Another Hole in One for Netflix : The Short Game

The Short Game : Adrian RubinIt seems as though the meteoric rise of Netflix’s viewership is unstoppable. Over the past two years alone, Netflix has gone from a viewership of 37.55 million to 65.55 million! While this sort of unprecedented rise in subscription digital viewing speaks volumes about where the television model is going, it also speaks to a successful model. As of late, Netflix has gone from solely investing in licensing agreements with blockbusters and indie films alone, these past few years have relied heavily in building a brand name that stands not only for licensing interesting films, but Netflix has invested heavily in original programming and doesn’t seem to shy away from taking risks in terms of subject matter or the type of content that may seem (on the surface) to appeal to a smaller demographic to begin with. Netflix seems to be dominating the field of original programming when it comes to subscription/streaming services – comparable to Hulu, Amazon Video or Apple TV.

One of the most recent releases backed from Netflix is a compelling documentary on young golfers entitled, “The Short Game”. The film follows some of the best golfers in the world as they prepare for the Holy Grail of Tournaments, the “World Championships of Junior Golf”, which takes place at the hallowed ground of the Pinehurst Golf course in Pinehurst, North Carolina. They also happen to be 7-years old. See the trailer below.

On the outset it may seem a bit ludicrous – the idea of watching  a bunch of first and second-graders playing the notoriously “old man’s” game of golf. However, these kids have not only been playing golf, but living, breathing and thinking golf for nearly the whole of the seven years of their time on earth. These children take the game seriously – as do their parents, and the World Championships of Junior Golf are known to be the breeding ground for future heavyweights in the PGA.

There’s something incredible about witnessing these future pros at work as they train day in and day out in hopes of having this win be the first of many awards to come in their professional careers. This Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel-produced movie follows 8 subjects – from both the US and abroad. We see not only their daily routines as they prepare for the 2012 championships, but we also see the attachments that their parents have to their children’s identities as mini golf-pros.

While at times this stage-parent dynamic can be a bit uncomfortable to witness, the personalities and seeming balance that the children maintain allows you to slip into the film without being too worried. The kids truly steal the show and it’s amazing to watch them swing from the gravitas of the put-upon adulthood of a child prodigy, to the bold and unapologetic free-spiritedness of childhood.

Whether you love golf or not, I highly recommend that you check out this film.