Dr Sheftall's Movie Thread

Starting this thread for Dr Sheftall as requested.

He may play off +5, be a surgeon and all round saint but at least I know how to start threads :laughing:

I think it’s true for me that any sports film where the action does not look realistic is a big let down. This may not bother some people, but it bothers me. So for example, the Rocky films were good stories but the fight scenes were trash. I’ve seen some films about football (soccer to you Americans! :smiley: ) and seeing defenders fall out the way as the hapless actor or actress skips his or her way past them just looks silly. I’ve seen very few sports movies where the action has been realistic. I thought Paul Bettany did a decent job as a tennis player in “Wimbledon”, although the film was as much a love story as a film about sport; but he did look like he could play some. As a soccer fan, I’ve seen the “Goal” films with Kuno Becker playing the footballer “Santiago Munez” and he did quite well, but I could see he didn’t have particularly good technique in his kicking. So yes, it’s very important to me that the actor can play. My guess is, though, that to most it doesn’t matter.

I agree that the film with Kevin Kostner hitting the ball several times into water was a huge let down. As a competitive person myself, I just could not accept that a film finish in that way, as if there was something to be proud about being stubborn and stupid!

I’m sure there must be some actors that play decent golf though. :sunglasses:

Samuel L Jackson

How much does he look like Dr Sheftall? :laughing:

Kenny G?



Thanks for posting my message to Dr. Sheftall and his thoughtful reply. The only actor that I can think that’s a terrific golfer (winner on the Celebrity Tour, winner of the AT&T pro-am in 1991 with John Cook as his partner, and 3-time Bel-Air CC champion) and a pretty good actor, would be soap opera icon Jack Wagner. He’s got a +0.3 hcp index. He may be a bit too old for the part though…I think he’s about 50. If he’s in the movie, I guarantee the women will flock to it. I remember years ago when he won the AT&T pro-am - Ken Venturi raved about his golf swing.

golfdigest.com/images/rankin … anking.pdf

I understand that Dr. Sheftall wrote another book - ‘The Players Handbook’ - in 2008 but I’ve never been able to find a copy. Anyone on the forum know where I can get a copy of this book? As I mentioned in an earlier post, this guy has an amazing and unique way of looking at the game. One of the great pleasures of the ‘Stiking It Rich’ book was the unexpexcted insight into playing the game on a very high level that I got from Dr. Sheftall.

John M.

I’m going to get a copy of “Striking it rich”, sounds inspirational

I guess the obvious question is who is the movie aimed at? Golfers or the general public?

Most existing (serious) golf movies dumb it all down so the non-golfer can enjoy them, but this only comes across as corny to the golfers watching. We still enjoy them, but that’s only because we’re obsessed with anything golf. My favorite golf movie wouldn’t be in my top 50 movies of all time.

Golf is pretty unique in that it’s really only a spectator sport to those who play it, and even most who play it aren’t interested in spectating it. So a golf movie is on the back foot to start with.

Personally, I quite liked how Dead Solid Perfect did show the struggle of the professional golfer and how his marriage started failing. But the cliched sweater-wearing snobby man to beat just had to appear, and of course be beaten. I guess it’s hard to not finish a movie on a high.

Some concepts I feel would be nice to see in a movie are:

  • player struggling with game, bombarded by swing and putting gurus with space age technology, game gets completely wrecked.
  • Similarly, sees a sports psychologist, goes to gym, diet, no stone left unturned.
  • player eventually realizes his best golf comes from within, works his game back into order himself by simplifying the complexity he’s got himself into.
  • the hectic schedule, sponsors, charity days, finishing on Sunday and having to be ready for Tuesday in another country.
  • canceling and rescheduling flights at the last moment because of not knowing if getting a start, missing the cut etc.
  • the struggle between being social the night before with the other players and doing what’s you feel is best for your game, only to discover relaxing is th
  • being forced by sponsor to play their new model that is rubbish
  • the loneliness of being on Tour, away from family, foreign country,…
  • the relationship with the caddie, how a costly mistake by the caddie is handled
  • the false fame and money hunting women the pro golfer might attract
  • dealing with the press, false headlines.

