Golf is a sport that has been the subject of numerous movies over the years. From comedic classics to inspiring dramas, golf movies have the ability to capture the beauty and challenge of the game while also telling engaging stories.
Whether you’re a die-hard golfer or simply enjoy watching the sport, there is a golf movie out there for everyone.
Best Golf Movies
We’ll take a look at some of the best golf movies ever made, examining what makes them great and why you should watch them. So, grab your clubs and get ready for a cinematic journey through the world of golf.
1. Caddyshack (1980)
“Caddyshack” is a 1980 comedy film directed by Harold Ramis and written by Ramis, Brian Doyle-Murray, and Douglas Kenney.
The film takes place at the exclusive Bushwood Country Club and follows a group of characters, including a wealthy but clueless golfer named Ty Webb (played by Chevy Chase), an ambitious caddy named Danny Noonan (played by Michael O’Keefe), and a groundskeeper named Carl Spackler (played by Bill Murray), as they navigate their way through a variety of comedic situations.
The film features a star-studded cast, including Chase, O’Keefe, Murray, Ted Knight, and Rodney Dangerfield, and is known for its irreverent humor, wacky characters, and memorable one-liners. It has become a cult classic and is widely regarded as one of the funniest films of the 1980s.
“Caddyshack” has been praised for its memorable characters, its witty dialogue, and its irreverent take on the world of golf and country clubs. It has also been noted for its influence on later comedies and its status as a cultural touchstone of the 1980s.
2. Happy Gilmore (1996)
“Happy Gilmore” is a 1996 sports comedy film directed by Dennis Dugan and starring Adam Sandler, Christopher McDonald, and Julie Bowen.
The film follows the story of Happy Gilmore (Sandler), a failed hockey player who discovers a talent for golf and joins the PGA Tour in order to win enough money to save his grandmother’s house from being repossessed.
The film is known for its over-the-top humor, physical comedy, and memorable one-liners. It explores themes of perseverance, redemption, and the power of believing in oneself.
Happy’s journey from a hot-headed outsider to a beloved champion resonates with audiences of all ages and has made the film a classic in the sports comedy genre.
“Happy Gilmore” features a star-studded cast, including Carl Weathers, Kevin Nealon, and Bob Barker in a memorable cameo role. The film’s soundtrack, featuring classic rock hits, has also become a fan favorite.
3. The Legend of Bagger Vance (2000)
“The Legend of Bagger Vance” is a 2000 sports drama film directed by Robert Redford and starring Will Smith, Matt Damon, and Charlize Theron. The film is based on the 1995 novel of the same name by Steven Pressfield.
The story takes place during the Great Depression and follows a disillusioned World War I veteran named Rannulph Junuh (Damon), who is struggling to find his place in the world.
Junuh is persuaded to participate in a golf tournament by a mysterious caddy named Bagger Vance (Smith), who helps him regain his confidence and find his swing.
Along the way, Junuh falls in love with a local socialite (Theron) and faces off against two of the greatest golfers of his time.
The film received mixed reviews from critics and was a box office disappointment, grossing just over $39 million worldwide against a budget of $80 million.
However, it has since gained a cult following and is often praised for its cinematography, score, and performances by Smith and Damon.
4. Tin Cup (1996)
“Tin Cup” is a 1996 sports romantic comedy film directed by Ron Shelton and starring Kevin Costner, Rene Russo, and Don Johnson.
The film follows the story of Roy “Tin Cup” McAvoy, a former golf prodigy who now runs a rundown driving range in Texas.
When McAvoy falls in love with a psychiatrist named Dr. Molly Griswold (Russo), he decides to try and win her heart by competing in the U.S. Open golf tournament.
The film is known for its witty and entertaining script, which blends romance, comedy, and sports drama to great effect.
It features several memorable scenes, including McAvoy’s epic meltdown on the final hole of the tournament, and his decision to attempt a seemingly impossible shot by hitting a golf ball over a water hazard.
“Tin Cup” was well-received by critics and audiences alike upon its release, with many praising its performances, humor, and sports sequences.
The film has since become a cult classic among golf fans and sports movie enthusiasts, and it is often cited as one of the best golf movies of all time.
