These days Larry David probably gets as much notoriety for portraying his distant cousin Bernie Sanders on “Saturday Night Live” as he does for playing his alter ego on “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”
The HBO comedy series, which recently debuted its 10th season, is a cult classic, though. And one of the recurring themes has always been David’s love-hate affair with the game of golf.
Remember the classic episode about the black swan? And the one where David tries to retrieve his favorite 5-wood from a friend’s casket?
Well, if you do, you’re speaking Martin Trainer’s language. And don’t be surprised if the Californian, who defends his first PGA TOUR title this week at the Puerto Rico Open, writes a sitcom of his own someday.
“I've always been a fan of comedy,” says Trainer, who actually met David once at Riviera Country Club while a student at USC. “I had this idea of inspiration watching a lot of ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ episodes where it was set at a golf course. There's quite a few of them and those were always my favorite episodes.
“And I always thought, you know what, I'll bet someone could write a sitcom that was based at a golf course. ... You go to the golf course and there's all sorts of characters -- there's the guy who wears too much sunscreen and there's the cart girl and there's all the people playing golf and drinking at the course. I think that that can be sort of combined into an interesting idea.”
Trainer jots those potential plot lines into his smart phone, sometimes multiple times a day. He has a sounding board of friends from his days at USC, one of whom had made a documentary and another who is interested in comedy writing, that he can run his ideas past to get their reactions.
I like to laugh on the course. Can’t you tell? https://t.co/eNfD8rDwcy— Martin Trainer (@MartinDTrainer) September 5, 2019
Like the story Trainer heard about a kid climbing into a tractor parked on the side of hill at one tournament. He pulled the emergency brake and the tractor slid down into a lake. What is there was an epidemic of that happening at different golf courses, Trainer thought?
“Oh, and so obviously, ball markers -- people use coins,” Trainer says. “But I thought of this idea like what if you know one of the characters in like a sign of protest had a ball marker that was not shaped legally so it was like a cone or like a mound. Then players would be hitting it and be bouncing off the marker and it would just cause a lot of conflict.
“So, these types of things that I'm paying attention to throughout the day and you know I try to write a couple of notes every single day of things that I observe that could be funny scenarios and so it's always sort of on my mind.”
Trainer says he’s a fan of stand-up comedians like Chris Rock, Jerry Seinfeld and Dave Chappelle. But even more, he’s a student of sitcoms like “The Office” and “South Park" and “Family Guy.” The nomadic life of a PGA TOUR pro offers many opportunities to hunker down in front of a TV, too.
“You have a lot of time in your hotel room,” Trainer says. “It's like the lifestyle is kind of built for it when you're on the road. You're practicing during the day but in the evenings or at night and travel days you have a little bit of spare time.
“So, I've been choosing to use that time to sort of study up on all of these and take notes.”
But his peers on the PGA TOUR can rest easy. When and if Trainer ever writes his sitcom, the characters will more than likely be caricatures than recognizable real-life personalities.
“I don't think that any of the characters are going to be accurate representations of anyone,” he says. “It's going to be exaggerated versions of different people and different athletes that I have observed.
“So, it will just be more of a general thing as in, you know, sort of the idea of a really insecure golfer or the over-competitive player who thinks he should be doing way better than he is. Or, the guy who can't stop talking to the cart girl and he thinks that she's interested in him but she's not at all.”