Josh Duhamel on How Golf Bonded Him with His Dad: It Was a Way to 'Spend Time with Him'
The love of golf runs deep in Josh Duhamel's family.
The Transformers star, 47, makes a living thanks to his work in Hollywood, but when he's not on sets or enjoying the great outdoors around his cabin in Minnesota, Duhamel relishes in the peace of mind he feels when on a golf course.
"I love to get out there. Mostly for me anymore, it's about getting outside, it's an opportunity to connect with nature, in a way," he tells PEOPLE. "Especially if I've been living in Los Angeles, or a big city, it's a way for me to get out in some open space and just chill with the dogs, hang out for a bit. I couldn't even tell you what I scored in the last hole. It's mostly just a way to unplug and just relax."
Duhamel has been a frequent participant in the AT&T Pro Am and recently partnered with Meiomi Wines, the Official Wine of the PGA TOUR. He'll also be hosting an Instagram Live on Monday night, leading up to the golf tournament in Augusta this November, with Claude Harmon II, notable golf coach to Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson and more.
The actor and former model tells PEOPLE he began playing golf as a child, encouraged by his dad. "It was a way for me to go out and spend time with him, and I always got his hand-me-down clubs," he says. "So it was always something that I remember it going all the way back to when I was really young."
Now a father to his own son, Axl, 7, with ex-wife Fergie, Duhamel says he's trying to forge that same special bond.
"He likes to go ride along in the cart with me," Duhamel says of his son. " You go hit a few balls with a small kid, you go... run through the sand traps. I spend most of the time raking sand traps, when I go out with him, than I do actually golfing. But that's how you get them hooked on the game. I don't ever push it on him. I just try to expose it to him and over time and hopefully he'll take a liking to it and start trying to get there at some point."
"That's how my dad taught me," Duhamel recalls. "We would go out and just pick up different colored tees. That'd be the tee that you put the ball on, and I'd pick the colored ones, and my sister and I would get so excited to tee up and collect these little tees off the course. It's one of my first memories of golf."
Duhamel is currently in Mexico where he's busy filming the action-thriller Blackout, but during most of the pandemic he took the opportunity to "unplug and reset" at his cabin in Minnesota.
"I spent a lot of really great time with my son out there," he says. "We never felt like we were locked inside because out at the cabin, you're just out there in the woods."
Duhamel says the escape was was a great way for him and Axl to "take a breath" and "do the things that are most important me."
"That's being outside, that's developing my land out there, that's spending time with my son. We tried to make the most out of something that could have been really depressing."
Also keeping him busy has been putting the finishing touches on his directorial debut, Buddy Games, which opens in theaters Nov. 20 and is available On Demand, DVD and digital on Nov. 24. The comedy follows six friends who reunite after five years following a falling out. Duhamel's character, Bob, reunites his friends for the Buddy Games, an insane competition of absurd mental and physical challenges that offers the winner a $150,000 jackpot.
"This is something that my buddies and I do every year called the Buddy Games," he says. "It was an opportunity for me to sort of tell it through my lens — what friendship means, and how important those friendships are as you grow older. I think in this day and age it's okay to have a movie that's a little bit wild and crazy, and not so politically correct, and it's okay to let loose. And that's definitely what we do in this movie."
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