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‘The Short Game’: An Interesting Look into the Minds of Golf’s Most Driven Children

By Daniel Crystal

The document film The Short Game, directed by Josh Greenbaum, follows the

eight best 7 and 8 year-old golfers in the world in the months leading up to the World

Championship at Pinehurst. The film spends about 30 minutes following the eight kids in

the months before the championship, and then about an hour covering their play in the

World Championship tournament. This unique film gives you a peak into the lives and

minds of some of the most driven kids in the world.

The film does a segment for each kid starting with Allan Kournikova, age 7, from

Florida. We then meet Zama Nxasana, age 8, from South Africa, Kuang Yang, age 7,

from China, Alexa Pano, age 7, from Florida, Jed Dy, age 8 from the Philippines,

Augustin Valery, age 8, from France, and Sky Sudberry, age 8, from Texas, and Amari

Avery, age 8, from California. Not only do we hear the stories from the kids, but also

from their parents. These are no regular seven and eight year-olds. In the film, we see that

each of them have a different, unique personalities. There is the goofy, social, laid back

Zama and then the completely opposite autistic and reserved Jed Dy.

You go into this film thinking you will have no compassion for the problems

these kids face as talented, often highly-privileged kids, but you cannot help but feel

impressed and in awe at their amazing drive, work ethic, dedication, and incredible talent.

Many of these kids have been practicing for five hours a days since they were toddlers,

and Greenbaum is sure to capture that early on. The juxtaposition between the kids being

kids–running through the hotel hallways, playing in the bunkers like they are sandboxes,

and wrestling, and them being golfers: showing raw emotion, playing a difficult game

and making it look easy, and acting like adults, is incredible to watch. You have to

appreciate their skill at their craft and their willingness to throw away a normal childhood

to be a golf champion.

This film will not only make you laugh on a rare occasion, but it will also

possibly bring you to tears. You can’t help but laugh at the commotion caused by a rain

delay during the first day of the tournament. Little kids and their parents are thrown into a

rain, and things get a little out of control. It makes you laugh, watching the parents blow

up in anger and curse when their kids miss a putt. Despite that you have to feel sympathy

for these parents. Amari Avery’s parents live humble lives and still sacrifice so much for

her to be a champion golfer. They aren’t selfishly driving their kids to be good at golf, so

that they will be rich and successful, but rather they are allowing the kids to follow their

own passion. The interviews held on the side give the viewers a perspective into what is

happening during the competition. It is hard not to cry when the autistic, Jed Dy is given

a 10 stroke penalty because he arrived a few minutes late to the tee after the confusion of

the rain delay. You have seen all the hard work he has put in during the year leading up to

championship and his whole life, but he finishes far back instead of in first place after the

penalty.

This film brings us to the realization that these kids are human just like the rest of

us; they just know exactly what they want and are willing to do whatever it takes and

work as hard as possible to achieve their dreams of becoming professional golfers. You

can’t help but root for them, as you watch them compete in the World Championship.

This is a world few of us get to see, because few of us have it inside of us to be the top of

our games. These young outliers in society have bright futures ahead and the film has us

in a feel-good mood after watching it, even though we realize some seven and eight year-

olds could kick our asses at golf. This film teaches us what it takes mentally to be a

winner. Appearances from golf greats, Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus, further strengthen

the integrity of the film as we watch it. The soundtrack is also a plus. This is a must

watch for anyone who plays golf or any other sport. If you want to know what it takes to

be great, watch this film.

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