More than a Game

Setting the scene
This ECCO Photoshoot does not feel like work, just a nice Round with Friends.

Henrik Stenson

Setting the scene

Henrik is in a great mood. Why shouldn't he be? It`s going to be a beautiful day in central Florida and the morning sun is painting the pristine fairways golden. Behind the 18th green of Lake Nona Golf & Country club lies the picturesque lake that lends this stunning place its name.

"Who's up for some nice music?” asks the 2016 Open Champion, but that's just a rhetorical question, because without giving someone the time to answer the Swede has already pushed 'play' and relaxed lounge beats wash over the scene.

Lake Nona is Henrik's base in the United States. He lives just around the corner of the clubhouse so he's able to drive his private golf cart - that comes with an impressive sound system and other gadgets - from his garage to 'work' today.
'Work' is going to be setting the scene for ECCO GOLF's 'More Than A Game' campaign alongside fellow ambassadors, Lydia Ko and Erik van Rooyen. LPGA superstar, Lydia, has a similarly short trip to the 'office' today since she and her family live on the property too. Only South African Erik needs to hop in a real car today to join the Team at Lake Nona. But it's just a short drive as, like so many Tour pros, Erik also moved to the greater Orlando area.

Just a couple of hours ago Lydia finished competing at the LPGA Tour Championship at Tiburón Golf Club in Naples, while Henrik played in the PGA Tour's RSM Classic at Sea Island Resort in Georgia.

It's the first time this trio of ECCO GOLF brand ambassadors have met in person at the same time and, while Erik and Henrik see each other all the time during tournaments on the PGA or European Tour, Lydia is obviously excited to meet her colleagues.
"It's pretty rare to get a chance to play a couple of holes with an Open Champion. And I've never met Erik before,” she says while sitting in the make-up artist's chair. "I follow him on Instagram and he seems like cool guy.” In fact the South African is the only one who had the previous week off after he unfortunately had to withdraw from his first start in The Masters at Augusta the week before.

"How are you feeling? What's the injury status?” photographer Thomas wants to know, and Erik gives two thumbs up for today. "No worries! I'm feeling good and I have no problems with swinging a golf club. It was a shame that I had to withdraw from The Masters, but you have to be careful.”

Because of Covid precautions, the production team that awaits the three golfers at Lake Nona is much smaller than a photoshoot of this magnitude would normally require. But with hair and make-up, styling, a world class photographer, and his assistant on site, we are ready to start the day. The final three holes of Tom Fazio's masterpiece will be closed for the next couple of hours - just for us.
"Our goal, and the idea behind the 'More than a game' campaign, is to show the game in all its beauty, as pure and unspoiled as possible,” explains Thomas to the three golfers. "That's why I want to interfere with your game as little as possible. Just go out and have a game between the three of you. Act and play as if there was no production crew at all. I will get my pictures, don't worry about that!”

"Great! That's not even a photoshoot, just a nice round with friends,” smiles Henrik, and hits the first tee shot of today.

Music is still playing from Henrik's Golf Cart sound system while Lydia hits three perfect iron shots close to a tucked pin on the 16th green. Impressed, Erik wants to know: "How long have you been playing on tour now?”

"It's been seven years already,” she smiles.

"What? Seven years? And you're only 23? That's unbelievable!” Erik shakes his head and tries to hit his shot inside Lydia's but comes up a couple of feet short.

It's interesting for all onlookers to see how quickly three very determined and competitive individuals that have never met in this arena before can get comfortable with each other. Minute after minute and shot after shot the banter gets livelier, and even some hints of light-hearted trash talk can be detected when one shot beats another.

But this should come to nobody's surprise, because even if those three don't share an 'office' like this every day, they share a common language: golf - which is MORE THAN A GAME.