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Spider-Man star Tom Holland supports comedian dad’s charity drive with new edition of golf book

© SuppliedTom Holland, left, with brothers Sam and Harry and dad Dominic.
Tom Holland, left, with brothers Sam and Harry and dad Dominic.

Spider-Man’s father has discovered his own super-power…on a golf course in Scotland. But, where the superhero son uses Spider-Sense to save lives, his dad relies on the power of the pen – with above-par results.

Novelist, amateur golfer and stand-up comedian Dominic Holland – an Edinburgh Festival stalwart – has launched a new edition of his novel Open Links after it was placed in the top-10 best golf novels ever published.

Dominic is donating all authorial profits to the Anthony Nolan charity that matches leukaemia and lymphoma sufferers with stem-cell donors, so far saving 22,000 lives. And behind him he has the might of his golf-mad Spider-son – movie star Tom Holland – because, in the words of the Marvel legend: “With great power comes great responsibility.”

Dominic Holland.
Dominic Holland.

Speaking from the family home in London that he shares with photographer wife Nikki and where Tom, 27, and his brothers, twins Harry and Sam, 25, and Paddy, 19, were raised, the comedian told The Sunday Post: “All my boys have read it.”

And Tom told the Post: “I loved Open Links. I couldn’t put it down and I’m dyslexic. It’s a hilarious read and for a great cause.”

He revealed: “Growing up, I remember my dad going off to do something that was just called ‘Edinburgh’. It felt like a big deal but I didn’t really understand it at the time.

“Luckily, Dad has kept on gigging and returning to the festival and I’ve caught his last two shows, which was great fun for our family. I now make regular pilgrimages to Scotland to play golf.”

Family golf days

Dominic – who won a Perrier Best Newcomer Award in Edinburgh and whose BBC Radio 4 series, The Small World Of Dominic Holland, won a Comic Heritage Award – added: “I have a special fondness for Scotland where I’ve toured and won awards. And Scotland is important in the book. It is the home of golf.”

Gullane’s Muirfield – host to The Open Championship 16 times, most recently in 2013 – comes to vibrant life in his funny, feel-good page-turner, revamped in time for the Anthony Nolan charity’s 50th anniversary year.

In it we meet Ricky Randall, an English journeyman professional golfer playing the final round of The Open – in a kilt. Told over 18 short chapters and 18 long holes, it’s a captivating tale of human resilience, love, hope and family, whose appeal stretches way beyond the green.

Dominic Holland - Open Links
Dominic Holland – Open Links

And the novel has captured the hearts of golfing greats like Ian Woosnam, the former world No. 1, Masters champion, and Ryder Cup player and captain, as well as Open and US Open winner and Ryder Cup captain Tony Jacklin, and European tour Scottish pro-golfer turned sports commentator Ewen Murray – all of whom have given it the thumbs up.

Dominic, the author of nine books, smiled: “I introduced all my boys to golf. The most recent game I played with Tom, he thrashed me. I play off a handicap of 9.5 and he plays off three. It should be a dad win but it still hurts,” he laughed.

Being Tom Holland’s dad

He marvels at his superstar son’s meteoric success from his childhood days in the stage show Billy Elliot: The Musical, to assuming the coveted Marvel role that had previously been played by both Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield, and appearing in London’s West End this week as Romeo in a new stage version of the Shakespeare tale.

Reliving Tom’s 2016 debut in the Marvel Cinematic Universe playing Spider-Man/Peter Parker in Captain America: Civil War, he revealed: “People sometimes ask me if I’m jealous of my son. They are not being horrible; they just don’t know me.

“Everybody who goes into the comedy industry does it to become a comic like Glasgow’s Kevin Bridges, who I believe to be the UK’s best stand-up. But we don’t all make it. I can understand anyone thinking that a father who tried his best but didn’t make it to Kevin Bridges’ standard might have a little bit of resentment, but there is none on my part as a dad. I am incredibly proud.

“Tom beguiles me. I was in bed last night with Nikki going through social media, and I said, ‘Where does he come from?’ because Nikki and I are both pretty diffident people. We feel very blessed that he has found this thing he can do so easily.”

Tom Holland as Spider-Man. © Chuck Zlotnick
Tom Holland as Spider-Man.

And fame, he says, hasn’t gone to his boy’s head.

“Tom has three brothers and a mum and dad who don’t treat him any differently. Spider-Man was a big role to take on. There was a lot of hate before he appeared in the role, people saying, ‘Who is this English kid?’; no one had heard of him. He was under a lot of pressure.

“He went alone to the USA to make that first movie with Robert Downey Jr, Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan and Chris Evans. He was 19. We’d phone in the evening and say, ‘How did it go Tom?’

“I remember watching it for the first time. I had been told by film industry insiders he had done really well, so that allayed my fears, but I was still nervous. When he first appeared in the scene where Peter Parker is coming home from school, I thought immediately how good he was.

“We all want our kids to do well and be happy, and he has really found something that has been generous to him, and he just embraced it. But I always try to keep him grounded. Tom is in good shape. I don’t think he will be a casualty of being famous.”

Charity support

And the star’s charitable work is a great leveller. The family several years ago set up the The Brothers’ Trust to raise money for charities worldwide reflecting Tom’s international fanbase.

But its main recipient is Debra UK which, with ex-Rangers’ manager and football legend Graeme Souness, has supported Highland teenager Isla Grist, who suffers with the rare skin condition Epidermolysis bullosa (EB).

Golf-mad Tom competing in the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth last year. © Mark Newcombe/Shutterstock
Golf-mad Tom competing in the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth last year.

Not much seems to phase the super-hero. He retains his cool even in the face of rumours of an engagement to his Emmy Award and Golden Globe-winning girlfriend Zendaya – star of Dune, Challenger and The Greatest Showman.

Dominic, who celebrates 30 years of marriage to Nikki in September, told the Post: “They are a happy couple. So, who knows? But there are no marriages in the Holland household yet.”

The only headache Tom appears to have suffered is from his most recent golf trip to Scotland and “getting a ball bouncing off my forehead from my mate’s sand wedge”. The star laughed: “My dad wrote a blog about it – ‘always an upside’, he joked.”

Tom is proud of his father: “Golf is hard, but not as hard being a stand-up, so chops to my dad for being brave enough or stupid enough to take on the hardest job of them all.”

Open Links by Dominic Holland available now.