Greatest hits: Golf & Movies

March 13, 2019

Films and golf courses are mediums through which artists express their values, opinions and beliefs as well as vehicles for investors to make a profit.


After watching the HBO series Project Greenlight, a one-hour weekly show that documents the process of a creating a real Hollywood movie, I began to ponder the strikingly similar process of making a movie and creating a golf course, which I design for a living. Golf courses and movies both stem from the creative process, both are artistic endeavors requiring the combined efforts of many people.


Films and golf courses are mediums through which artists express their values, opinions and beliefs as well as vehicles for investors to make a profit. Both forms of art/commercial enterprise have similarities, including the key players, which are critical to whether a film or golf project receives Oscar from the Academy of Motion Pictures or a “Best Of” award from Golf Magazine or Golf Digest. Looking at these respective artistic genres in a comparative light will show that the artistic process, no matter which medium, is often enjoyable, frustrating and rewarding.

So, for the upcoming editions of 2019, I will compare the parallel imaginative roles and facets involved with movie-making and golf course-creating.

After watching a movie that inspires me, I often wonder:  who was truly responsible for creating the powerful response from my emotions?   While observing the credits, as hundreds of names scroll down the screen, I ask myself: would the movie have changed perspective had different actors played different roles? Or, how the movie may have been translated differently by another director, and thereby have created a better or worse experience for me.

Similarly, after playing a golf course that truly inspires me, I become curious as to who was responsible for the pleasant (or unpleasant) experience. Just as with a film, there are hundreds of people involved in the process of creating a golf course. And, just as with film, a golf course would have a different feel or character or quality, depending on the people involved in its creation.
Movie producers and golf course owners are cut from the same cloth. The producer of a movie and the owner of a golf course are the people that have a creative vision, and are willing to take a risk to make that vision a reality. Both understand that it takes a talented team of creative professionals to generate a well-received project. Successful golf course owners and movie producers appreciate the key to success is entrusting the professional team assembled to create a work of art – with their money.

Sân golf Yên Dũng
Yen Dung Golf Course

This is not to say that owners and producers cannot play duel roles in these creative processes, often they wear two hats. For example, Oscar winning director Steven Spielberg is often the producer as well as the director of films, such as 1993 Oscar winning film Shindlers List.

On the golf course side, owners such as Michigan’s Ron Otto at Garland are known to have financed their successful projects, as well as having done the design work as well.

The producer/owner of a film or golf course is the most critical role for these respective artistic endeavors. Without these visionary risk-takers, there would be no project. Their vision is what drives the process, and makes the project a reality. Quality producers and owners know that it requires a team effort to truly create a great film or golf course. And, to this end, they will seek out the best players for each role, and give them the freedom to do what they do best.


Paul Albanese, ASGCA is a principal with Albanese & Lutzke, Golf Course Architects/Construction Managers.  They have an office in Plymouth, Michigan and are currently working on golf course projects in many countries.



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