Films About Golf That Made Movie History

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Golf movies run the gamut from dramas to comedies and even documentaries. This list includes both historical and recent films that celebrate the gritty determination of individuals and boundary-pushing teams.

Finding inspiration in golf as a game for movies and television shows is a great way to reach golfers and non-golfers alike. Golf movies provide insight into the game, allowing viewers to appreciate its nuances in a different light. 

Often the preparations actors have to go through to play a golfer convincingly are very thorough. They get proper golfers training, and some of them even continue to play golf afterwards. 

There is one thing both professional golfers and total amateurs agree on: there is nothing more frustrating than putting! It is the cherry on top of the game, and you will need to know how to choose the right putter before you use it. You can see the intense scenes in the movies, too.

Television shows often use golf as part of their storylines, giving viewers an entertaining and unique perspective on the sport. 

The Big Bang Theory featured an episode where the characters had to play a game of miniature golf to decide who gets the apartment. This episode provided viewers with an entertaining and humorous look at how golf can be used in everyday life.

The Greatest Game Ever Played (2005)

Actor-cum-director Bill Paxton tackles the golf movie genre with this inspirational true story of Francis Ouimet’s 1913 US Open victory. 

The film, based on the book by Mark Frost, succeeds in making the sport more than just another game with lush visuals and an accessible cast of characters.

Set in the early 1900s, the film depicts a man of humble origins taking on the upper classes at their own game. 

It’s a black-hat-white-hat tale of class struggle that should appeal to a wide audience outside the golfing world. Shia LaBeouf, Gary Sinise, Elias Koteas and Eddie Lowry deliver powerful performances.

Although it does not quite achieve the satirical heights of Caddyshack or the emotional depths of Tin Cup, Greatest Game Ever Played is still an excellent sports drama with plenty of quotable lines and unforgettable scenes. 

It’s also a film about how persistence and perseverance can overcome any obstacle. The fact that it features Ouimet squaring off against Harry Vardon adds even more gravitas to the proceedings. It’s one of the most underrated golf movies of all time.

Tin Cup (1996)

Kevin Costner and director Ron Shelton are a team that knows how to make sports movies. They’ve done baseball (Bull Durham), basketball (Blue Chips), football (White Men Can’t Jump) and now golf. But the film’s broad appeal means intimate knowledge of the sport isn’t necessary to enjoy it.

Shelton is a master at writing and directing underdog sports tales, and this film is no exception. He brings the same likable swagger that made Bull Durham so entertaining to this story of a washed-up golfer’s Quixotic quest for glory.

Roy McAvoy, known as “Tin Cup,” blew his chances at professional golf in college and now works as a driving range pro in West Texas. When an anal retentive psychologist named Molly Griswold comes to the range seeking golf lessons, Roy is immediately smitten. 

The only problem is she’s dating David Simms, one of his old college golf rivals. She soon learns playing it safe isn’t the way to win, on the course or in love. Real-life PGA tour pro Peter Jacobsen plays himself in one of the movie’s best scenes.

Caddyshack (1980)

Golf may be the focal point of this hysterical send-up of country club culture, but there’s plenty more to enjoy in this golfing comedy. The confluence of talent in this flick is electric, with Bill Murray, Chevy Chase and Rodney Dangerfield all bringing their unique styles to the table.

Director Harold Ramis and screenwriter Brian Doyle-Murray drew from their own personal experiences to write the script. 

The characters of Danny Noonan and his overcrowded house were inspired by Doyle-Murray’s own family life, while the head greenskeeper role of Carl Spackler was based on his own brother Bill (who also co-starred in the film).

Filmed throughout Palm Beach County, the movie set a new high water mark for golf on celluloid, even though it was released nearly 40 years ago. 

The outrageous climax – which saw the gophers getting into the clubhouse, a riot and the firing of the judge – was so loud that it reportedly scared a pilot landing a plane at nearby Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. TFH guru Joe Dante, who was involved in the film’s production, says that Caddyshack is still funny today – something few movies can claim.

