977. Her extensive playing background brought a golfer's perspective to her work, which has been featured in national and international magazines as well as the USGA museum.

Living on the Monterey Peninsula has provided plenty of magnificent subject matter in her own backyard.

"There's a lot of beautiful lighting there," said Dost, referring to one of the key ingredients in a great golf course photograph. "Lots of moisture in the air (which contributes to unusual lighting) and a striking coastline."

The Joann Dost Golf Lifestyle Gallery

Now you can see Dost's work - which also includes courses such as the South Course at Torrey Pines, St. Andrews, Cypress Point, Whistling Straits and Muirfield Village - at the new Joann Dost Golf Lifestyle Gallery in Monterey.

Dost is an artist. She still shoots the majority of her work in film, not digitally. She believes that while digital photography has come a long way in recent years, it can't match the true color reproduction of transparencies, which also serve as a permanent point of reference.

"I just come from the old school, and the coloring I get from film is unmatched," said Dost, who like many in her profession draws inspiration from the great landscape photographer Ansel Adams. "I like to see that transparency because it's exactly what I saw with my eyeball."

In addition, a transparency can be scanned and converted into a file almost a gigabyte in size, which is far larger than what current digital cameras can produce. This enables her to produce prints with clarity that are much larger than she can do with straight digital photography.

The 2,500-square-foot facility not only showcases Dost's work. It also features the work of former three-time Ryder Cup member Johnny Pott and golf course painter Linda Hartough. You can also view the personal collection of Hall of Fame golfer Lawson Little Sr.

"My vision for this gallery is to make beautiful works available that will excite people who appreciate golf," Dost said. " I think it helps people understand about the area and also about golf photography if they do come over."

The gallery, which is located at 2700 Garden Road right next to the Monterey Airport, used to be open by appointment only, but that changed on Dec. 1. Now you can visit without an appointment on weekdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The gallery staff will arrange after hours or weekend viewing upon request. Admission is free.

In addition to the art gallery, there is also a "pro shop" area that features select golf collectibles designed as gifts, which can be customized for tournament coordinators and event planners to use as awards or tee prizes. And adjacent to the gallery is the Golf Lifestyles Inc./Joan Dost production studio, where transparencies are transformed into prints and then framed. Tours of the production studio as well as scheduling outside events can be arranged by calling (831) 375-3678.

"People have really enjoyed seeing the whole operation," said Dost, adding that special events such as luncheons at the gallery are also popular. "They can see how we produce everything, and the fact that we do it all right here."

For more information, visit www.JoannDost.com.

Mike Bailey is a former Golf Advisor senior staff writer based in Houston. Focusing primarily on golf in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean and Latin America with an occasional trip to Europe and beyond, he contributes course reviews, travel stories and features as well as the occasional equipment review. An award-winning writer and past president of Texas Golf Writers Association, he has more than 25 years in the golf industry. He has also been on staff at PGA Magazine, The Golfweek Group and AvidGolfer Magazine. Follow Mike on Twitter at @MikeBaileyGA and Instagram at @MikeStefanBailey.

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Picture perfect: The Joann Dost Golf Lifestyle Gallery in Monterey, California