Friday, September 11, 2009

The Back Nine - Average Golfer Movie Review

The Back Nine
It's Time To Take Your Shot

The Back Nine is a documentary style film forwarded to me by the author, Jon Fitzgerald. It journals his efforts, upon reaching the age of forty, of elevating his golf game to the professional ranks. Who among us golf nuts haven't "Walter Mittied" our own games only to awake to the realism of a triple bogey on a dog track muni? Fitzgerald is afforded the opportunity to pursue his goal in more than proper fashion. He enlists a cadre of coaches to cover all the bases, mind, spirit, and body not the least. Truth be told, upon seeing his swing recorded on film, it's evident that he won't be starring on Sundays any time soon. He has an adequate move on the ball to be a consistent single digit handicap in most foursomes, but lacks the effortless power and grace that pro's possess. Still, his goal and dedication to it is genuine and we quickly can line up in his, (our), camp.

Golf is revealed to be secondary in The Back Nine. The introduction of his wife, father, and stepfather into the character list uncovers the crux of the story. I'm instantly jealous of his understanding spouse and am convinced that if mine had been half as understanding, I'd still be married. Mr. Fitzgerald's recovery of his relationship with his natural father, a colorful, spontaneous man, in contrast to his more stoic, grounded stepfather are the points in which the film grows legs and are the real ponderables. You see, The Back Nine is a dissertation on relationships and life with golf as the backdrop. We draw the analogy between Fitzgerald's journey and our own and in this respect the film succeeds. It relates.

I enjoyed The Back Nine, albeit not quite in the way I expected. Perhaps that was Fitzgerald's intent or maybe the natural conclusion to his chronicle. I am certain that the fact he did what many of us wish to was a large part of the appeal. Vicarious living is still living of sorts, right? Regardless, it was an easy 90 minutes or so that I'm glad I took the time to view. So should you.


  1. I have somehow felt that if you look over the ages, of all the sports, golf is the one which perhaps the richest collection of literature. Why I make this point is because I am convinced if there is a sport which could be considered “ideal” for writing or covering golf has to be the game. And while we have read great works, ranging from the tales of the Oldest Member in the world of PG Wodehouse, to writers who covered the sport for ages for a newspaper or a magazine, the fact is that on the television side, I have not seen nearly as much brilliance as this medium can provide.

    I guess a touch overboard, but why movies and documentaries like this are capable of moving you is because they are able to use golf as the perfect platform to express their lives and from what I read in your review, that is something that The Back Nine seems to have managed rather well.

    I would love to catch hold of this and see his tale. I do also hope that there are many more out there who can tap in on the potential in golf to make stirring stories, who can bring out some fine works.

  2. Yeah Andy, golf is a handy and accurate metaphor. I always liked the analogy that you could learn the measure of a man by spending 18 holes with him.

    I suppose it's golf's relative obscurity, compared to other major sports, that keeps it off of the "literary" airwaves.

    Thanks for the comments. Keep plugging!

  3. its really very fantastic article thanks for sharing this. golf is my most favorite game.

  4. Yea its good,& i am agree with Andy brown. very well said.

  5. Hard not to agree with Andy's perspective on the game. Check out his site.