If you think celebrity golf looks easy, try teeing off in front of hundreds of people—while you're already lying two.
I was playing in the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic earlier this year and was nervous. Sure, I've been onstage and made three dozen movies, but I'd never done anything this large in golf. Calling on my stage training, I took a deep breath, blanked out the crowd...and hit my first drive out-of-bounds.
There aren't any reshoots in golf. All I could do was reload and think, How did I get myself into this?
It started three years ago, when some friends took me to an executive course in Los Angeles. I hit some balls in the right direction and, at age 46, fell in love with the game. Since then I've played at least twice a week. I am now a 12 handicapper with enough power to win a recent celebrity long-drive contest. (The prize was a set of Cleveland clubs. I said, "I just hit one 313 yards. What do I want with new clubs?") I now own five sets of clubs, including the Cobras that appeared in my film 187, then appeared in my house when the movie was finished. Yes, I kept them.
Here's another perk: playing with Sidney Poitier. Sidney is very laid-back, but he's not above a little gamesmanship. If I'm a shot ahead, he'll say, "Remember who's the Hollywood legend here."
My golf helps me at home and on the job. After I play, no matter what I shoot, I'm a happier guy, easier to be around. At work the same calm that helps a golfer focus on one shot at a time can help an actor on a film set do the same thing.
My calm was tested at the Hope. But I relaxed and knocked the next one down the middle, hit the green and made the putt. Now the crowd was cheering, and I was thrilled with a bogey. That sort of thing makes golf stranger than fiction, even Pulp Fiction.