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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Tommy's Honour - A Golf Movie to Savor

Like many of you, I read Tommy's Honour by Kevin Cook many years ago. It tells the tale of the legendary father and son Morris duo, Old Tom and Young Tom. They were pioneers of the game of golf in the 1860s and 1870s and between them won when an extraordinary eight Open Championships.

The movie of the book is due out next month and, as we all know, many so called authentic golf movies prove to be anything but, with awful golf swings, inappropriate golf dialogue and cringe making historical context. Tommy's Honour is different. It pulls off the golf elements in style and the story moves forward with pace. I hope it is a huge success for the game of golf and also for my friend, Keith Bank who had the vision to bring the book to the screen.

I had the chance to sit down with Keith at the recent PGA Merchandise Show. I asked him about the process and he patiently explained that it is threefold - time consuming, costly and the chances of success are slim. Well, that sounds like most things that are really worth doing. And Keith along with great support managed to pull it off. He's been in the movie business before, 28 years ago, and swore he would never do it again, but this wonderful story proved too much for the enthusiastic golfer to resist. He spent more than three years raising the money and then set about putting together the dream team to bring the story to life. The director is Jason Connery (Sean Connery's son) and the lead actors include one of my personal favorites, Sam Neill. The attention to detail, so sadly lacking in most golf movies is evident here. Keith's team even built a couple of rugged looking golf holes to accentuate the authenticity and had the actors work with bona fide golf teachers to keep the golf swings looking real. The extreme effort and long, long hours have paid off! If you are a golfer and have an interest in the great history of the game, you owe it to yourself to know Old and Young Tom's story. I would also say that non-golfers will enjoy the drama, the love story and the story telling of this magnificent period piece.
Keith Bank
Prior to the WGC Dell Matchplay on March 25th, NBC is airing a 30-minute segment about Tommy's Honour. Included within the segment is a piece featuring Jordan Spieth and his father dressed in full 19th century clothing playing with hickories - sounds like more fun than the WGC! The Golf Channel will also be screening the piece, so look out for that. In the meanwhile, here's the preview.
The movie premieres on March 27th in three cities with the benefits going to The First Tee. The movie then opens in 32 cities across 137 screens. Tommy's Honour comes out on general release in the US on April 14th. The official website is here.