Mar 29, 2013

The Masters of Golf Infographics - A Data Visualization Challenge

A well rendered infographic can enhance just about anything.

The most mundane data set... in the hands of a skilled infographics designer... can be transformed into an engaging visual, likely to draw in and enlighten a wide swath of viewers.  Even those with an aversion to statistics... and no particular interest in the data itself.

So imagine potential awesomeness when the subject is something you love, and the statistics are ones you're seeking out anyway.

That's what got me searching for infographics on The Masters today. With less than two weeks left before the annual orgy of understated excess begins in Augusta, I found myself in the mood for for some Masterful data visualizations.

Well I did find a few, including some that little more than stylised charts.  Others contained a wealth of information and all the elements of modern infographic design.  There were even a couple I felt could comfortably contend for a Malofiej gold medal, the Infographical equivalent of a green jacket.

My favorite has got to be the one about course changes at Augusta National.  Displayed in side-by-side illustrations are the iconic course's 18 holes and the changes that have been made to each throughout the years. Both the art and the typeface are rendered in a vintage style, reflective of the event and its venue.  Then there was Foreplay to the Masters, a powerful presentation that came out last year and provides a surprisingly detailed history of the tournament, course and players, in a darkly elegant style.  I've also got to mention the visualization created by Kyle Porter, editor of Pistols Firing, the OKState Sports Blog. I'm guessing Kyle isn't a infographics designer by trade but looking at his 2012 Masters Infographic, you can tell he's got a genuine enthusiasm for his subject, and I'm quite sure had a lot of fun creating this piece.  The lamest of the lot has to be the infographic I created, to depict the most popular early pics to win in 2011.  I've got to admit I just plugged in the data. Wordle did the rest.

Here's the thing though.  We need more Masters infographics... don't we? I think we do, and to that end I'm going to: A) try to make one... or two. and B) have a contest during Masters week for anyone else who might want to make one.  More details to come on that in the next couple of days.  In the meantime if you should find any Masters-related visualizations I missed I'd love a link.