You never know who you are going to meet on a golf course.
Or, in the case of Tim McEneny, the driving range.
McEneny had gone to the back of the PGA Golf Club playing field 20 months ago to hit balls. He saw a man in a wheelchair hitting balls with his dog.
McEneny was almost certain who the man was. When they crossed paths it was confirmed, “You are Dennis Walters, aren’t you? McEneny said.
It was Walters, who had traveled from his Jupiter home to Port St. Lucie in March 2020 because COVID-19 had closed golf courses in Palm Beach County. Walters wanted to hit balls and allow his dog, Gussie, to run.
“It was serendipity,” McEneny said. “I just ran into him. “
McEneny knew Walters’ brave story of how his dreams of playing professional golf for a living were shattered when he was paralyzed in a golf cart accident at the age of 24. Walters reinvented his career as a trick-shot artist and amazed and inspired millions of people with over 3,300 exhibits.
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McEneny also knew about Walters’ story because his instructor, Wayne Warms, just happens to be Walter’s best friend. Another stroke of luck.
“You should make a movie about your life,” McEneny told Walters. “Dennis said, ‘You are the second person to tell me in the last 24 hours. Maybe I should. ‘ “
This chance encounter started a relationship which produced the documentary “Get A New Dream!” which aired Monday night on The Golf Channel and rebroadcast Wednesday at 5 p.m.
“Get a new dream” is a line that Walters uses on all of his shows and that he gave in his 2019 World Golf Hall of Fame induction speech. The line was the perfect title for the documentary narrated by Jim Nantz .
“I know a good story when I hear one, and Dennis’s is a great story, so inspiring,” McEneny said. “Everyone loves a comeback story and Dennis’s story is the greatest comeback story in sports history.”
McEneny was an entrepreneur who was CEO of an Internet software company for 28 years before retiring and moving to Port St. Lucie ten years ago. He wrote a book on entrepreneurship. He had no experience in the television and entertainment industry, but his family was heavily involved.
Her mother was a Broadway actress, her father was a Broadway and television director, and her brother, Tom, won two CBS Emmy Awards for producing / editing special reports.
After attending several film festivals in Vero Beach, McEneny thought he could direct his own film as an executive producer.
“Every time I went to the film festival, I was like, ‘I can do this,'” said McEneny. “Now it’s my turn.”
Production was delayed for four months due to COVID, but once they started, McEneny was amazed at how many legendary golfers were ready to help tell Walters’ story.
We’re talking about Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player and Tiger Woods. There is an older interview with Arnold Palmer. And having the legendary announcer Nantz do the storytelling was also a hit.
“We interviewed over 20 people,” McEneny said. “We were fortunate that Tiger did a PR shoot for TaylorMade at the Walters (Trump National Golf Club) course after last year’s Masters and we were able to have him briefly.”
Due to the sensitive nature of the story, McEneny and his team relied on Walters’ comments. Walters said he liked the finished product.
“I think Tim and (director) Alex Vishno did a great job,” Walters said. “I am very happy with the way it went.”
Could McEneny reinvent his career at 73 like Walters did at 24? Doubtful.
“Not unless I stumble upon something else,” McEneny said.
But you never know when karma and fate collide.
Ken Duke of Stuart hosted his annual charity tournament Monday at the Floridian in Palm City. Among the celebrities in attendance were NFL Hall of Fame member John Daly and Eric Dickerson. Duke said he hopes to raise over $ 400,000 for the folds of honor, the Treasure Coast first tee, the LIFT project and the Martin County Little League… There are still few spots available for the 35th. Treasure Coast Amateur Championship December 4-5 at Sandridge Golf Club in Vero Beach. The registration fee is $ 125 and includes two rounds of golf, shooting balls, a tee gift and Sunday lunch. For more information, visit sandridgegc.com
Craig Dolch is a TCPalm.com correspondent with over 30 years of golf writing experience.
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