The Legend of Bagger Vance (2000)

Golf movies run the gamut from low-brow comedies (many as a direct result of the success of perhaps the best golf comedy ever in Caddyshack) to high-stakes dramas with plenty of competitive tension. 

But it’s rare that a film is as heartwarming, entertaining and genuinely touching as The Legend of Bagger Vance.

Directed by Academy Award winner Robert Redford and starring Will Smith, Matt Damon and Charlize Theron, this sports-drama is based on the 1995 novel of the same name by Steven Pressfield. The story is set in 1931 Georgia. The movie tugs at your heart strings, entertains and features some of the most dramatic golf scenes you will find in any movie.

A Savannah native named Junah showed a remarkable talent for golf at an early age and was predicted to be one of America’s greatest players. 

But a family squabble and depression brought the underdog down. To regain his fortune, he hosts an exhibition match between legendary golfers Walter Hagan and Bobby Jones. 

During the tournament, a mysterious caddy named Bagger Vance appears and offers to serve as Junah’s caddie. Bagger Vance helps Junah recover his own “authentic swing”– which is really a metaphor for his life.

Seven Days in Utopia (2011)

Based on the bestselling book by David Cook, this independent production from Visio Entertainment should go over well with a certain demographic of Christian sports fans and church groups. 

Unfortunately, the movie’s spiritual inclinations become grating after a while. It’s also a bit rote, borrowing elements from “The Legend of Bagger Vance” and even “The Karate Kid.”

Lucas Black plays Luke Chisholm, a young golf pro who has a major meltdown during a tournament that makes national news, driving away his father/coach (Joseph Lyle Taylor) and basically scuttling his once-promising career. 

Depressed, he crashes his car through the fence of rancher Johnny Crawford (Robert Duvall), who takes him in and promises to help him find his game.

Despite the presence of two top-notch actors in the cast, Seven Days in Utopia is never quite as satisfying as it should be. The characters are one-dimensional and the movie never manages to convince us that Luke’s Daddy issues or professional traumas have actually been healed. 

Plus, the town of Utopia seems to consist entirely of white folks, and the only black character is a horse whisperer played by real-life pro golfer K.J. Choi.

Follow the Sun (1951)

Glenn Ford delivers a solid performance as golf legend Ben Hogan in this efficient biopic, which follows the course of his meteoric career before he was mangled in a 1949 car accident. This melodrama uses a bit of cinematic license but is still an engaging story about the triumphs of a true sports hero.

Texan Hogan, who works as a caddy to stay close to his dream of becoming a professional golfer, makes the grade through diligence and tenacity. But his life is turned upside down when he’s in a terrible car accident that fractures his pelvis and collar bone, leaving him partially paralyzed.

His friend and fellow pro, Chuck Williams (Dennis O’Keefe), takes him under his wing and Hogan hits the tour. He soon finds himself playing in front of huge galleries and faces stiff competition from Sam Snead and other top pros. 

Hogan nearly gives up, but Valerie talks him into it and they hit the road together, following the sun from tournament to tournament. Many of the real-life golfers and sports figures of the day appear in this film.

Happy Gilmore (1996)

All Happy Gilmore wanted to be was a hockey player but when his grandmother’s house gets repossessed and she is sent to a nursing home, he decides to try to win a golf tournament so that he can buy her home back. He joins the tour and starts to wreak havoc on the other players with his foul-mouthed attitude and powerful driving skills. 

Christopher McDonald plays Shooter McGavin, an arrogant golfer who is one of the top stars on the tour and Julie Bowen plays Virginia Venit, a public relations director for the tour.

While many people might not think of this movie as a classic, it is a funny film about a bad golfer and the events that follow him. 

Adam Sandler makes the movie hilarious and his character Chubbs even appears to give him tips from Heaven in a scene that is guaranteed to make you laugh. 

The golfing in this movie is also done well and the scene with Bob Barker is comedy gold. It is a fun film that anyone should see.