If you’re not a golfer, you may not know of Dr. David L. Cook. But if you play on the PGA Tour or even live in Utopia, Texas in the heart of the Texas Hill Country, then you most surely know the man in the hat.

One of the top Peak Performance coaches and seminar leaders in the United States, Cook received his Ph.D. in Sport and Performance Psychology from the University of Virginia. And he has worked with a who’s who list of top athletes, professional sports organizations and businesses—including NBA World Champions, National Collegiate Champions, PGA Tour Champions, Olympians and Fortune 500 companies. 

Several years ago, he was inspired to write his first performance novel after stopping for lunch at a small café in Utopia. Originally called Golf’s Sacred Journey: Seven Days at the Links of Utopia, the story illustrates important life lessons and principles through the unlikely friendship of an eccentric rancher named Johnny and a young golfer who’s burned out and ready to escape the pressures of the game. After the golfer has a mid-tournament performance meltdown, he tries to drive out his frustrations on the Texas back roads. But he soon finds himself “stuck” in Utopia, where he meets the rancher who will make him a surprising deal: “Spend seven days in Utopia, and you’ll find your game.”

It sounds too good to be true. But with some days off from the golf tournament circuit and nothing left to lose, the golfer agrees to a week of what will dramatically change his course and be nothing short of a powerful life transformation.

Now adapted for the big screen, the fictional story is being told as Seven Days in Utopia, starring Robert Duvall as the mentor Johnny Crawford and Lucas Black as the down-and-out golfer cum apprentice Luke Chisolm. The pairing marks the third time the duo has worked together on-screen (Sling Blade, Get Low), but the chemistry between the Academy Award-winning veteran and the Southern-bred young actor—who just happens to have golf experience and is said to be “probably the best golfer Hollywood has ever had in its midst”—has not waned.

Themes of reconciliation, redemption, forgiveness and grace come to life, as Luke spends a week with a powerful mentor, who Cook says, “lived in a simple place but had extraordinary insight.” From Johnny, Luke learns that becoming who you were meant to be has nothing to do with winning and everything to do with how you approach the game, as evidenced in Johnny’s three-point strategy of “see it, feel it, trust it.”