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GET INTO GOLF: Time to chill out with a fun flick

John Renslow
Golf COlumnist

The Governor has asked us to put ourselves on a quasi lock-down. A good percentage of local businesses are closed for the next few weeks. We are all doing our part to mitigate or extinguish the spread of COVID-19.

We stay inside as much as possible with periodic excursions to take a walk or get the mail or complete an essential task. Yet, most of our time will be hanging out with a spouse, a friend, a book or a video.

There are some game boxes (XBox, PlayStation, etc) with very cool golf applications.

The graphics are great, but the motions we make in these electronic versions are not the true golf skills that we find so challenging and rewarding.

Sometimes you can’t beat a good book. We won’t go into a list of the best right now. Suffice to say there are numerous well written tomes that will inform and entertain.

Today, however, let’s look at those hours when your brain wants to relax. The time to just veg out with a fun flick. Here’s a short list of movies which, as a golf fan, should (or must) be watched. Or, if you have seen them, they’re worth another view.

Here’s the thing. This is not a “Top 10” or a “Best” list. These movies are so categorically different, it becomes very difficult to rank them. Each seems to have its own genre. We have comedy, drama, slapstick, fantasy and non-fiction.

So, here is a handful of movies that, as a golfer, should be watched or perhaps watched again. One note, however, the adults may choose to view these films prior to a junior giving them a look. A few have some fisticuffs or risqué portions which may not be appropriate.

Probably the most famous of all golf movies is Caddyshack. The primary storyline is the awkward relationship that a typical golf course staff will have with their pseudo elite country club membership.

Granted, the world has changed since the 1970’s (the film was released in 1980) and certain things may seem a bit extreme. Yet, when I began working in the golf business, it was in the public golf arena. We would laugh and say, “Oh, that’s funny, but it’s not realistic.”

Then, after working in the private club arena, this movie became even more humorous as these fringe perspectives became almost mainstream for the culture.

With iconic actors such as Bill Murray, Chevy Chase, Rodney Dangerfield and Ted Knight, many golfers have seen this film a number of times. It is common to hear quotes from the movie during everyday conversation and if you’re ever at a poker table, you might hear the movie in its entirety.

Next, is Tin Cup.

Kevin Costner, an avid golfer, teams up with Rene Russo, Cheech Marin and Don Johnson to unveil the struggles of a journeyman tour professional. Russo plays a psychologist with a romantic interest. This, of course, will come in handy as Roy (Costner) tries to pick himself up off the ground of his barren driving range.

The best part of this movie is the interaction of other tour players (you will recognize a few) as they jab, insult and wager. We’ll let you decide if it’s “over the top.”

Could a hockey player make it on the PGA Tour? Happy Gilmore thinks so. Happy needs to raise money, fast. His grandma is going to lose her home and Happy takes it on himself to save her.

His slap shot becomes his golf swing and Adam Sandler brings his goofy side to this film for the young at heart.

Next, a very well done show takes a lot of liberty with a few of golf’s legends. Charlize Theron inherits a golf property in the south during the Depression. In order to save the estate and golf course, she decides to hold an exhibition with Bobby Jones, Walter Hagen, and a hometown hero, Captain Junnuh, played by Matt Damon.

After serving in the first World War, Junnuh has his demons and needs the guru-like guidance of an experienced caddy. Will Smith is almost spiritual in his portrayal when you enjoy The Legend of Bagger Vance.

We’re running short on time, but briefly, here’s a few more that are worth a watch. Bobby Jones — Stroke of Genius, The Greatest Game Ever Played, Seven Days in Utopia, and Seve – the movie.

This same time next week we will be more than halfway through the President’s 15-day guidelines, while Governor Newsome’s order is indefinite. Hopefully, we will all stay healthy and have this concern in our rearview mirror soon.

If not, we’ll just have to come up with some more fun stuff to do in the house. Maybe we can come up with an indoor putting and short game contest. More on that to come!

John Renslow is a PGA professional, VP of Yugi Golf Management, and provides golf instruction at local courses.


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