The 4 a.m. (-ish) wake-up call sucks, but it's worth it.
When I cover a golf tournament, I try to devote at least one day to an early-morning excursion to the golf course. It's kind of weird, being the first person in the media center, christening the coffee maker and putting gear together before the driving range even opens up for the morning.
It's an odd feeling of being alone, at peace as you wander the seemingly empty grounds, cup of coffee in hand, wondering what pictures the morning will bring. But once you walk out on to the course--no matter how serene, no matter how empty, you realize you're not alone. A brief flicker of light through the trees--that's a mower on a green across the course somewhere. A tumbling rumble of golf balls being dumped into a bucket off in the distance tells you the volunteers are here, getting things ready for the players yet to arrive--or so you think, until you turn the corner and come to the practice green, where a lone player and his caddie are rolling in a few putts to start the day in the dim light of the clubhouse porch.
You never know what you'll find on the dawn patrol--the people, the light, the colors. And that's what makes it my favorite time of the day out on the course.