Maybe the star could even be a female golfer.

Sentence chopped off above:

  • the struggle between being social the night before with the other players and doing what’s you feel is best for your game, only to discover relaxing with friends is better than practicing on the floodlighted practice green until midnight.

Thank you EVERYONE.
Cypress, I thought of Jack Wagner too. I put his name in a poll on the book’s website where I asked readers to vote on who they thought should play me in the movie. I haven’t tried to get in touch with him yet but I have talked to one common friend who read the book and he said Wagner would definately be interested. We’ll see.
I also talked to a good friend named Scott Neeson who is the former president of 20th Century Fox and was responsible for worldwide marketing of TITANIC, BRAVE HEART, and a few other huge movies meaning he knows what he is talking about. (He said he too was frustrated by the casting in BAGGER VANCE). He told me the problem with golf movies is that the audience is the 30 - 60 year old man and that group of the population just doesn’t go to movies very often. The big movie-going population is children and teenagers. That’s why cartoons like THE LION KING and teenage movies like AMERICAN PIE, PRETTY IN PINK, FRIDAY THE 13th, etc do so well. Even TITANIC is really a young adult movie. Scott suggested shooting the movie in the normal fashion but marketing it on and selling it through THE GOLF CHANNEL as a DVD. That’s a long way off but has to be considered early as making a movie is incredibly expensive. Can I get my money back or will it become an expensive “hobby”.
For my part, I plan to expand some of the other parts of the book which may have more universal appeal (such as the relationship I had with “The Badminton Girl”, maybe some card-counting flashbacks and of course the surgery I do on the children. Believe me, they will steal the show.
I have to figure out a way to keep the subject matter varied enough to interest the main movie-going public but still deliver the golf movie we have all been waiting for.
Yes Jack Wagner would attract lots of young women- that would help. By the way, the poll included me, Wagner, Billy Crudup (ALMOST FAMOUS, BIG FISH with a Hcp of 3), Faldo, and Jim Carrey (as a joke- I don’t know if he even plays golf). I got about 80% of the votes. Wagner was an easy second in the voting but is clearly the best choice if i could afford him.
There are so many locations in the movie (TPC Sawgrass in Florida, MIT, Las Vegas, Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand, etc.) that using a name guy like Wagner would cost bundles. See why I wanted to use myself? But no, its a bad idea because I am too old and my one foray into acting taught me that it is alot harder than it looks.
OK enough of me talking.
I am reading each and every one of your comments very carefully and THANK YOU.

Styles, not only are you a brilliant thread-maker (THANKS!) but I think you may have a future as a casting director. :laughing:


Several thoughts on the cost cutting aspect of the project:

The multiple locations aspect would indeed be expensive (perhaps more so than hiring Wagner for the lead role). Instead, I suggest looking into filming the SE Asian portion of the movie in the States. Louisiana (where I live) would be a great location for several reasons: (1) The terrain and climate are much like SE Asia (most of the training for the soldiers during the Viet Nam war was done at Fort Pike in SE Louisiana for these very reasons) (2) We have a large SE Asian population in the New Orleans area (Vietnamese, Thai, Cambodian). This could provide the cast of extras needed for the filming of the SE Asian portion of the project (3) Many big films are now being made in the state of Louisiana because the tax credits offered by the state makes it a great place to make movies economically. Mr. Neesom may be able to back me up on this. (4) Because of #3, we have a ton of experienced local (read: cheap labor) actors to fill out the remaining roles in the film. (5) Finally, geographically speaking, filming in Louisiana would make it more feasible to economically film the Mississippi and Florida parts of the project.

