In golf terms, “casting” means a premature uncocking of the wrists on the downswing, resulting in a loss of power and control. In the episode of the extreme mini-golf game show “Holey Moley” airing Thursday (8 p.m., ABC/7), “casting” meant acquiring Marlene Glass of Valley Stream — also with a loss of power and control, but in a good way.
“This was a total accident!” says the highly animated Glass, 61. Her sister had seen a casting notice online “and called me up and asked would this be good for Joey, my nephew in California. He’s an avid golfer. I said yeah, send it to Joey, so she did. Joey got an audition, and in his audition they said, ‘Do you have any friends or family members who play golf or mini-golf?’ So he thought it was a [team] show of four people, family or friends, and he called me and said, ‘I need you to be on the show. I thought of you because you played golf in the past.’ I didn’t play golf!” she says, laughing. “When he came over [as a child] he liked golf, so we would take him to mini-golf or pitch and putt.”
But family’s family, so she agreed. Then last fall, “I’m in King Kullen shopping with my sister and I get a call from one of the guys at ‘Holey Moley.’ I was on the phone with him for 30, 40 minutes at King Kullen. Thank God my sister was there and knew what I needed and filled up my cart!” That conversation led to a Skype interview in which Glass learned it wasn’t a team show.
Knowing the odds against being selected, she forgot all about it. In March, Glass and her husband, Alan, a CPA, went on vacation — where she heard from the producers that she’d been cast and had to fly to California on April 2. “It was a whirlwind for me. I got back from vacation on the 30th and had to repack and go to California, and my husband couldn’t go with me since he couldn’t take more time off from work. I figured, what the heck, I already went this far.”
Born in Brooklyn, Glass moved to Bayside, Queens, at 15 with her mother and three siblings after her father died of a heart attack. She attended Bayside High School and went on to Queensborough Community College. Wanting to enter advertising, she attended Parsons School of Design for a year but left and went into accounting to help support her family. Then, at 25, she became ill with what eventually was diagnosed as Hodgkin’s lymphoma — the first of three cancers she has survived.
When the producers learned about both that and the fact that she’s an amateur songwriter, “They wanted me to write a song for the show. So I tried to incorporate my feelings about life in the song, called ‘I’m Gonna Bounce.’ It’s about bouncing back from hardship. The chorus was, ‘I’m gonna bounce like a mini-golf ball / bounce right back after hitting the wall / And when the lights go down and it seems like the end / I’ll pick up that ball and start over again.’ “
She recorded the song on the show’s set in Santa Clarita, California, outside LA — both with and without dancing. “I don’t know if they used it,” Glass says. “I did six takes.”
Whether or not they did, Glass called her time “a great experience. I didn’t know what to expect, and I met a lot of amazing people from different states and other countries” — including NBA star and avid golfer Stephen Curry, an executive producer. “He had to fly back and forth between playing basketball in the playoffs and doing the show. So he was a busy man. I felt really short next to him!”