What are the best golf movies of all time? Well, it’s not easy choosing a definitive list, but we’ve had a go. There have been some belters over the years…and a few stinkers.
It’s all subjective, of course, so there’s no need to write a letter of complaint. Rather, discuss it amongst yourselves.
We’re not brave enough to rank them, so we’ll leave that to you. Please note that there’s no place for Goldfinger versus Bond here, obviously. ‘Best Golf Scenes In Non-Golf Movies’ is a work in progress.
Anyway, here are the 13 best golf movies of all time…
1. From the Rough
If you liked Coach Carter, you’d enjoy From the Rough. It’s based on a true story and stars Taraji P. Henson as Catana Starks, the first woman ever to coach an all-men’s team at the collegiate level. She overcomes the odds and deep-rooted prejudice to guide a rag-tag group of golfers to…well, that would spoil things.
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It’s hard not to think of Caddyshack every time mad-keen golfer Bill Murray rocks up at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship Pro-Am. Of all the comical characters at an exclusive golf club, Murray steals the show as Carl Spackler, the groundsman on the hunt for a destructive gopher. The best golf movie ever? Quite possibly.
3. Tommy’s Honour
This movie centres on pioneer Old Tom Morris’s relationship with his son. It’s a must-watch for anyone with an interest in the history of the game. Peter Mullan and Jack Lowden star, with Ophelia Lovibond as Tommy’s wife Meg and Sam Neill as R&A captain Alexander Boothby.
4. Happy Gilmore
The character Happy Gilmore was made for Adam Sandler. He’s an angry ice hockey player who swaps the rink for the fairways to try and save his grandmother’s house. Needless to say, it’s a golf comedy film and, as far as we know, not based on a true story. It matters not. Comedy genius would be stretching it, but it’s certainly amusing.
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5. Seve the Movie
This is the true inspirational story of one of golf’s greats. Of course, we remember his famous wins, but there’s much more to admire about Seve’s career. Take a trip down memory lane and discover how this legend first picked up a club.
6. Bobby Jones: Stroke of Genius
Talking of legends, here’s another. Jones is the only golfer to win all four major golf championships in a single season. That was in 1930. Seventy-four years later, along came the film. It stars Jim Caviezel as Jones, with a cast that also includes Jeremy Northam, Malcolm McDowell, Aidan Quinn, and Paul Freeman.
7. The Greatest Game Ever Played
A heart-warming true story from Walt Disney pictures, this is the account of the 1913 US Open and a 20-year-old amateur, Francis Ouimet, who tees it up against his father’s wishes. Once there, he finds himself locked in a battle with some of the game’s greats. Here’s another ‘against-all-odds’ movie from the studio that brought us Remember the Titans and The Rookie.
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8. Tin Cup
Kevin Costner starred in several great movies in the nineties—but where does Tin Cup stand? It’s not all about Roy ‘Tin Cup’ McAvoy’s attempts to qualify for the US Open. He’s a washed-up pro, and this is part of the story. But Costner is in his prime, which means there’s a lady involved, too. A golfing rom-com of the highest calibre and, without doubt, one of the best golf movies ever.
9. The Legend of Bagger Vance
Based on the best-selling novel by Steven Pressfield, The Legend of Bagger Vance stars the excellent Matt Damon and Will Smith. The former is the struggling player, the latter the type of caddie everyone wishes they had. Smith gets a bit preachy at times, but he was in Aladdin and saved the day there, too.
10. Follow the Sun
This is the inspirational 1951 film biography of Ben Hogan. It stars Glenn Ford as Hogan and Anne Baxter as his wife. Hogan, regarded as one of the game’s greatest ever players, certainly had more than a few interesting stories to tell. There’s his early work as a caddie, his professional career, and the horrific car accident. The story of what happened next is remarkable…
11. Dead Solid Perfect
Randy Quaid stars as Kenny Lee, an underachieving pro golfer trying to make the tour circuit. It’s based on a best-selling novel by Dan Jenkins, and although it wouldn’t make our top five—if we were ranking them, of course—its Tangerine Dream soundtrack is a major plus.
12. Seven Days In Utopia
“Spend seven days in Utopia, and you’ll find your game”. Wise words from Robert Duvall, the eccentric rancher who helps a young golfer back on his feet. Luke may have hit rock bottom, but he’s about to learn some life lessons and plot his way back.
13. The Phantom of the Open
Back in 1976, a shipyard crane operator from Barrow-in-Furness named Maurice Flitcroft gate crashed the British Open by posing as a professional golfer. This was much to the frustration of the golfing elite, but he gained significant media attention and won support from his local community.
This adaptation of his story is hilarious and has quickly become one of the most popular golf comedy films.
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