Different strokes: Group of local golfers hoping to swing their way into reality show fame

During filming of the 'Penalty Strokes' pilot, Bob Frey, left, was forced to shine Scott Casselberry's shoes as part of their punishment on the reality-based golf comedy show the group of golfers hopes to get picked up by a major network.

Photo by Louis Hernandez

During filming of the "Penalty Strokes" pilot, Bob Frey, left, was forced to shine Scott Casselberry's shoes as part of their punishment on the reality-based golf comedy show the group of golfers hopes to get picked up by a major network. Photo by Louis Hernandez

Along with doing many other embarrassing things to each other, golfer Chris Zeo was forced to wear a diaper during filming of the 'Penalty Strokes' pilot because he was accused of being a baby.

Photo by Dave Myers

Along with doing many other embarrassing things to each other, golfer Chris Zeo was forced to wear a diaper during filming of the "Penalty Strokes" pilot because he was accused of being a baby. Photo by Dave Myers

What: Free public screening of “Penalty Strokes” pilot

When: 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 2. RSVP on the “Penalty Strokes” Facebook page

Where: The screening will be held at 7 p.m. at the Ole Theatre in Lely Resort, and will be preceded by cocktails at the Ole Pub in Lely Resort at 6:30.

— Golf is a game with a long and rich history. It has rules and regulations. It has pageantry.

And in Southwest Florida, it also has French maid costumes.

That’s thanks to a group of local men who call themselves the 7½ers Golf Society. Led by Neapolitan Jim Albert, the league gathers regularly to play a friendly-but-competitive game of 18 holes. After hitting the links, the league typically hits a neighborhood bar, which is where the golf gloves start to come off.

In addition to knocking back a few beers, the post-play bar stop is also the site of a mock court. Albert dons a white wig and becomes Judge Cleveland, granting the league a chance to reprimand their fellow golfers for violations of the United States Golf Association’s official rules and etiquette.

“We make it fun, but at the same time, you learn the rules of golf,” said Harland Jacobs, a member of the league.

For example, a player who dawdled too long in the bathroom was required to play his next golf game with a rubber chicken hanging out of his open pants fly. Another golfer was deemed a little too flirtatious at a league holiday party and was ordered to stroll into a Dunkin’ Donuts dressed in a Borat-style mankini to buy coffee for his golf foursome.

Even Albert and Jacobs haven’t escaped the league’s wrath: Albert has been tossed in a lake, while Jacobs was required to play while dressed in a French maid costume.

Harland Jacobs was penalized as part of the 'Penalty Strokes' show, and made to wear a maid costume for not filling his sand divot while on the golf course.

Photo by Dave Myers

Harland Jacobs was penalized as part of the "Penalty Strokes" show, and made to wear a maid costume for not filling his sand divot while on the golf course. Photo by Dave Myers

Don’t think that being a rule-abiding golfer will spare you, either.

“Sometimes, we just make things up if someone hasn’t been punished throughout the year,” Albert said.

Now, they hope to put all their antics on television. Working with a professional director, the group has filmed a pilot for a reality television show they’re calling “Penalty Strokes.”

Filmed at the ArrowHead golf course in North Naples, the “Penalty Strokes” pilot shows the men committing an assortment of egregious errors and Judge Steamer doling out much-deserved punishment. A female reporter dryly interviews the convicted, while two scantily-clad female bailiffs look on with distaste.

It’s all in good fun — although definitely not good, clean fun. In addition to the naughty bailiffs, there’s also naughty language. Many of the defendants — as well as Judge Cleveland — are clearly intoxicated. And if you don’t want to see what happens when a middle-aged man pours himself into a neon green mankini, it’s probably a good idea to stay away.

Jim Albert wears a wig during the filming of 'Penalty Strokes,' as his punishment for having a "blond moment."

Photo by Louis Hernandez

Jim Albert wears a wig during the filming of "Penalty Strokes," as his punishment for having a "blond moment." Photo by Louis Hernandez

Albert and Jacobs describe “Penalty Strokes” as the Professional Golf Association meets MTV’s “Jackass” meets Monty Python and “The People’s Court.” They hope the show will be picked up by a cable station such as Comedy Central, professional sports network Versus or the man-friendly channel Spike.

The men also believe the show could be tailored to highlight the gaffes of celebrity golfers.

In the meantime, they’re steamrolling local support for the show. The group has a “Penalty Strokes” Facebook page with almost 800 fans and will hold a free public screening of the show at Lely Golf Resort on Sept. 2. A RSVP is requested, and can be made by visiting the group’s Facebook page.

“The greatest hope is that it gets picked up by a major network and they want a bunch more episodes,” Jacobs said.

“This is so different than anything that’s out there,” Albert added. “And golf is so popular.”

E-mail Elizabeth Kellar at liz@elizabethkellar.com

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Comments » 2

treblanaples writes:

I love it! What a great idea. Golf can be a fun game and to see guys out there enjoying friendships and harassing each other is funny. Naples is perceived by others as a boring, conservative, old people town and this could be a chance to promote the area in a different light. It appears that they have a great crew with professional comedians involved. The trailer grabbed my interest and I hope I get a chance to see the entire show.
It also may help to bring some dollars to this area that has been hit hard by the down economy. Good luck and I hope you all get a chance to make it big.

harmaster1 writes:

Nice to see an attempt to make what is normally considered a "stuffy" sport into having a little fun and supporting the local economy. Hope it does well. Where do I sign up?

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