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Former JU golfer’s hustling ways may become subject of film “The Last Real Gambler”

He was a two-sport athlete at JU, went on to build and own golf courses, became a private pilot, qualified for the U.S. and British Amateurs, and won the Orlando Senior Championship three times.

But Gary Holmes, 79, admits his real claim to fame is more likely the edgy life he spent gambling — hustling other golfers and sometimes running with the wrong crowd.

Now, Holmes’ life may become the subject of a feature-length film with the working title “The Last Real Gambler,” which could start shooting around Jacksonville as early as May.

In an article published in The Florida Times-Union Monday, Jan. 21, golf writer Garry Smits reports on Holmes’ colorful saga and longtime efforts to pitch a script based on his escapades.

“Everything in the script happened to me at one time or another,” including beating Evel Kneivel and Bobby Riggs in money games on golf courses, Holmes told Smits for the story. “I’ve been messing around with this project for four or five years, and I’m optimistic we can finally get this done.”

Holmes played golf and basketball for the Dolphins from 1957-1960 and later helped build Baymeadows Golf Club, according to the newspaper article.

Mark Grossman, a movie editor and producer based near Boston, is set to produce the film, parts of which would be shot at Hidden Hills Golf Club and the Ponte Vedra Inn and Club if the movie gets all the funding it needs, according to the Times-Union. It reports that Todd Roobin, manager of the Jacksonville Film and TV Office, believes making a movie locally about Holmes’ life and golfing story will benefit the region.

“Gary’s roots are in Jacksonville,” Roobin told the newspaper. “He’s a JU guy. He goes a long way back and those roots are tied throughout the script.”

Click here to read the full story in the Times-Union.