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.


  1. I found one from last year at Business Insider. It's pretty simple but I think it could be fun to look back on it after this year's first round.

  2. I agree the poster with the history of changes to the course is great. I'd like to see the changes to some of the other older courses, Merion for example, presented that way.

  3. Yep, Masters mania is about to go into high gear. I found a couple of fun charts about our yearly obsession that I may try to make into an infographic.

  4. .............."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." PH

    combining ART with MATH you can get FRACTAL GEOMETRY especially the stuff by Mandelbrot = frankDftliquordalesoFLA33316

  5. ......."I found myself in the mood for for some Masterful data visualizations........." PH

    may i suggest the reporters print available, including GRANTLAND and O.B. describing in words only, the coverage of "the shot heard 'round the world" imagine STOVEPIPE handing GENE his spoon on the FireTHORN fairway enroute to an albatross, or "DODO" as sarazen later called it, and a 1935 playoff victory.......there is also commentary about HAGEN, JONES and NELSON having witnessed the shot from behind the fifteenth green and this exchange immediately before on the prior hole; ......Hagen: “Well Gene, that looks like it’s all over.”....Sarazen: “Oh, I don’t know. They might go in from anywhere.”

    well i don't know of any statistics or other DATA as you say that could bring that visualization back to life any clearer than in 78 years ago

    ......BUT i also think HDTV ruined pornography


  6. .........and lastly "a map is not the territory" so i would rely on analysis from my e-mail pen pal TOM DOAK to interpret and comment on the changes OR maybe BILL PENNINGTON will do a piece for the MASTERs, like he did for the US OPEN at Bethpage....."Where Public Golf Stands Up to the Pros" (June 15 2009 p D7).... which incorporated an ON PAR article along with a map highlighting the blueprint of the course with commentary

    just sayin


  7. So true about the golf writing you mention Frank. I think that if we still had that kind of writing we probably wouldn't want/need infographics. Now we have tweets and status updates and blog posts, thus the need for additional narrative elements of some kind. And as far as pornography is concerned, I agree: yhe genre is supposed, by its very nature, to be dark and gritty... not bright and shiny. So HDTV does not do it any justice at all. (~_*)

  8. I've got a great idea for a Masters infographic but I have no idea how to make it. :(


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