Actor Kevin Sorbo Golfs for Charity

Kevin Sorbo, Herculean golfer

Kevin Sorbo, Herculean golfer

Kevin Sorbo is a busy guy. When the actor most famous for his seven-year stint as the Greek demi-god Hercules isn’t filming, directing, producing, or spending time with family, he’s out on the golf links mainly for charity.

Sorbo participates in about 20 golf tournaments per year with pros and other entertainers. He also hosts a three-day tournament of his own annually in Las Vegas benefiting A World Fit for Kids! (WFIT) for which he is spokesperson and Board Chair.

I caught up with him earlier last month as he discussed wife and kids, career, and, of course, golf.

“I’ve done eight of the last 10 years of the Bob Hope (that) hooks up with the pros. The PGA raises a lot of money for charity. I’ve done the AT&T, 3M Championship, (and) the Outback Steakhouse with the pros. In Los Angeles, I’ve done about five or six of the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS (Foundation) tournaments (and) for Gary Player in South Carolina. I do a lot of these a year.”

Sorbo, also noted for portraying Captain Dylan Hunt on “Andromeda” for four years, admitted that although he doesn’t possess an addictive personality, golf is more than a hobby. He said people won’t read about him in the tabloids trashing hotel rooms or beating his wife, but they’ll see him online and in sports and golf magazines talking about the game.

He recently participated in the BMW Charity Pro-Am that aired on the Golf Channel last month, and where he answered some questions from the press.  Television commentators called him Hercules, an epithet that follows him everywhere as if his son of Zeus status might help his score.

Paired with pro Craig Bowden, Sorbo finished near the top after three days. When asked what he takes away from partnering with a pro, the affable Minnesotan jibed at himself.

“That I will never be a pro… They are just so damn good. The pros are the pros. We mortals don’t stack up to them. That is why they golf for money and we golf for frustration. I don’t worry about the other celebs games. Sometimes I beat them, sometimes I don’t. I just love to be on the course and not in traffic!”

What about his game? He’s consistently a high-ranking player on the celebrity circuit. What’s his secret?

“I try to whack the ball as hard as I can… and win. My game is all great and horrible at the same time. This is golf.”

The Sorbos are a tightly-knit team. His wife Sam and three children often accompany him. Sam, also in show biz, home schools Braeden, Shane, and Octavia while he works, but for only about half of his charity tournaments since “travel is too much sometimes.”

He balances career, family, and golf “very carefully,” he added. “Actually it is exhausting, but it becomes a way of life for me. If I have to travel, I make sure we are not apart more than two weeks at a time. Doesn’t happen often, but there is that ‘not enough hours in the day’ feeling that hits me.

“Family, kids are the most important part of my life. I love my career and do a lot to keep myself busy, but I find if I have small trips I have to take, I want to travel with the kids or take one at a time to spend some daddy time with each of them. I get up each morning around five a.m. and go to bed around 11 p.m. The early and later times are a mix of office work and the Mrs…”

Sorbo has numerous projects on the block, including several films like “Fire from Below,” to air on the SciFi Channel in the next few months, “Paradox,” a feature due in theatres this fall, and “Tales of an Ancient Empire,” slated for theatres at Christmas. Additionally, he appears at conventions the world over. Despite his hectic schedule, he always works in some practice on nearby golf courses, honing his skills for the next charity tournament.

“I love the game of golf, and to combine it with such great causes, usually helping kids who need help, just makes it such a fun way to raise awareness and money. I have always found the people who play the game are, usually, people who value what this life has given them. It sounds corny, but there is no other sport where you meet others who value hard work, ethics, morality, fair play, than those people whom I have met through the game of golf. Combine that with a shared love for the game and you have the makings of a charity event worth attending and making the difference in a sick or underprivileged child’s life.”

This year’s Second Annual Kevin Sorbo Celebrity Golf tournament will be held October 8 through 10. More information will be available at sorbogolf@worldfitforkids.org and www.worldfitforkids.org/golf2009.

“When I was filming ‘Hercules’ in New Zealand, I hosted a golf tournament for the Starship Children’s Hospital in Auckland that raised money for kids with various kinds of cancer. These kids just went through so much in their young lives, and, really, I just wanted to help.

“Then when I returned to the States after ‘Hercules’ wrapped filming, I wanted to raise awareness for WFIT, which I’ve been involved with since 1996, and liked the idea of doing a golf tournament for them. Well, it never materialized for one reason or another, so last year I decided to just do it. And, of course, we picked the worst economic year in the last 80 years to kick off the tournament! But, here we are, gearing up for year two!!”

photo by Zekesham 1-30-09

During our conversation I mentioned that I’m a beginner. Did he have any advice for me?

“If you are having a tough time with this game, give it up for a few weeks to just get away from it. After that, give it up completely. It will drive you mad!”

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Jan Feighner is a professional freelance writer who covers a variety of topics and has penned hundreds of celebrity interviews.  She writes for Examiner.com as the Philadelphia Cultural Events reporter, as well as her own blog.  You may contact Jan here .