5. The Greatest Game Ever Played (2005)
“The Greatest Game Ever Played” is a sports drama film released in 2005. Directed by Bill Paxton and starring Shia LaBeouf, the movie is based on the true story of Francis Ouimet, a working-class boy who defies the odds to compete against the best golfers in the world at the 1913 U.S. Open.
Here’s a brief summary of the movie:
Francis Ouimet (Shia LaBeouf) is a caddie at a local golf club in Brookline, Massachusetts, with a talent for the game. Despite his working-class background and lack of formal training, Francis dreams of becoming a professional golfer. When the U.S.
Open comes to town, Francis is given the chance of a lifetime to compete against his golfing heroes, including Harry Vardon (Stephen Dillane), a British champion with a reputation for being unbeatable.
As Francis trains and prepares for the tournament, he faces skepticism and ridicule from those around him, who see him as a long shot.
But with the support of his family and friends, Francis perseveres and plays a brilliant game, ultimately defeating Vardon and winning the U.S. Open.
The movie is a story of determination, passion, and the triumph of the underdog. It is a well-crafted sports drama with stunning visuals and great performances, particularly by LaBeouf in the lead role.
It is a must-watch for golf enthusiasts and anyone who loves a good underdog story.
6. The Phantom of the Open (2021)
“The Phantom of the Open” is a 2021 British comedy-drama film directed by Craig Roberts. It is based on the true story of Maurice Flitcroft, a British crane operator who became infamous in the world of golf for his attempts to qualify for the Open Championship in 1976.
The film stars Mark Rylance as Flitcroft, along with Sally Hawkins, Rhys Ifans, and David Morrissey in supporting roles. It premiered at the 2021 Edinburgh International Film Festival and has received generally positive reviews from critics.
The film tells the story of a man who, despite having no real talent for golf, becomes obsessed with the game and manages to qualify for the prestigious Open Championship.
Along the way, he faces ridicule and rejection from the golfing establishment, but remains determined to prove his worth.
Overall, “The Phantom of the Open” is a quirky and humorous take on a true story of perseverance and passion.
7. Bobby Jones: Stroke of Genius (2004)
“Bobby Jones: Stroke of Genius” is a biographical drama film based on the life of legendary golfer Bobby Jones. The film follows Jones (played by Jim Caviezel) as he rises to fame in the 1920s and 1930s, becoming one of the greatest golfers of all time.
The movie also delves into the personal struggles that Jones faced, including a lifelong battle with a rare spinal disease and the pressure he faced from his family and fans to continue playing despite his health issues.
What makes “Bobby Jones: Stroke of Genius” a standout golf movie is its attention to detail in recreating the sport during Jones’ era, as well as its exploration of the mental and emotional toll that golf can take on a player.
The film also features a strong supporting cast, including Malcolm McDowell as Jones’ coach and Jeremy Northam as his friend and rival, Walter Hagen.
Overall, “Bobby Jones: Stroke of Genius” is a must-watch for fans of golf and biographical dramas, offering a fascinating look at the life and career of one of the sport’s most iconic figures.
8. Seven Days in Utopia (2011)
“Seven Days in Utopia” is a 2011 drama film directed by Matt Russell and starring Robert Duvall, Lucas Black, and Melissa Leo.
The film follows young golfer Luke Chisholm (played by Black) as he suffers a major setback during a professional tournament and ends up stranded in the small town of Utopia, Texas.
There, he meets a wise old rancher named Johnny Crawford (played by Duvall) who teaches him important life lessons and helps him improve his game.
The film is based on the book “Golf’s Sacred Journey: Seven Days at the Links of Utopia” by Dr. David L. Cook, which is a spiritual guide to golf and life.
The film follows a similar theme, using the game of golf as a metaphor for life and exploring themes of self-discovery, redemption, and personal growth.
“Seven Days in Utopia” received mixed reviews from critics, with some praising the film’s positive message and strong performances from Duvall and Black, while others criticized the film’s heavy-handed approach and cliched storytelling.
Nevertheless, the film has developed a dedicated fan base among golf enthusiasts and those who appreciate its inspirational message.
