On a television set with celebrities like Josh Duhamel, Rob Riggle and Jon Lovitz, how can an information technology professional get noticed?
He just has to put on a Scout uniform.
Gerritt Beatty, a volunteer and Scouting dad from the BSA’s Ventura County Council in California, competed on an episode of ABC’s Holey Moley this summer.
While producers eventually opted against having Beatty wear his Scout uniform on the show, the Troop 765 committee chairman did don it during his audition and when arriving on set for taping. When he showed up wearing his tan-and-green field uniform, Beatty was greeted with a red-carpet welcome.
“It was awesome to walk on the set wearing my Class A and have the crew cheering me on,” he tells Bryan on Scouting. “Many came up to me and shared their Scouting experience with me. The uniform is an instant magnet, even in Hollywood.”
If you’ve never seen this zany, family friendly show, the premise is simple: In each episode, eight contestants test their putting prowess on a fiendish miniature golf course. The last person standing earns the golden putter, an obnoxiously awesome green plaid jacket and a spot in the season finale for a chance at $250,000.
This isn’t ordinary miniature golf, with its modest water features and lazily spinning windmills. This is big-budget, made-for-TV miniature golf with oversized obstacles, punishing challenges and plenty of celebrities.
We reached out to Beatty, who wore a neckerchief on the show as an homage to Scouting, to learn more.
Trying his luck
From his very first appearance on Holey Moley, you can tell Beatty is the kind of guy you’d root for. He’s funny, friendly and perfectly self-deprecating.
”When it comes to my short game, I’ve got that covered,” he says on the show. “I’m only 5-foot-2!”
But Beatty believes his Scouting connection played the biggest part in his selection for Holey Moley.
“Who doesn’t want a wholesome, gregarious character competing on their show promoting family values?” he says.
After watching the first season and thinking, like most anyone who watched, “I could do that,” Beatty submitted a video audition on the ABC website. A few weeks later, he was invited to a casting event at a golf course about an hour away.
Sinking the putt
Beatty showed up on a rainy day, wearing his field uniform (the “Class A”) and went through the routine. He had to attempt one 15-foot putt and four 5-foot putts — all as the rain pelted down. He made the 15-footer and two of the 5-footers.
“They liked my personality, and my Scout outfit did not hurt as I was labeled Scoutmaster Gerritt,” he says. “You gotta have a gimmick when it comes to Hollywood, and the Scout persona was mine.”
After a few weeks, Beatty received a text message from the show’s producer. It was a photo of her standing next to a white board that read, “You Made Holey Moley!”
Beatty, who has played golf for 40 years, estimates that he practiced at least 100 putts a day from that day until the day of the taping.
“I wanted to Be Prepared.” he says.
Taking the leap
*This section contains spoilers*
In the opening round, Beatty battles Amanda Robertson, a golf pro and opera singer from Phoenix. At first, their hole looks like a simple 12-foot putt. But this hole features “The Distractor,” a solid green wall that spins to reveal something designed to steal the golfer’s concentration.
For Beatty and Robertson, the other side of the wall was hiding a baseball game. Right behind the hole stand a catcher, batter, umpire, and even a manager arguing balls and strikes. The pitcher, standing behind the golfers, throws strikes over Beatty’s shoulder as he tries to focus.
Somehow, Beatty makes the putt. Robertson misses.
In the next round, Beatty battles Tanner Beard, a filmmaker from Texas whose cheering section includes Josh Duhamel, the actor known for his work on the Transformers films.
This time, Beatty must “Putt the Plank,” a hole that requires him to watch as actor Jon Lovitz, wearing full pirate regalia, chips a ball across a stretch of water before Beatty himself has to jump onto a mechanical shark to cross to the other side and putt his ball from sand over a ridge and into the hole. (Yes, I know. But stay with me.)
Again, somehow Beatty nails the putt to advance to the final round.
But — plot twist! — the announcers share that Beatty will not be competing in the finals after all.
As it turns out, that mechanical shark wasn’t the fluffy and forgiving kind.
”If you watched the episode, you will see how many times they replayed my landing onto the shark,” Beatty tells me. “The shark was not padded at all, and at the speed I was falling, I hit it pretty hard.”
Once the TV-aided adrenaline wore off, Beatty was in real pain. The 57-year-old “decided that it was a good idea to just bow out and let the younger contestants battle on.”
Sure, a Scout is brave. But a Scout is also mentally awake. That means being both smart and humble enough to know when to step aside.
”My friends and family were very impressed with my putting abilities and were happy to see me winning each round,” Beatty says. “My father said ‘well, you know, you’re still undefeated.’”
What you didn’t see
While the show is edited to seem like it takes place over one night, each episode requires several days of filming, Beatty says.
His first-round hole was filmed one night. A few days later, he returned to film the second round. Had he competed in the final round, he would’ve been back on yet another night.
“The show makes it look like you do the whole competition in one night, as we are all wearing the same outfit,” he says. “But isn’t it interesting how you are wet on one hole and dry on the next one? Amazing drying technology? No, a regular dryer overnight and back the next day.”
Even with the multiday schedule, each day was long. Sometimes filming ended after midnight, but Beatty was still asked to wait in the tent to see if additional filming was needed.
During these moments, Beatty says he turned to his faith.
“When you’re wet and freezing at 2 a.m., you need God’s help for sure!” he says. “Before each putt, I put in a little prayer asking for His help.”
His Scouting journey so far
Beatty was a Webelos as a boy, but he didn’t continue into Boy Scouts.
“As I look back,” he says. “I should have stayed with the program.”
When his son was old enough for Cub Scouts, Beatty relished the chance to experience the program for a second time — this time as a dad. He became a den leader in Pack 3765 and watched his son thrive on campouts and other activities — like the Pinewood Derby.
Beatty’s son won his pack Pinewood Derby 40 years after Beatty had raced in his own Pinewood Derby as a Cub Scout.
His son is now a First Class Scout in Troop 765. Beatty has taken on responsibilities at the unit, district and council levels.
“Scouting is by far the best program for young boys and girls,” Beatty says. “It teaches all the right things that kids don’t seem to get from school or even their family sometimes. The 12 points of the Scout Law sum up how every child should navigate their path to adulthood.”
How to watch
Use these links to watch the episode on …
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