The 10 best golf movies of all time
It’s about the usual time of year when many golfers, both professional and casual are out on the fairway to compete, unwind and have a great time. Most of this occurs during the daytime, as every good golfer knows, with all the action coming to a stop at dusk. So how do you enjoy the sport of golf after sundown? Or how about any time? By checking out and enjoying these classic golf movies that are sure to entertain.
This 1980 comedy classic is purely a given here. Caddyshack follows an impressionable country club caddie who is at the point in his young life where women, raunchy fun, and golf start to look a lot better than any prospect of college. Featuring unforgettable performances from comedy legends Rodney Dangerfield, Chevy Chase, and the living legend himself, Bill Murray, this movie is on anyone’s list of golf’s best.
This pick from 1996 stars Adam Sandler as the titular character in one of the best-known movies not just during the stretch of ‘90s projects that projected him into superstardom, but in his entire career thus far. Happy is a rough and undisciplined hockey enforcer who finds a way to succeed off the ice and on the golf course. Happy Gilmore‘s full of hilarious one-liners and memorable moments including a fistfight between Happy and game show legend Bob Barker.
This romantic comedy, also from 1996, stars Kevin Costner and Rene Russo in one of the best movies of that year. And it’s a great pick for a golf movie if Adam Sandler’s brand of entertainment doesn’t tickle your fancy. Costner plays a former golf pro who quickly becomes inspired to step away from his laid-back life owning a driving range, to a spot at the US Open and a place in the heart of a lovely doctor. Costner’s not usually known for romantic comedies over the course of his career but he gives such a good performance in Tin Cup that it was worthy enough for a Golden Globe nomination that same year.
A 2016 documentary about the origins of the Ladies Professional Golf Association, or LPGA as we commonly know it as now had to make this list, naturally. At the center of this piece were the trials and tribulations that the female golfers endured, much like women athletes in any sport before things were more inclusive. These hurdles were effectively depicted with the use of previously unseen footage and contemporary interviews taken at the time of the film’s production. The Founders featured input from current LPGA golfers Cristie Kerr and Stacy Lewis, as well as archival footage of women’s sports legends Patty Berg, Althea Gibson, and Billie Jean King.
From The Rough
Taraji P. Henson plays the lead role in this 2011 biopic that’s based on an inspiring true story. She portrayed Catana Starks, the first woman in NCAA history to coach a men’s golf team. After coaching the school’s swim team, Starks is offered the chance to lead the men’s golf program and does so courageously through uncomfortable and less than desirable odds. Also, From The Rough was the last role that Michael Clarke Duncan took before his unexpected death in 2012.
The Legend of Bagger Vance
Whether you’re still a Will Smith fan or not, this movie was made long before any Oscar drama or revealing Red Table talks. Directed by Hollywood legend Robert Redford, this pick from 2000 stars Smith, alongside Matt Damon and Charlize Theron in a film based on a book of the same name. The Legend of Bagger Vance was no comedy by any means, but where it lacked in laughs, it tried its hardest to supply emotional and inspiring moments of the dramatic kind. Under-performing in box office numbers, this project began to show audiences that Will Smith didn’t have to joke around or save the world to give a decent performance.
The Greatest Game Ever Played
Since Disney seems to have covered every topic to the moon and back, this list had to have at least one entry here. This 2005 sports drama is based on the real-life amateur golf champion Francis Ouimet, who surprisingly won the 1913 US Open. Starring Shia LaBeouf as Ouimet, The Greatest Game Ever Played centers on how the game of golf was strongly considered a sport exclusively for wealthy citizens. That was widely believed until Ouimet, who came from a working-class immigrant family turned heads as he made his way through the golf course. This was the last film that the late Bill Paxton directed during his career.
This 2019 documentary shows audiences a moderately unknown perspective of life on the golf links. The relationship between golfer and caddie is the focal point of Loopers, featuring never-before-seen stories and accounts from some of golf’s greatest names such as Tiger Woods, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, and Nick Faldo. Here, Bill Murray attaches himself yet again to a golf-related project, not in a comedic capacity, but as the narrator.
The Short Game
The Short Game, produced by Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel, is a 2013 documentary that revolves around probably the most passionate competitors you’ll ever encounter on a golf course…seven and eight-year-old junior golfers. While the eight young golf prodigies might’ve been lacking in height and age, they certainly made up for it in focus and drive as they hit drives all over their respective courses to end up battling against each other in the 2012 U.S. Kids Golf World Championship. Each of the eight featured competitors in the documentary are still competing in the sport in their respective areas to this day.
Bobby Jones: Stroke of Genius
Bobby Jones: Stroke of Genius is a dramatic biopic that was made in 2004, starring actor Jim Caviezel as legendary golfer Bobby Jones shortly after his turn as Jesus in Mel Gibson’s Passion of the Christ. This movie wasn’t as on as epic of a scale as Passion, but it was still a more than decent watch. The audience follows Jones during the prime of his short career, during the 1910s and ‘20s, on the golf course as he becomes the first, and still the only player to have won all four major tournaments in a single season. Jones was such a legend during his time that he was portrayed – by a different actor – in another pick on this list, The Legend of Bagger Vance.
Whatever you’re in the mood for from this list of golf flicks, each choice is sure to be worth it. So if you can, grab yourself a nice cold Arnold Palmer and do away with the hassle of tee times and golf cart rentals in exchange for a couple of hours of enjoyment.
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