9. The Caddy (1953)
“The Caddy” is a 1953 comedy film starring the famous comedy duo, Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. The film was directed by Norman Taurog and follows the story of Harvey Miller (Lewis), who works as a golf caddy but dreams of becoming a professional golfer.
When he meets professional golfer Joe Anthony (Martin), Harvey sees a chance to make his dream come true and becomes Joe’s caddy.
The film is known for its classic comedy style and features Martin and Lewis’ trademark slapstick humor, musical performances, and witty banter. It also includes a romantic subplot involving Joe and a socialite named Kathy Taylor (Barbara Bates).
“The Caddy” was a commercial success and remains a beloved classic in the golf comedy genre. It is often cited as one of Martin and Lewis’ best films and features iconic moments such as Martin and Lewis’ rendition of the song “That’s Amore.”
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10. The Short Game (2013)
“The Short Game” is a 2013 documentary film directed by Josh Greenbaum. The film follows the journeys of eight young golfers from around the world as they prepare to compete in the 2012 U.S. Kids Golf World Championship in Pinehurst, North Carolina.
The young golfers, all between the ages of 7 and 8, come from diverse backgrounds and countries, including the United States, China, and France.
The film offers an intimate look into their lives and training regimes, as well as their relationships with their parents and coaches.
“The Short Game” received positive reviews from critics, who praised its heartwarming portrayal of the young golfers and their families. It won the Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature at the 2013 South by Southwest Film Festival and was later released on Netflix.
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11. Tommy’s Honour (2016)
“Tommy’s Honour” is a 2016 biographical drama film directed by Jason Connery and based on the true story of Scottish golf pioneers, Old Tom Morris and his son, Young Tom Morris. The film stars Peter Mullan, Jack Lowden, and Sam Neill.
The story takes place in 19th-century Scotland, where golf was a game reserved for the wealthy elite. However, Old Tom Morris (Mullan), a skilled golfer and course designer, sees the potential for golf to be a sport for everyone, not just the wealthy.
His son, Young Tom Morris (Lowden), inherits his father’s talent and ambition and becomes the youngest player to win the British Open.
However, their relationship becomes strained as Young Tom seeks to break free from his father’s shadow and establish himself as a golfer in his own right.
The film received generally positive reviews from critics, with many praising the performances of the lead actors and the authentic recreation of 19th-century Scotland.
It also won the BAFTA Scotland award for Best Feature Film in 2017. “Tommy’s Honour” is a moving and inspiring story of the power of ambition, talent, and family ties, and is a must-watch for golf enthusiasts and fans of biographical dramas.
12. From the Rough (2013)
“From the Rough” is a sports drama film released in 2013. Directed by Pierre Bagley and starring Taraji P. Henson, the movie is based on the true story of Catana Starks, the first African-American woman to coach a men’s college golf team.
Here’s a brief summary of the movie:
Catana Starks (Taraji P. Henson) is a former Tennessee State University swim coach who gets a chance to coach the struggling men’s golf team at the same university.
She faces opposition from the team, who do not take her seriously due to her gender and race. However, Catana is determined to prove herself and build a winning team.
Catana faces several challenges, including limited funding and resources, a lack of experience in coaching golf, and a team that is not used to winning.
She puts together an unconventional team, recruiting players from all over the world who have never played collegiate golf before. She instills in them a sense of discipline, teamwork, and dedication to the game.
Despite facing numerous setbacks, Catana’s team begins to win matches and make a name for themselves in the golf community.
The movie culminates in a championship match, where the team faces off against their biggest rivals, with Catana’s leadership and guidance helping them to emerge victorious.
The movie is an inspiring story of perseverance, overcoming obstacles, and breaking barriers.
It is a feel-good sports movie with great performances, particularly by Taraji P. Henson, who portrays Catana Starks with strength and determination. It is a must-watch for anyone who loves sports movies and inspirational stories.
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13. A Gentleman’s Game (2002)
“A Gentleman’s Game” is a 2002 sports drama film directed by J. Mills Goodloe and starring Mason Gamble, Gary Sinise, and Dylan Baker.
The film tells the story of a young boy named Timmy Price (Gamble) who is taken under the wing of an exclusive golf club’s groundskeeper, Foster Pearse (Sinise).
