Friday, September 20, 2013

Good Fun, Cute Kids in "The Short Game"


“The Short Game” Has Big Appeal

By Skip Sheffield

Like golf?
Even if you don’t you may like “The Short Game,” which features two Palm Beach County children who are star golfers.
Allan Kournikova, 7, of Palm Beach, and Alexa Pano, 7, of Lake Worth are two of eight world-class golfers aged 7 or 8 competing in the youngest class of champion golfers at Pinehurst, North Carolina in a documentary film by Emmy Award-winner Josh Greenbaum.
The title is a pun of course. These kids are equally good at short, middle and long games, and they are so darn cute. The others are Zamokuhle Nxasana, 8, of South Africa; Kuang Yang, 7, of China; Jed Dy of the Philippines; Augustin Valery, 8, of France; Sky Sudberry, 8, of Texas and Amari “Tigress” Avery of Riverside, California.
Greenbaum introduces us to each of the children, then shows them competing, under pressure.
Allan Kournikova and Alexa Pano get a lot of camera time, as do their home courses in Florida. The astounding thing about “Short Time” is how good these kids are, and how graceful under pressure. They are a virtual United Nations of golf, yet they are still children and subject to childish emotions. Sky Sudberry is so tiny she looks 4 or 5-year-old rather than 8. If she tires of the game of golf she could be a beauty queen.
Greenbaum also shows the parents and coaches and their roles in the grooming and training of the young athletes. Some of the parents are distinctly pushy. Others have superstitious quirks. A couple are completely clueless about the game of golf. To put the game in perspective we hear from old pros Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus, Chi Chi Rodriguez and John Nieporte and Bob Toski, who coached in Boca Raton.

The culmination of “The Short Game” is the final day of three days of the annual world competition at Pinehurst. I will not spoil the plot by revealing the winners. It is safe to say getting there is 90 percent of the fun. This short (100 minutes) fast-moving film is a wonderful advertisement for the challenges and joys of golf. You may leave with a mad desire to take up the game.