It’s that time of year again. The outdoors look blustery and cold and an evening spent inside watching classic movies sounds thrilling. Sports movies have always been winners at the box office. People want to feel that underdog spirit and watch unremarkable people do remarkable things. I mean, who doesn’t get a little teary-eyed after watching “Remember the Titans” on a lazy weekend afternoon for the 18th time?
There are countless movies out there about football, basketball, hockey, even soccer. But golf? There just aren’t many. I would argue there are five, maybe six, great golf movies out there worth talking about. Does anyone know why that is? You see plenty of biographies about golfers, or golf played in a movie, but rarely movies purely about golf.
Anyways, here it is…Maybe you agree, or maybe you have your own favorites, but I’ve compiled a list of my favorite golf movies for you:
5. GREATEST GAME EVER PLAYED – Based on a true story, the 2005 movie starring Shia LaBeouf tells the story of golf champion Francis Ouimet. In the early 1900s, golf was a game for the wealthiest people, and Ouimet was a working-class immigrant who fell in love with the game. After a club members as him to play, he wins over other club members and earns a chance to play in the US Amateur Tournament. His story is one of many struggles, but the underdog always comes out on top, right? One way or the other.
4. LEGEND OF BAGGER VANCE – Not all golf movies can inspire laughter, some just inspire. Bagger Vance (2000), with it’s all-star cast of Will Smith, Matt Damon, and Charlize Theron, is quite the drama about a World War I veteran, Rannulph Junuh, whose entire company is wiped out in battle. Once a golf legend before going to war, he looks to pick up the game of golf after years of not playing. Of course, a love story is intertwined to the plot. A “mysterious traveler” named Bagger Vance helps Junuh get back into the swing of things (pun intended), and the game of golf ultimately saves his life. Cue the tears.
3. HAPPY GILMORE – Perhaps the most popular golf movie over time, Happy Gilmore, played by Adam Sandler, is the epitome of golf comedy — the perfect amount of stupidness and reality all mixed into one. A short-tempered hockey failure picks up the game of golf to win money for his grandmother. He is coached by a one-handed golfer who was attacked by a crocodile, while his pajama-like clothing and rage outbursts on the course draw crowds to the tournament. Oh, and he also falls for the tour’s PR girl. So it goes without saying, Happy Gilmore is a winner.
2. TIN CUP – A classic mid-nineties rom-com with the perfect amount of golf sprinkled on top. With Kevin Costner playing the washed up golf sensation who now owns his own driving range in Texas. After being invited to caddy at a local benefit tournament, he decides to get back in the game, and, ultimately, get the girl — Molly, played by Renee Russo. Maybe it’s the countless number of cameos made by PGA players, or maybe it’s the awesome nickname that is “Tin Cup”, but this movie ranks high on my list.
1. CADDYSHACK – This is a no brainer, it is hands down the best golf movie of all time. Caddyshack hit theaters in July of 1980 and even after 34 years old, the Baby Ruth scene still makes for a hilarious gag at any pool party. Doodie! It’s the story of caddies looking to make money for college by working at an upscale country club — and all the shenanigans that go with it. The cast of Rodney Dangerfield, Chevy Chase, Ted Knight and Bill Murray, is a phenomenal array of comic actors who have coined phrases that are still quoted today on any golf course in America. It’s almost unfair that any other golf movie has to be measured up against it — that gopher stole the show. Gunga, gunga la-gunga!
So there it is, my extensive list of the best golf movies. Runners up include A Gentlemans Game and Caddyshack 2 (*cringe*). I’m sure there will be many of you who disagree – or maybe agree entirely – so have at it!