Timmy is mentored by Foster and taught not only the game of golf but also important life lessons such as honor, respect, and responsibility.
The film explores themes of class and privilege, as Timmy comes from a working-class family and struggles to fit in at the elite golf club. It also touches on the pressures and expectations that young athletes face and the sacrifices they must make in pursuit of success.
Despite receiving mixed reviews from critics, “A Gentleman’s Game” has been praised for its strong performances and the way it portrays the sport of golf as a metaphor for life. It offers a heartfelt message about the importance of hard work, determination, and staying true to oneself.
14. Dead Solid Perfect (1988 TV Movie)
“Dead Solid Perfect” is a 1988 made-for-TV sports drama film directed by Bobby Roth and based on the novel of the same name by Dan Jenkins.
The film follows the professional and personal struggles of professional golfer Kenny Lee (played by Randy Quaid) as he tries to make it to the top of the golfing world.
The film explores themes of ambition, love, and the toll that the pressure of professional sports can take on an athlete. It also features an all-star cast, including Kathryn Harrold, Corinne Bohrer, and Jack Warden.
Despite receiving mixed reviews upon its release, “Dead Solid Perfect” has since become a cult classic among golf enthusiasts and fans of sports dramas. It is known for its realistic portrayal of the sport of golf, as well as its engaging characters and compelling storyline.
15. Den ofrivillige golfaren (1991)
“Den ofrivillige golfaren” is a Swedish comedy film released in 1991. The title translates to “The Involuntary Golfer” in English. The film was directed by Lasse Åberg, who also stars as the lead character, Sven “Svullo” Svensson.
The story revolves around Sven, a clumsy and lazy man who is forced to participate in a golf tournament by his boss in order to secure a business deal. Sven has never played golf before and is not interested in the sport, but he reluctantly agrees to participate.
He then begins to train and learn the game, with the help of a beautiful golf instructor named Cecilia (Helena Bergström).
The film is known for its humor, both physical and verbal, and for its portrayal of the Swedish golfing culture. It was a commercial success in Sweden and won several awards, including the Guldbagge Award for Best Director and Best Screenplay.
16. Who’s Your Caddy? (2007)
“Who’s Your Caddy?” is a 2007 comedy film directed by Don Michael Paul. The film follows the story of a wealthy African American businessman named C-Note (played by Antwan Andre Patton, also known as Big Boi) who wants to join an exclusive golf club in an upscale neighborhood.
Despite facing resistance from the club’s members, C-Note and his entourage continue to push for membership and engage in a series of comical hijinks along the way. The film also features a number of cameos from professional golfers, including Tiger Woods and Fuzzy Zoeller.
“Who’s Your Caddy?” received generally negative reviews from critics, who criticized its crude humor and lack of originality. However, it did earn a cult following among some audiences and has since become a minor classic in the golf comedy genre.
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17. Caddyshack II (1988)
“Caddyshack II” is a 1988 comedy film and the sequel to the 1980 classic “Caddyshack”. The film was directed by Allan Arkush and stars Jackie Mason, Dan Aykroyd, and Robert Stack.
The film follows a new member of the elite Bushwood Country Club, Jack Hartounian (Mason), a successful but uncouth businessman who aspires to become a respected member of the club.
However, he quickly finds himself at odds with the stuffy club members and their prejudices against him. Meanwhile, a construction worker (Aykroyd) and his crew stumble upon a long-lost subterranean treasure beneath the club, leading to a series of wacky and chaotic events.
Critics and audiences were generally disappointed with “Caddyshack II”, citing the lack of originality and the absence of the iconic characters from the original film. The film was a box office bomb and is often regarded as one of the worst sequels ever made.
18. Hole in One (2009)
“Hole in One” is a sports comedy film that was released in 2009. The movie follows the story of a young man named Eric, who is an excellent golfer but has a hard time focusing on his game due to his obsession with a girl named Katelyn.
Eric then discovers that Katelyn’s father is a doctor who has a method for helping golfers with their concentration. Eric decides to seek his help and gets hypnotized to improve his golf game.
