Starring Ashley Newbrough and Marcus Rosner
Whitney (Newbrough) is losing heart. She’s a pro golfer whose performance has been suffering ever since her mom died, and she’s not sure she wants to continue. Whitney barely qualifies for a tournament in Hungary, where her dad, Marton (Roy McCrery), lives. She travels there to take one last shot at success and soon meets her father’s right-hand man, Daniel (Rosner), at Marton’s golf club. While her dad contemplates selling the club, Daniel helps restore Whitney’s zest for golf. But just when Daniel is set to become Whitney’s caddy for the tournament, her cantankerous former caddy, Andrew (Steve Byers), shows up to work for her again, which threatens to ruin both her game and her developing relationship with Daniel.
This movie was directed by Stefan Scaini, whose impressive credits include Perfect Harmony and Moriah’s Lighthouse, both from 2022, so I was excited about seeing it.
Budapest. Because of its gorgeous setting, Love on the Right Course was lovely to look at, surely one of the prettiest Hallmark movies I’ve seen. It was filmed in and around Budapest and featured relaxing sunlit vistas and lush greenery. The scenery was enchanting. There were beautiful riverside scenes, as well as ones featuring a cobbled street with multicoloured umbrellas suspended magically above it. The vendors there sold colourful wares, fruit, and flowers. A brief scene of Hungarian dancing added to the old European feel of the movie.
A serious and gentle tone. I had expected this film to be fluffy, but mostly it wasn’t. Consider Whitney, who was mourning her mother and still tearing up two years later when she looked at her mother’s things or talked about her. Her career was in a tailspin because of her grief. And Marton was clearly suffering from depression at the loss of his wife. He’d isolated himself in his big house, and haunted by memories of his wife, he’d basically given up on life and was considering selling the business they’d built together. The death of Whitney’s mother cast a long shadow, which added a dose of realism, but to lighten things up, both Whitney and Marton ultimately embraced life again. Whitney rediscovered joy with Daniel, who introduced her to fun, quirky ways of playing golf. As for Marton, it took a sweet dog to start getting him out of the house. This movie had a gentle spirit I could appreciate. Except for of the villains of the piece—an unscrupulous real estate agent who tried to steal a commission from Marton, and Whitney’s former caddy—the characters were lovely, sympathetic people who helped one another overcome their setbacks. However, they weren’t the most vibrant of characters.
Weak chemistry. Ashley Newbrough and Marcus Rosner were previously paired in Flipping for Christmas (2023). I like both of these actors, but not together. What little chemistry they had in Love on the Right Course developed too slowly. There was a glimmer of romantic feelings when Whitney and Daniel attended his mother’s birthday party, but it really took Andrew’s arrival to push the two main characters closer together and make them realize how they felt about each other. Even then, the sparks were minimal, making this movie rather dull in the romance department. The kiss at the end felt tentative and stiff, as if Newbrough and Rosner found it hard to bear, and this was also true of their kiss in Flipping for Christmas.
Too little excitement. The film strolled along at a leisurely pace and was too bland for my taste. To be fair, I might have found it riveting if I cared about golf or knew much about it. There were lots of scenes on the fairway showing the couple discussing her game, Daniel offering Whitney tips about how to enjoy golf again and let go of her perfectionism. At least one of those tips, making a wish and closing your eyes while you whack the ball really hard, seemed pretty silly. In a game that obviously requires precision, how would this actually be helpful? And only mild dramatic tension was generated by the final game, making Whitney’s miracle shot not as thrilling as it should have been. What disappointed me too was the way Daniel immediately backed away when Andrew muscled his way back into Whitney’s life. This seemed uncharacteristically passive for him, and it was no wonder she was annoyed at him. It should have been obvious to him that Whitney was miserable working with her previous caddy. He had an opportunity to swoop in and get the girl, which would have livened things up, but he didn’t take it. Some welcome excitement did occur when Whitney fired Andrew at last after she’d had her fill of his condescending remarks.
My grade for Love on the Right Course: C
Caroline Kaiser is a professional book editor who specializes in fiction and memoirs, and she’s been guiding writers toward publication since 2007. Caroline is also the author of two ghostly mystery novels, Virginia’s Ghost and The Spirits of South Drive. Before she embarked on an editing and writing career, she spent many years working in a Toronto auction house as an antiques appraiser. Apart from curling up on the couch and drinking tea as she watches Hallmark movies, Caroline enjoys baking and exploring London, Ontario, the picturesque city she now calls home. Her website is www.carolinekaisereditor.com.