Don Cheadle has starred in ‘Avengers: Endgame’, ‘Hotel Rwanda’ and ‘House of Lies’, but rather than just firing movie shots, he’s pretty good at dispatching them on the golf course too.
A regular at the pro-am tournaments across the US, Cheadle has a decent handicap and can entertain the golfing galleries as well as movie fans.
The 55-year-old is as harsh on himself on the course as he is when filming on set, but he admits mistakes ‘need to be made to perfect your craft’ regardless of what you’re doing in life…
RSNG So, what’s your golf handicap? DON CHEADLE, ACTOR ‘My handicap has been quite a steady seven to 10 over the years. Over time I have played a lot better than that on particular days, as have we all… in particular days! But for every two or three rounds that I play well, there are one or two where my scores are in the 80s.’
‘I should have a much better handicap than that, but I cannot get the consistency right and I just don’t understand it, at all. It frustrates the hell out of me!’
RSNG You are another celebrity golfer who is a regular on the charity and foundation scene. What makes you happy to be involved at those events? DC ‘Yeah, I love playing at those events and it’s amazing to be there. The venues are always incredible, and the people are brilliant, too. It’s also usually where you will caught up with people who you maybe haven’t seen in a while. They’re nice sociable events with a competitive edge!’
‘Those who attend really feel the pressure of being up against their friends and colleagues. There’s a lot of banter and some will pretend they don’t take it seriously, but let me tell you, everyone does!’
RSNG How often do you practise or get to play just normal rounds in between acting? DC ‘Not all of my rounds are normal, hah! You know what I’m sayin’? I try to make sure I keep my golf game in check so I don’t have to keep practising all the time. But I do like to get on the range a lot, as well.’
‘I take it seriously though – I keep a close eye on ensuring I am keeping the right things in check. For me, it could be keeping my swing tight, perfecting my putting, or just choosing the right club.’
‘I will go through phases where I perfect one and a different thing falls out. That’s frustrating. They never seem to all click at the same time!’
In acting, if you don’t allow yourself to make those mistakes, you’ll never improve
RSNG How do you compare acting to golf? DC ‘Well, I can safely say that I am a much better actor than I am a golfer!’
‘That’s because I am so at home on a movie set or in front of the camera and what I mean by that is that when I am on the golf course, it sometimes feels like I need to mess up a few holes before I can be sure in my own mind that I belong there during an event.’
‘The first time that you make a mistake, you feel stupid and maybe a little bit embarrassed. But the more you make mistakes and learn from them, that allows you to make fewer as you go on. In acting, if you don’t allow yourself to make those mistakes, you’ll never improve.’
‘But on the golf course, making those mistakes just allows me to relax a bit more and just get on with playing my game.’
‘The other difference between acting and golf is that golf is live, and you only get to try things that you have practised on the range or in a casual round. In acting, I’ve learned from other actors that you can use up some takes to get exactly where you want to go. Trial and error on a golf course still counts as shots, haha!’
The thing is, in golf, just as in life, if you attempt to force anything it usually won’t turn out the way that you want it to
RSNG Do you watch other golfers on television or at the course and try to recreate a particular shot, just like you may have tried to copy a certain play in another sport, when you were a kid? DC ‘If I have, I can’t say that I have ever pulled it off, at least to the point where I am convinced that it’s turned out the same! What I can say is I can have moments where I feel like I am right in the zone or that my game is right on it, for a certain window of time.’
‘To say that I have played approach shots exactly where I wanted them to go, driven the ball as I have aimed and seen it in my mind, or made a long-range putt exactly how I wanted to hit it – that has certainly happened.’
‘The thing is, in golf, just as in life, if you attempt to force anything it usually won’t turn out the way that you want it to.’
‘It goes back to what I was saying earlier about allowing yourself the chance to make a mistake, having the humility to understand what went wrong, why it went wrong and how you can correct it.’
‘But maybe it can be a macho thing with a man where he thinks that just because he has muscles and an athletic physique, he can make anything happen at all? But it’s just not like that and it doesn’t pay to try and control something instead of just letting things happen the way they should.’
WHAT NEXT? Find out why Don Cheadle only relaxes on the golf course, and on the movie set, once he’s made a mistake – read RSNG’s [exclusive interview](URL TO COME) with the Avengers star.