The film stars Steve Talley as Eric, David Ellison as Kip, Dean Cameron as Travis, Christopher Showerman as Ben, and Dan Gunther as Craig. It was directed by Drew Ann Rosenberg and written by Mike Terrell
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19. Freaky Ali (2016)
“Freaky Ali” is a 2016 Indian sports comedy-drama film directed by Sohail Khan and starring Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Arbaaz Khan, and Amy Jackson. The film tells the story of Ali, a poor man who becomes a successful professional golfer despite having no prior experience or training in the sport.
The film explores themes of class and social status, as Ali overcomes the prejudices of the elite golfing community to prove himself as a talented player. It also touches on the importance of following one’s dreams and the power of self-belief.
“Freaky Ali” was praised for its strong performances, particularly by Nawazuddin Siddiqui, who received critical acclaim for his portrayal of the titular character. The film was also lauded for its humor and its ability to balance comedy with drama.
Overall, “Freaky Ali” is an entertaining and inspiring film that delivers an uplifting message about the importance of perseverance and self-belief in the face of adversity.
20. Golf Punks (1998)
“Golf Punks” is a 1998 comedy film directed by Harvey Frost. The film follows the story of two misfit golfers, Dick and Joe, who are constantly struggling to improve their game.
Desperate to make it to the big league, they come across a wealthy businessman who offers to sponsor them on the condition that they teach his spoiled son how to play golf.
While dealing with their own issues and the challenges of training the businessman’s son, the duo find themselves facing off against their longtime rivals in a high-stakes golf tournament.
The film features an ensemble cast, including Tom Arnold, Kevin Nealon, and Renée Ammann. It combines comedy and sports elements, offering a fun and entertaining look at the world of golf.
Although it received mixed reviews upon its release, “Golf Punks” remains a cult classic among golf enthusiasts and fans of sports comedies.
3 Characteristics of Golf Movies
Here are three common characteristics of golf movies:
Themes of underdog triumph: Many golf movies follow the journey of an underdog character who overcomes obstacles and personal challenges to achieve success on the golf course.
Focus on technique and strategy: Golf is a sport that requires precision, skill, and strategy. As such, many golf movies highlight the technical aspects of the game, from swing mechanics to course strategy.
Scenic locations: Golf courses are often set in beautiful, scenic locations, and many golf movies take advantage of this by featuring stunning landscapes and picturesque backdrops.
3 Reasons To Watch Golf Movies
Unique Sports Drama: Golf is a unique sport that offers a different kind of sports drama compared to other popular sports. Golf movies often focus on the mental and psychological aspects of the game, making for compelling stories of triumph and defeat.
Scenic Locations: Golf courses are often situated in beautiful locations, making for stunning visuals and breathtaking backdrops. Golf movies take advantage of these scenic locations and showcase them in all their glory, providing a feast for the eyes.
Life Lessons: Golf movies often offer valuable life lessons that can be applied off the course as well. Themes of perseverance, sportsmanship, and self-improvement are common in golf movies, making them both entertaining and inspiring.
Best Golf Movies – Wrap Up
Here are some of the best golf movies of all time:
Caddyshack (1980) – A classic comedy about the hilarious misadventures of the staff and members at a country club.
Tin Cup (1996) – A romantic comedy-drama that tells the story of a washed-up golf pro who tries to win the US Open.
The Legend of Bagger Vance (2000) – A drama that explores the spiritual and philosophical aspects of golf, featuring a young golfer who is mentored by a mysterious caddy.
Happy Gilmore (1996) – A sports comedy about a hockey player turned golfer who uses his unorthodox style to make it big in the sport.
The Greatest Game Ever Played (2005) – A biographical sports drama about the historic 1913 US Open, where a young amateur golfer named Francis Ouimet defeated his idol, Harry Vardon.
Seven Days in Utopia (2011) – A drama about a young golfer who seeks the help of a veteran player to improve his game and find himself.
Bobby Jones: Stroke of Genius (2004) – A biographical drama that tells the story of the legendary golfer Bobby Jones and his rise to fame.
These movies offer a mix of comedy, drama, and inspiration, making them great choices for golf enthusiasts and movie lovers alike.