This interview first appeared in the March 2019 issue of GOLF.
When Don Cheadle isn’t disappearing into a character for his latest movie (April’s blockbuster-to-be Avengers: Endgame) or TV series (Showtime’s Wall Street-in-the-’80s satire Black Monday), his friends know exactly where to find him — on a golf course.
In fact, the Oscar-nominated actor, 54, had just finished a round when we caught up with him in Hawaii.
I read that you’re a 7-handicap.
Yeah, but it’s trending down, which isn’t great for my gambling.
How did you get started in the game?
My father and my uncle played when I was young, and I’d be stuck at home with my sisters. At some point I was like, I want to be with them.
When you’re making a movie on location, there’s a lot of down time. What’s the best course you’ve played on a day off?
Well, when we were in Las Vegas shooting Ocean’s Eleven, we got to play Shadow Creek a lot. George [Clooney] hacks around a bit, and Matt [Damon], too.
What’s the best course you’ve ever played, period?
When the weather’s great, Pebble Beach is hard to beat. Cypress Point is amazing, too, for the history. If you’ve ever read The Match: The Day the Game of Golf Changed Forever, you’re like, Oh, this is where they doubled the bet.
Acting and golf — any similarities?
Oh, sure. In both, you’re playing what the course — or the scene — is giving you. You probably get more mulligans on a movie set, though. Some days. You get less of them on TV.
When you’re in L.A., you play a lot with Samuel L. Jackson, Anthony Anderson and Barry Bonds. Who’s the longest hitter?
Me. I mean, Barry Bonds is an insane animal. But out of the regular human beings, I’d say me.
Do you find the game to be peaceful or maddening?
Definitely peaceful. I used to get angry a lot, before I understood I wasn’t good enough to get angry. Missing a shot, shanking a ball, pulling it left — that’s what happens. Even the pros do it, and they hit 10,000 balls a week.
Who’s the best golfer you’ve ever played a round with?
I’ve played with Phil. He’s pretty good.
Is it a humbling experience, or does it up your game?
It kind of has no effect. But it’s nice to see a pro hit a terrible shot,
because you’re like, Oh, I’ve hit that shot before.
What’s your go-to club?
I don’t have one, but I love my 3-iron. I’m a range rat. I finished playing today and went to the range, and a guy was like, “It went that bad, huh?” And I was like, “No, it went great! I just want to keep feeling it!”