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The Renaissance Club

How this ‘Mr. Robot’ star developed the golf bug

January 03, 2020

Ramona Rosales

When she was a little kid, Carly Chaikin’s dad signed her up for summer golf camp at his Southern California club. “I. Just. Hated. It,” the actress says. “I would get so frustrated and throw my clubs. I’d show up in sweatpants and black nail polish, like a rebel.”

Those days are distant memories now as Chaikin, who most recently played the computer hacker Darlene on the USA Network series “Mr. Robot,” is fully committed to the game. Unless she’s on set or working on her other passion, painting, she tries to play at least twice a week and takes a lesson or practices weekly. Even her upcoming wedding weekend will include a golf tournament.

Golf began to click for Chaikin, 29, after she and her fiance, Ryan Bunnell, started teeing it up with their fathers a couple of years ago. As she noticed “glimpses” of her potential, her competitive instinct—honed by gymnastics and high school volleyball—kicked in.

She recently beat her fiance for the first time, shooting 86 (her best round) at the par-67 Westlake Golf Course outside Los Angeles. How did she celebrate? “I told everyone I know,” she says with a laugh.

Shooting the fourth and final season of “Mr. Robot” in wintry New York made it difficult to play, though she and her dad, Michael, did get in 18 holes at Liberty National one day. Her driver broke en route from L.A., so the pro lent her a new TaylorMade M6, “and I was launching it.” It has become her favorite club.

How does Chaikin imagine her devious “Mr. Robot” character Darlene would fare as a golfer? “I think she would probably bring her own golf balls that she had pre-programmed to do what she wants,” she says. But even that might not be enough to hold Darlene’s interest for long. Says Chaikin: “She wouldn’t like the golf outfits enough to play. She’d be a lot like me in my younger days. She’d probably sit in the golf cart and chain-smoke.”