Golf has been a very popular pastime for years, and it only makes sense that there have been several classic movies made about this great game. Several golf movies are based on real events, and some are comedies that brought a lot of interest to the game of golf.
We’ve rounded up the top five golf movies that everyone should see at least once in their lives. Check them out – one may even become your new favorite.
The Top 5 Golf Movies
1. Tin Cup (1996)
Kevin Costner plays a washed up former golf pro who reignites his love for the game while trying to impress Rene Russo. The ending is bonkers – in a good way – and seemed totally irrational until it was played out in real life by mad Frenchman Jean van de Velde in the 1999 British Open.
In the movie, this climactic man-versus-golf moment becomes one of the highest moments in sporting cinema. The film isn’t perfect, but like a good round of golf there are highs and lows and we feel better for the journey.
The trailer gives a taste of Costner’s easy charm and the chemistry he has with Russo.
2. Caddyshack (1980)
This fan favorite golf move was first released in 1980, and it has gained cult classic status. It features an A-list cast including Chevy Chase, Bill Murray, and Rodney Dangerfield showcasing their impressive acting talents. This movie runs several simultaneous plot lines, but the main plot line is centered around a young caddy named Danny who is trying to raise money to go to school.
An eccentric and rude millionaire (Rodney Dangerfield) wants to buy the golf club to turn it into a set of condominiums, and this doesn’t sit well with the golf club president (Ted Night) who challenges him to a game of golf. Throughout the movie, the groundskeeper Carl Spackler (Bill Murray) is desperately trying to eliminate groundhogs that are tearing up the course. The thrilling finale involves Danny putting the ball to the edge of the cup, and Carl detonates several explosions he’s set around the golf course to kill the gopher, knocking the ball into the hole.
Fans love this movie for the humorous spin on the game of golf and the legendary cast that improvised a lot of the scenes in this movie. You can see the “Cinderella Story” monologue by Carl Spackler here.
3. The Greatest Game Ever Played (2005)
This movie is based on real events with a Hollywood flare for the dramatic. The Greatest Game Ever Played is a true story about golf amateur Francis Ouimet (Shia LaBeouf). Francis Ouimet earned the title of the first amateur golfer to win the U.S. Open.
The movie begins with Francis working as a caddy in the upper-class Brookline Massachusetts Country Club when he was 11 years old. Francis comes from a family of immigrants, and this is important to note because golf used to be reserved for the wealthy. He begins playing, and find out he has a talent for the game. Francis goes on to beat two of the best professional golfers of the time, Ted Ray and Harry Vardon.
People enjoy this movie because it is a very inspiring film, despite the liberties Hollywood took with it. The ending in the move shows Francis winning by a single stroke when in real life he beat Ted Ray by six strokes and Harry Vardon by five strokes. Everyone likes to root for the underdog, and you can see the finale here.
4. Happy Gilmore (1996)
Happy Gilmore (Adam Sandler) is an aspiring hockey player with a volatile temper who doesn’t make the cut for a hockey team. He has little direction in life, his girlfriend leaves him, and his grandmother’s home is in foreclosure. Happy gets challenged to out drive two golf players, and he hits the ball over 400 yards. This leads him to go to the driving range the next day to hustle people of out money. While he’s there, he meets Chubbs Peterson (Carl Weathers) who tells Happy he can make money by playing the Waterbury Open.
The rest of the movie follows Happy on his mission to win the Tour Championship with several hilarious mishaps along the way like getting paired with and fighting Bob Barker, getting a putter shaped like a hockey stick, and several confrontations with Golf Pro Shooter McGavin (Christopher McDonald). Ben Stiller makes a cameo appearance as well.
People love this movie for its memorable scenes, storyline, and top-notch acting. Adam Sandler brings his A game, and the entire cast works extremely well together. Here’s the iconic Bob Barker/Happy Gilmore fight.
5. The Legend of Bagger Vance (2000)
For those who are interested in golf, this movie highlights the importance of having a good caddy. This movie showcases all a golfer’s caddy does including being a swing coach, a voice of reason, and a mental coach among other things.
Rannulph Junuh (Matt Damon) is a promising young golfer hailing from Georgia who was traumatized from losing most of his company during his time serving in World War I. Once Rannulph returns home, he doesn’t have much direction, and he’s talked into playing a local golf tournament with Walter Hagen and Bobby Jones. Bagger Vance (Will Smith) comes in to act as Rannulph’s caddy and helps with his PTSD and his golf swing.
Fans love this movie for its grit and how it highlights the importance of having a good caddy to guide you through the game of golf. One iconic scene from this movie is where Rannulph is in the woods having a flashback and Bagger talks him through it so he can focus and take his swing.
These iconic golf movies have become fan favorites that people like to watch again and again. They highlight all of the best parts of an excellent game, and they give a lot of people insight into a game they may not know much about.