Brian Oar is one of the world’s most preeminent golf course photographers and his work over the last two decades at the Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort is among his most favorite. He has been published in Golf Magazine, Golf Digest, Golfweek, the old VegasGolfer Magazine, and his photos of Los Angeles Country Club–host of the 2023 U.S. Open–are generating plenty of buzz on social media and other outlets. Here is Oar’s personal account of his time spent recently on the three Pete Dye-designed courses at the Paiute. –By Brian Hurlburt, founder, www.lasvegasgolfinsider.com — Above photo @brianoar
“The first thing that comes to my mind about Paiute is how good all three golf courses are,” Oar said. “There is no doubt that it is one of the most beautiful desert golf course facilities on the planet, especially with 54 holes. Add to it being unique because it is located on a Native American land and owned by a Native American company. It is a special place. it is also very unique because there are no houses on the courses.”
The Paiute and Oar have a long history. His beautiful work at the resort helped him get noticed and he used the quality photos to entice other courses across the globe to utilize his services. You can check out and/or purchase his work at the official website — BrianOar.com — or follow him on instagram.com/brianoar or instagram.com/golfilluminated
“The first time I shot at Paiute, I was not hired, but I happened to have an open date while on assignment for VegasGolfer Magazine,” Oar said. ” I didn’t want to waste a day and I was trying to acquire work at more courses. I called out to Paiute and asked if I could come out and take some photos and they were very welcoming. It happened to be one of those nights where it was a super dramatic Vegas sunset. I was fortunate to get four or five incredible shots of the Wolf course. This was probably in 2007, and I remember being blown away by how good those golf courses were and just what a special property it was. It was probably another couple of years before they actually hired me to officially come down and shoot for them, but it has been a regular assignment ever since. The course management and ownership has always been unique in that they have wanted to continue to keep their photo library fresh. And this was even before the advent of social media. I give them a ton of credit for that.”
Oar, who lives in St. George, estimates he has taken photos and video for the Paiute about a dozen times. Drone technology has made seeking out new spots and angles a lot easier. He can fly the drone at 60 mph around the facility without the need to use a golf cart. The drone also allows for elevation and other unique shooting techniques.
“Over the last little while I have been using different focal lengths with different lenses to really try and bring the mountains forward,” Oar said. ” I think that one of the things that golfers feel when they are playing those golf courses is that the mountains, especially Snow Mountain, are towering above and providing a monumental backdrop. I have been able to compress the scene and pull the mountains right up into the image and capture what golfers experience right behind the hole.”
Oar has several favorite holes, but he agrees with this writer that the par 3, 16th on Snow Mountain just might be the one. But he also admits there are 53 others that are a very close second. The par 3, 15h on Wolf also always shines.
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Oar has also created his award-winning and popular “Golf Illuminated” series. He was looking to cement his legacy and came upon the idea of capturing courses at dusk and also under the stars. The concept that takes the “Golden Hour” of golf course photography to new heights has flourished. The Paiute holes were among the first he “illuminated.”
“This is my 20th year of doing golf course photography professionally, and I came to realize a couple years ago, that, especially with the rise of Instagram, that there are so many people out there now with a drone and have the ability to call themselves a golf course photographer and I was looking for a way to decipher my work,” Oar said. “I had seen some other inspirational pictures on the internet and on Instagram years ago when drones first kind of started coming on the scene and I thought, ‘I can do that in golf.’ I tested it on a couple of courses in St. George and thought, ‘Oh my gosh, this is going to work’. I had just been hired again by Paiute so I took some illuminated photos out there and the concept has taken off.”
So, take a look and enjoy Oar’s work. But then act, play and savor the fabulous Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort. The Paiute is an official course partner of LasVegasGolfInsider.com.