The greatest golf movies of all time

Posted on 24 October 2014
By Carlton Whitfield
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There have been some great movies made about golf and some not so great ones. So let’s be positive and concentrate on the greatest golf movies of all time.

Here are eight of our favorite golfing movies which, if you’re a fan of the great game, you’re going to “have to” watch at some point.

A Gentleman’s Game
Somewhere near the top of our list has to be A Gentleman’s Game. This 2001 movie tells the tale of a boy’s summer vacation job as a caddy at a posh country club. Actor Mason Gamble is Timmy, the 13-year-old youngster around whom the story evolves and who has ambitions and maybe the ability to become a top golfing professional.

Assisted by his Dad, Timmy learns the game of golf through caddying for some of his town’s top golfers, along with a few of the not so great ones! Timmy then gets coached and guided by an ex golf pro.

The movie gets under the skin of what it’s like to be a youngster with a dream of playing your chosen sport professionally in amazing fashion – whilst simultaneously learning all about life. The film is skilful in that we see two worlds through Timmy’s eyes – that of the haves and the have-nots in the world, which is always very visible in the golfing and country club world throughout the US.

Seven Days in Utopia
In Seven Days in Utopia – made in 2011 – veteran actor Robert Duvall stars as a rancher and former top golfer. The old man decides to assist a younger man Luke Chisholm (played by Lucas Black).

This is the movie adaptation of the book “Golf’s Sacred Journey – Seven Days at the Links of Utopia” by David L. Cook. The tale starts with a very embarrassing tournament loss for the pro golfer, Luke Chisholm. This takes him on a downward spiral that culminates in him driving a car straight through a fence in the town of Utopia, Texas. Luckily for the golfer, the incident happens on land owned by rancher Johnny Crawford (played by Robert Duvall), who is also a former touring golf pro. He takes pity on Luke and decides to teach him a thing or two about golf and about life.

This is a great movie for golfers, in particular, who understand just how frustrating this game can get!

Greatest Game Ever Played
For golf aficionados, hitting a small hard white ball with metal or wooden sticks towards a hole with a flag in it is, you’ve guessed it – “the Greatest Game Ever Played” – hence the title of this 2005 movie, which is truly excellent.

Even for those not at all interested in golf, it’s an entertaining movie that also gives us a bit of a lesson on the history of golf. The tale follows a working class youngster and his yearning to be spotted by the golfing fraternity and the pro circuit, in particular. It stars Bill Paxton and Shia LaBeouf and is an uplifting story – particularly for those of us who are suckers for the classic underdog story. It’s a heart-warming tale and a great film for all the family to enjoy – even those who disdain golf!

The Legend Of Bagger Vance (2000 – PG-13)
The 2000 movie The Legend Of Bagger Vance has come in for a lot of criticism over the years, as do all movies that don’t do so well at the box office. Some of this criticism is fair – some of it not. This is a great tale as Matt Damon and Will Smith put their heads together to create another heart-warming tale of triumph and personal fulfilment against all the odds.
Anyone who has played a lot of golf will understand what the main character is going through. And anyone who enjoys a bet on the golf with exchanges like Betfair and others – will quickly be able to conform for you just how fortunes change so rapidly in major competitions.

Tin Cup
The 1996 movie Tin Cup is, for our money, a little better still. This was surely Kevin Costner’s finest hour. Costner stars alongside the hilarious Cheech Marin – whilst Miami Vice legend Don Johnson also puts in a great performance as the PGA golfing all-star, David Simms. Meanwhile, Rene Russo plays David Simm’s girlfriend to very good effect. She becomes involved with the main character (Kevin Costner’s role) when she catches his gaze in a golf lesson.

Happy Gilmore
The 1996 movie Happy Gilmore is perhaps best remembered for Adam Sandler’s running golf swing. It has been copied many times since – usually by youths on golf courses! The movie tells the story of the eponymous character Happy Gilmore’s attempt to beat his rival Shooter McGavin (played by Christopher MacDonald) at golf, co course. He tries to do this with assistance from his one handed coach “Chubbs”, played by Carl Weathers.

The most remembered scene from Happy Gilmore is undoubtedly the confrontation between Happy and Bob Barker
(the famous TV show host plays himself). The movie has achieved a deserved cult-status over the yeas – and is oft-quoted by frat boys and golfers. It is hilarious, though, so make sure you watch it if you haven’t done so already.

Perhaps even funnier than Happy Gilmore, though, is the movie at the top of our list Caddyshack. OK, we know you’ve seen Caddyshack before – but this is a movie you really can watch again and again. It’s a true golfing comedy classic. When you put together the talents of Rodney Dangerfield, Bill Murray, Chevy Chase , and Ted Knight, it was always going to be good. But sometimes the list of big names isn’t enough to make a movie really come off – particularly when it’s a comedy. But Caddyshack comes off alright – and then some.
This is the definitive 80’s comedy and the fact that it’s set at a country club golf resort is just a bonus for fans of golf.

Caddyshack tells the story of Danny Noonan who works as a caddy at a country club as he tries to raise money for college. He caddies for Ty Webb (played by Chevy Chase), who is a good golfer and a bit of an arrogant playboy – and son of one of the club’s co-founders. Danny tries to get in with the owners, to hilarious effect, whilst the greens-keeper Carl Spackler (played by the legendary Bill Murray) is coming under pressure to deal with a gopher infestation.
Caddyshack has endless memorable lines and scenes along with some of the most hilarious 80’s outfits. We’ll leave you, then, thinking about greens-keeper Carl Spackler saying “it’s in the hole”
; it’s unforgettable.

Oh and by the way, if there’s just the slightest chance that you’ve spent the last three decades on Mars and you’ve never happened to watch Caddyshack – then you’re in for a real treat!