PENALTY STROKES PILOT SCREENING
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.
NAPLES — 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.
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.
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.”