Movie Monday – Tin Cup

When we lived in Kingwood, Texas, in the 1990s, they filmed the movie “Tin Cup” on the beautiful golf course there.  We weren’t members of the golf club,  but friends got to see the filming of the final tournament for the movie.  The actors ( starring Kevin Costner (Roy) and Rene Russo, Cheech Marin and Don Johnson) were seen in local businesses and always very friendly. This is a fun, relaxing movie.  The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

EDITOR’S NOTE: We are republishing this story as today, August 16, 2017, marks the 21-year anniversary of Tin Cup’s release.

In the spirit of the Oscars on Sunday, we decided to take a closer look at “Tin Cup”, one of the greatest golf movies ever made, and specifically, the memorable final scene where Kevin Costner’s character makes a 12 on the final hole of the U.S. Open. It’s served as a rallying cry for a stubborn, go-for-broke, never-lay-up attitude that a lot of golfers (and movie goers) found refreshing.The course, at least in the movie, is set in North Carolina.

In reality, Kingwood Country Club (just northeast of Houston, Texas) was used for much of the movie. Kingwood Country Club is comprised of five courses (Island, Lake, Marsh, Forest and Deerwood). Scenes for “Tin Cup” were shot on the Forest Course and Deerwood, as well as at the Kingwood clubhouse for the bar scene, where Costner won a bet by knocking a pelican off its roost.

The famous final scene of the movie — the par-5 18th hole in the U.S. Open — is actually Deerwood’s par-4 fourth hole.“It’s just an incredibly demanding par 4,” said Darrell Fuston, Director of Golf for Kingwood Country Club. “The prevailing wind is normally into you off the tee so hitting the fairway is very difficult. If you miss the fairway it’s an automatic lay up. It’s one of the best golf holes in Texas.”

Roy (Costner) pars out the second nine holes of his US Open local qualifier after breaking all of his clubs except for his seven iron. His score for the round was 29-36, 65. The scene at the end of the movie where Roy hits the shot into the water hazard again and again was based on an actual event. Gary McCord, the commentator with the handlebar mustache in the movie, is an actual commentator and pro golfer. In a 1987 tournament he had a shot similar to Kevin Costner’s. He needed a birdie to win and went for it. He hit the water over and over again and finally made the shot, but it cost him 15 strokes. In the movie Costner gets it in 12. 
The scene where Roy wins a bar bet by hitting a golf ball at a pelican also was based on a real life incident from McCord’s career.

Even in a state as big as Texas that’s so rich in great golf courses, the fourth hole at Deerwood is regarded by many as one of the most difficult in the Lone Star State. “It’s a hole that has stood the test of time,” Phenicie said. “It’s a hard hole. And a famous one, too. “We have a marble plaque that marks the spot where Roy McAvoy hit the miraculous shot in the movie,” Martin said. “Guys like to take bets and drop a ball from the spot to take their shot at glory. There are a lot of war stories about hole No. 4, especially after golf tournaments. The round/score has been lost on No. 4 many times for players.”


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