Golf movie is to star Oxton actor

'Old Tom' Morris and his son, Tommy.
'Old Tom' Morris and his son, Tommy.

Oxton’s rising star of stage and screen, actor Jack Lowden, is finding that the plum roles now coming his way often require specific new skills.

Lowden, 25, has carved out a reputation as one of the UK’s best young actors since leaving Earlston High School.

chariots of fire. Jack Lowden as Eric Liddell

chariots of fire. Jack Lowden as Eric Liddell

His CV boasts major roles in London’s West End, as well appearances on the small screen, including ITV’s Mrs Biggs and the BBC adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s novel Wolf Hall.

And now Lowden has landed a lead role in a new big screen movie on the life of Scottish golfing legend, “Old Tom Morris”, who helped set up the Open championship and went on to win it four times.

Directed by Sir Sean Connery’s son, Jason, who is believed to still have a home near Melrose, filming on Tommy’s Honour begins on Monday and will see some scenes shot in Peebles.

Leading Scottish actor Peter Mullan will play Old Tom Morris, while Lowden portrays his son, Tommy.

Most of the scenes will be shot in and around St Andrews, Morris’s hometown in Fife, where he is still revered as one of the founding figures of the game.

Lowden’s starring roles have included appearing alongside Kristin Scott Thomas in London’s West End and portraying Scottish Olympic hero Eric Liddell on stage in Chariots of Fire.

Just having finished six months’ filming for the BBC’s new major six-part drama, War and Peace, in Russia and eastern Europe for which he had to learn to ride a horse, Lowden has now had to become proficient enough at the royal and ancient game for his new film.

“This is a completely different project for me, requiring yet another new skill.

“I’d never played golf in my life before,” Lowden told us from his home in London this week. “But someone had told Jim Farmer, the honorary professional at St Andrews who is instructing me, that I was a single handicap player.

“So you should’ve seen how the colour drained from his face at our first meeting and I had to inform him I’d never played the game before!”

As well as excited to be working alongside the great Peter Mullan, Lowden is delighted to be working with Jason Connery.

“Jason’s a lovely bloke and I’m really looking forward to starting work with him on this film – he’s a very good golfer himself.”

Born in St Andrews in 1821, Tom Morris became the professional and greenkeeper at the new Prestwick Golf Club, where the first Open was staged in 1860.

Morris was runner-up in the first tournament and claimed his first winner’s prize the following year. He was later to return to become greenkeeper at the Royal and Ancient Golf Club in St Andrews and established a club-making shop overlooking the 18th green, a hole that is named after him to this day.

Tommy’s Honour, which screen legend Sir Sean has been advising his son on, will focus on the relationship between Old Tom and his son, Tommy, also a successful golfer.

The younger Connery says the story is one close to his heart as he grew up with his famous father on golf courses and his house in Scotland is not far from St Andrews.

“This is an extraordinary and intimate tale of love and family at the beginning of the great game of golf,” he added.