Golf has long been a part of popular culture and today we are spoilt for choice when it comes to the choice of golf movies. Thanks to the several online streaming services available, it is possible to watch movies on demand. By searching for golf movies using some of the popular streaming companies, such as Netflix or Amazon Prime, you will be met with a whole host of options. The question is, what are the top golf movies? This article will discuss some of our favorites, including a few you may have missed.
We make no excuse for beginning our run down of the best golf movies with this film about legendary golfer Seve Ballesteros. Considered one of the greatest players of all time, the Spaniard performed at the highest level between the 70s to the 90s, winning 5 major titles during his career. Seve: The Movie looks back further than his playing career, dramatizing his childhood with his father, a farm labourer in Spain. Following the progress of Ballesteros from a child to the top of the golfing world, this movie is both inspiring and poignant.
If you have never seen Tin Cup before, then where have you been? As a golf fan this is a must watch and Tin Cup stars Kevin Costner as Roy "Tin Cup" McAvoy. He owns a driving range and provides golf lessons having himself failed as a golfer. A clinical psychologist asks for lessons and McAvoy is taken by the woman, who quickly sees through his advances.
As the movies progresses, McAvoy is goaded into qualifying for the US Open and pushes himself mentally, eventually to a game-sacrificing situation. Interestingly, in the build up to filming this golf rom-com, Costner trained with professional player and commentator Gary McCord, who also makes an appearance in the movie. The scene where McAvoy tries to hit the ball across a lake is based on McCord’s real life events.
Again, this is another movie that should be at the top of the list for golf lovers. Written by Harold Ramis and Brian Doyle Murray, the duo called upon their own experiences of caddying at their local golf clubs. Starring Chevy Chase, Rodney Dangerfield, Ted Knight, and Bill Murray, Caddyshack is not only one of the greatest golf comedy movies of all time, but one of the top comedy movies of any genre, full stop.
The coming of age comedy focuses on caddie Danny Noonan but it is the character played by Murphy, Carl Spackler, who steals the show (along with the gophers of course). If you have no idea what we are talking about, just watch the movie, you will not regret it and there are plenty of one-liners to enjoy.
Sticking with comedy and we come to one of the many movies in this bracket starring Adam Sandler. The mix of golf and Sandler is not something that immediately comes to mind as being a great combination but Happy Gilmore is without doubt one of his best creations. Sandler’s style may not be for everyone but he hits the sweet spot between comedy and sentimentality in this movie.
Sandler plays a failed ice hockey player who turns his attention to golf. He has a spectacular drive but struggles when it comes to the short game. That is where former golf legend, Chubbs Peterson, played by Carl Weathers, steps in to help. The overriding goal of Gilmore is to win the money his Grandma needs to pay off a debut and there is even a little romantic sub-plot thrown in for good measure.
Following the exploits of amateur American golfer Francis Ouimet, things get a little more serious now in the movie The Greatest Game Ever Played. Released in 2005, the film stars Shia LaBeouf and is an adaption of Mark Frost‘s book that goes by the same name. The Story follows Ouimet on his journey to winning the 1913 US Open. He was only 20 years old and went on to win the tournament a further 5 times during his career.
Despite being well known for his duels against Bobby Jones, this movie sees Ouimet up against Englishman Harry Vardon. There is a bit of dramatic licence used towards the end of the film when Ouimet, Vardon and Ted Ray compete in a playoff to see who wins the 1913 US Open but the drama on the golf course is incredible.
This documentary film was released in 2013, making it the most recent golf movies in this list. While all of the golf movies highlighted above focused on adult male golfers, The Short Game switches the attention to children. Directed by Josh Greenbaum, the documentary follows eight young golfers to Pinehurst, North Carolina for the 2012 US Kids Golf World Championship. There is an interesting mix of children from around the world, with kids coming from the United States but others travelling from France, South Africa, and China to participate in the event.
The Short Game provides a fantastic insight into the world of young golfers in terms of their skill level. However, the documentary goes much deeper than that to show their relationship with parents and coaches. The addition of interviews with Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus, Chi Chi Rodriguez, and Annika Sorenstam is a nice touch as they provide some perspective on all aspects of becoming a professional golfer. One thing soon becomes clear in The Short Game, these kids are going to have to give up any hope of having a normal childhood to become the next big thing on the PGA Tour.
The six golf movies above are some of the best available today. They offer a great mix of drama, comedy, insight, nostalgia, and entertainment. However, there are plenty more golf related films available to watch including From the Rough, Tommy’s Honour, Bobby Jones: Stroke of Genius, The Legend of Bagger Vance, Follow the Sun, Seven Days in Utopia, and Dead Solid Perfect.
Grab the popcorn, sit back, and enjoy.