Joann Dost Occupation: Photographer Location: Carmel Valley, CA Pro Status: Amateur
Joann Dost started playing golf at fifteen. Early on, she knew she wanted to be a professional athlete. Athletics were big in her family. Her dad was an Olympiccaliber speed skater, and her brother played baseball for the Mets. After attending an LPGA event in Baltimore, where she saw many of the legends of the day playing, she knew she wanted to pursue a career in golf. “My dad was a foreman at Potomac Electric Power Company. PEPCO owned a golf course nearby. When my dad and I went to the course to hit balls, the pro saw my swing and actually came running out of the pro shop and asked if he could coach me.” Encouraged by the enthusiasm of the pro, she thought she might have a chance to become a pro herself and she pursued the game with a passion. In just two short years, Joann won the Maryland State Junior Girls Championship, the DC Junior Girls Championship, and the Tournament of Junior Champions.
Making Ends Meet
In 1973, she decided to play professionally, spending a year on the Australian Tour, and then the West Coast Group Fore Tour. After placing 3rd at the LPGA Qualifying School, she spent five years on the Tour where she had several top ten finishes. “Maintaining funding to play the Tour was just as difficult as remaining competitive,” says Joann. “I even traveled in a van provided by one of my sponsors, because I couldn’t afford to fly.” She often traveled with Joann Avard. The caddies would drive while the two Joann’s slept. “It took longer, but it was more economical,” she adds. “The Tour can be tough if you aren’t winning all the time. The pressure to perform, the stress of juggling finances, and the challenges of securing sponsors was taxing. I wasn’t having fun playing any more. One day, when I missed a 3-foot uphill putt, I’d had enough and abruptly quit the tour. I came to realize that I was ‘more than my score’, and I vowed not to play again until the game could be fun.”
Instead, she turned to photography, which was a hobby at the time, and asked around for opportunities in golf photography. It’s here that she, once again, found support and enjoyment in her work. “It was like a new lease on life,” says Joann. “I still loved the atmosphere of the game, and the beauty of the courses. I just made my shots with a camera instead of a golf club.” Moving to Pebble Beach in 1977 turned out to be another turning point in Joann’s life. The natural beauty of the Monterey Peninsula and Pebble Beach served to heighten her love of the game. And she has practiced the art of golf photography ever since, traveling across America, the British Isles, the Far East, and Australia to capture the essence of golf course architecture and the spirit of the game through the camera lens. Her extensive playing background, allows her a “golfer’s” perspective in her photography work. This rare and unique skill was duly noted by the USGA when they assigned her to cover the 1981 Walker Cup matches. A chance meeting with Ansel Adams, who liked her work, led to her invitation to photograph for the 1982 U.S. Open book for Pebble Beach. “Ansel actually called Clint Eastwood, who was involved with the project, and recommended me for the job,” says Joann proudly. Over the years, Joann has received many awards for her photography, and her work can be seen in national and international magazines. Joann exhibits a master’s touch in capturing the essence of golf landscape photography, as evidenced by her multiple publications, and including her latest; The Ultimate Round: Pebble Beach Golf Links-an Illustrated Guide to America’s Majestic Dream Course.
Advice for Young Players
Even though her golf career may not have turned out like she’d planned, Joann still has a love for the sport and has always been thankful for the opportunities it presented for her. “I wouldn’t
be where I am today if it hadn’t been for the game of golf,” she says emphatically. “The most important thing I’d pass on to the younger players is my own personal philosophy instilled by my parents. Be humble, be gracious, and practice the Golden Rule: do unto others as you would have them do unto you. And, although it may seem a bit old fashioned in today’s social media driven world, hand-write thank you notes, and send them through snail-mail. Furthermore, in golf, photography, and in life, it’s important to pre-visualize what you want to do, or get, out of the shot you will be taking. Then have the patience to let it happen. If you try to hurry the shot, you won’t end up with a satisfactory result. Finally, never take for granted how lucky you are to be playing this amazing sport.”
Favorite West Coast Courses?
Joann lists Pebble Beach, Cypress Point, Santa Lucia Preserve, and Bandon/ Pacific Dunes as her favorite courses on the west coast. “All for their extraordinary natural beauty, exceptional play, and dramatic photographic opportunities,” she says. “And of course, Columbia Edgewater,” she says with a smile, where I had a top 3 finish!” Carry on, Joann.