COLUMBIA — On the sixth tee of the Lake of the Woods golf course, actor Lucas Black takes a swing. The ball soars down the middle of the 427-yard fairway, the quick "ping" of his driver is the only sound. He watches his ball bounce and then picks up his bag and starts walking slowly with his girlfriend to the ball.
He takes in the cool breeze, green trees and the other natural beauties golf courses hold. He seems focused, not saying much to his girlfriend, but relaxed too.
Black is used to the hustle and bustle of Hollywood, the high-pressure movie sets, but unlike most actors who love big cities, he is most at home outdoors.
Black is actually the exact opposite of a Hollywood actor. He is quiet and humble. He never talks about going to movie premiers or any parties with celebrities and is extremely friendly. When he greets you, he speaks with a slow, soft-spoken southern Alabama accent, and has an infectious smile. Golf pro John Weston, who has worked with Black on his golf swing for two years, says he’s nothing like most Hollywood actors.
“He’s the antithesis of a Hollywood actor. He’s a real down-to-earth young man. He’ll show up for his movie premiers, but he never hangs around those guys,” Weston said.
Black, who is participating in the Francis Hagan Match Play Tournament, began playing golf when he was 16 in Alabama. Now golf has become a way to take a breather from the pressure-packed life on the movie set.
“Golf is my passion. It’s good to get away from the excitement of Hollywood,” Black said.
Black tries to play golf at least twice a week when he’s shooting a movie, and can be found on the links every day when he’s not. Black has been able to transition the motivation and energy he puts into movies into his golf game. Because of that energy, Black has been able to bring his score down to the low 70s. However, Weston says that while it has helped make him a better golfer, it has been a disadvantage as well.
“The one problem he has is his emotions. To be a good actor you have to express a lot, but in golf he needs to calm himself down,” Weston said. “I try and get him to channel his emotions and energy and play within.”
Black became an actor when he was 10, after landing the part of Ebb in the movie "The War." He enjoyed the experience and began getting calls to act in several other movies. He has acted in the films "Sling Blade," "Jarhead," "Friday Night Lights," and most recently "The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift." Black, who grew up in Alabama, decided to move to Columbia after meeting his girlfriend while shooting the movie "Killer Diller," in Fayette six years ago.
“I like it here. Missouri is a beautiful state. You can do outdoor things like hunting and fishing. It just has everything I want and need,” Black said.
Since the move to Missouri, he has played in several Missouri Golf Association tournaments. Black mostly competes in stroke play tournaments, but enjoys the competitiveness of match play.
“Match play, in my opinion, brings out the best in my golf game. You can really feed off your opponents,” Black said.
After shooting a 71 to qualify for the tournament, Black hopes he can be more successful than he was two years ago. That year, he lost in the first day of match play, but has a more optimistic outlook this year.
“I’m looking forward to playing my game tomorrow. I wasn’t happy with some of my putts, and missed a couple of birdies, but if I putt well, I’ll be tough to beat,” Black said.
The first round of match play will begin at 8 a.m. Sunday at Lake of the Woods golf course.