The Back Nine Hits Film Festival

An above average golfer, armed with determination, a competitive spirit and a longing to “become what he always wanted to be", accepts the challenge to chase his dream of playing professional golf and embarks on a journey that will change his life forever.

That is the premise behind The Back Nine, a movie fresh off an enthusiastic response from the Newport Beach Film Festival.

The subject is also the director/producer/writer. The film is centered on Jon Fitzgerald, most known for starting Slamdance Film Festival in 1995. Fitzgerald returned last month to the Newport Beach Film Festival as a filmmaker for the first time in 15 years. He shares credits with the talented director Ron Vignone.

Fitzgerald, unlike professional golfers who earn a living on the course, had to find a way to balance this new goal with his family life, while working to pay the bills. His hardest challenge, finding enough time to bring his game to the highest level conflicted with the demanding hours of a day job as a filmmaker and festival consultant.

Eventually, in order to put his new game to the test, he joins The Golf Channel’s Amateur Tour, and competes in tournaments throughout the year. The final goal was to reach the National Championships in Orlando, Fla. He learns that golf mirrors life, the need for patience and discipline, focus and imagination.

The film was an opportunity to come to terms with his father figures, a broken home and his identity. Recognizing where they fell short, Fitzgerald saw his turn at fatherhood as a chance to “break the cycle” and gain a new approach to life, family and golf.

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