I may have other ideas about using a less expensive leading man than Mr. Wagner…stay tuned…


That’s a good suggestion Cypress but I think the varied locations (in foreign countries where few people speak english and the cultures are so different) is so central to the movie that I must shoot it “on location”. In other words, the locations and the loneliness of and struggles with traveling around on tour is an essential part of the story. Plus, I think the varied locations will be interesting to the general audience viewers that we must get for the project to be financially viable. People will want to see what the back alleys of Phnom Penh look like, and the girlie bars, and the Generals playing on the local course, etc. That’s why I thought I would have to play me- it would save a huge amount of money since “I” will be in almost every scene. Plus I can scarf actual locations from the Asian Tour (establishment shots of Q school, tour events, etc. which would save a bundle.)In Lousiana, I’d have to build those sets which would be very expensive. Also, I know some of my friends on tour would help me too- something I can’t get if I shoot it in Lousianna.
No, I’ve got to do it all on location. Even THE GOLF CHANNEL studios. There is a scene in the movie when I was interviewed there during the Ap Bay Hill Inv a couple of years ago. It would be so easy to shoot it there instead of building the set
If Jack Wagner was interested and wanted to take 2 months off, we could do it all with him, no problem.

Yes more suggestions on lead actor… Ethan Hawke, Kevin Bacon, great but very expensive and most importantly, they must be able to play scratch golf at least and be able to perform surgery realistically or it will look silly like all of the other golf films (and surgery films for that matter). Who can do it?
I know Wagner used to play a doctor on GENERAL HOSPITAL… :laughing:

Adam Baldwin? Plays close to scratch.

cheers doc, yet another title for my resume!

One more to add to my ‘jack of all trades, master of none’ moniker!

Doc, I think you’ve got to go with unknowns (ready to add actor to my monikor any time you need me :wink: ) or get the well known guys to do it for ‘love of the game’.

Regarding the surgery, ok us guys who play decent golf can spot a hacker on screen but I doubt anyone except surgeons will spot that the lead knows next to nothing about cutting people up and sticking em back together!

ps I happen to know a heart surgeon who can train me up :smiley:

Agree about the surgeon Styles–you can act out an operation but the golf swing, no way. Boy we picked a tough hobby.

But you wouldn’t necessarily need a scratch player or better, many low singles have just as competent looking swings for the screen. Many pros have swings that would come across as hackers on screen if we didn’t know that they weren’t hackers.

Yes some low handicap golfers have good swings but it is very unusual to find a 3 handicapper who swings as well (I’m not necessarily talking “pretty” here) as a +3. Look at the actors who have played pros in the golf movies… Matt Damon, Kevin Kostner, Don Johnson, Mason Gamble… None of them could break 100 in a PGA tournament- not even close. I’m just saying it looks stupid, silly (choose your adjective) to see it in the first 20 seconds of a golf movie. Dana Quigley does not have a pretty swing but ask any tour pro and they’ll say “solid as a rock” to describe his swing. It would look good in a movie too. I’m not looking for Luke Donald here necessarily; just a solid full swing and proper chipping and especially pitching technique. I didn’t really know I had “it” until Paul Azinger told me; but I knew it when I saw it; even back then before I started to play. Just watch the PGA players pitching balls before a round (next to the scratch amateurs in a pro-am); you’ll see what I mean. A few years after I had that day in the book playing with Mark McCumber when I shot 71 at the TPC Stadium course and he told my brother that I could maybe make it on tour if I learned how to play under pressure and cleaned up my act a little, I ran into him in Florida. I asked him what made him think I could do it; “Was it the score I shot?”, I asked. . “Not really”, he said. “It was the quality of the strike.”
That’s what I’m looking for.
About the surgery, you’d be surprised how hard it is for an actor to learn how to tie a knot like a surgeon. I was the doctor on a movie set once and I spent 3 days trying to teach the actor how to tie a one-handed knot. He couldn’t do it at all even bare-handed (ie without gloves on) and finally the director gave up and had to film me sewing up the wound and tieing the knots. Alec Baldwin tied a knot in the movie MALICE…or did he… Look closely. He is moving his hands but there is no suture there! And he still screwed it up!. Anyway, Do you guys agree with me that one of the reasons HOOSIERS was so good is because they got some kids who could play?

Here’s some trivia for you all…

Yours truly appeared a cameo in what movie?

George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Andy Garcia, Matt Damon, Brad Pitt, Elliott Gould, Bernie Mac and others?