September 08, 2009
by Rachel Cericola
Sometimes it’s hard to watch golf on TV. It’s long, there are tons of commercials, and way too many people shouting, “Get in the hole!” When it comes to watching golf inside David Larkins’ home theater, well ... we are pretty mesmerized.
He might not be the best installer or the best golfer (although a 14 handicap doesn’t exactly make him a slouch either), but when he combined the two, David produced quite a unique room. “Golf, movies and music have been hobbies of mine for many years, so I wanted to build a media room that embodied my passion for these things,” he says.
David came up with the concept for his golf-themed theater, but he didn’t ace the work all by himself. A contractor friend came in to do the framing, drywall and a bit of plumbing. However, David took over for the electrical, painting (“multiple times”) and the rest of the job. “I guess you could say that I’m not a DIY purist, but I have enjoyed doing the things that were within my skill set, as well as learning a few new skills,” he says.
Some of those new skills were put to the test when it came to designing and building the equipment racks, as well as the risers, the ticket booth, subwoofer and stands for the speakers. “I’ve also saved a little money along the way by doing that.”
Another way David saved some money: He took his sweet time. In 2001, he jumped at the chance of a free CRT projector. That freebie was the tipping point for the project. “I immediately began to work on plans to build a theater/media room around it in the unfinished basement,” he says. Work began shortly after, in early 2002. Halfway through the year, the project was 95 percent complete. However, there were plenty of pieces that David just didn’t like. “The next three years saw a very gradual evolution to what the room is today, with the little nuances like the lighted poster frame, the subwoofer, the equipment rack, and the ticket booth.”
All of those pieces are great, but fairly standard when it comes to typical home theater. One thing that would make most enthusiasts (and pretty much everyone else) look twice is the golf hole that’s situated right in the middle of the room. Thanks to David’s two brothers-in-law, who just happen to work as superintendents for golf courses, he was able to score a regulation metal cup. It sits toward the middle of the room, left of the seats. That allows him to putt in between flicks, during commercials, or just to impress the guests.
It’s also a nice way to unwind, not that the Berkline 090 seats don’t help with that. In fact, just because the room has a theme, doesn’t mean it’s just another gimmick. David says that was the biggest challenge of the install was trying to balance the look with the A/V performance. Of course, the latter is really left to the variety of equipment, which sits in full view at the front of the theater room. “The truth is, I love A/V equipment,” he says. “I love to see equipment showcased in a home theater.” David says he’s considered hiding it, but he’s never been bothered.
These days, David may measure himself against other golfers by height (as an ode to his favorite golf movie, Caddyshack). After all, two kids and several years later, his handicap isn’t what it used to be. His passion for home theater, though, hasn’t changed. He’s upgraded some equipment, with the exception of his Pioneer CS-6 cassette tape changer (“You never know,” he says). However, David says his perfect day still involves 18 holes, and stepping off the back fringe and into an inviting theater with friends—only now that green is part of his own Back Fringe Theater.
Want to take a ride around David’s theater? No golf cart is needed; just click on our slideshow.
Location: Kingsport, TN
Year Completed: 2005
Room Size: 23 x 27 feet
Length of Project: 3 years (on and off)
Total Cost: $20,000 (approximate)
Over the past 15 years, Rachel Cericola has covered entertainment, web and technology trends. Check her out at www.rachelcericola.com.