It’s a long way from Dorchester to Beverly Hills, and Wahlberg has always kept his posse nearby. “We all rolled,” he says. “And we had a blast.” Last year, his crew became the model for the HBO series Entourage (the second season begins in June), for which he serves as executive producer, a job that entails much butting of heads with network brass over just how true-to-life the show can actually be and still draw an audience. Among the scenarios lifted directly from Wahlberg’s experience is the posse’s habit of knocking golf balls off the roof of lead actor Vincent Chase’s Hollywood playpen. Indeed, along with Rhea and Ella Rae, golf has become one of Wahlberg’s chief passions. Boasting a massive drive (up to 350 yards, according to Di Bonaventura), he’s won a few tournaments, and before he traded his Calloways for a hockey stick to prepare for Four Brothers, he was playing with a seven handicap.

Wahlberg is hoping to squeeze in a few games before his next gig, Martin Scorsese’s Irish-mob drama The Departed. For the next six years, he plans to focus relentlessly on his career. At that point, he figures, he’ll be 40—a good time to leave Hollywood, kick back, hit the links, hang with his daughter.

“Look, you’re young, you have fun,” he explains. “You get older, you get a few responsibilities. You get even older, people stop caring about you, and then you die. And you know what? I’m excited about that. I’m not trying to fight the inevitable.” Sounds like he’s been dipping into those Thurman tapes again. “It’s all got to come to an end. I just want to choose the ending.”