8 of The Best Golf Movies Ever Made
When it comes to golf movies, the pickings are slim. However, there are a handful of classics that should be on every golfer's must-watch list. Whether you’re looking for some cheap laughs (Caddyshack, Happy Gilmore), a golf history lesson (Bobby Jones: Stroke of Genius, The Greatest Game Ever Played), or a gold ole fashioned drama (Tin Cup, The Legend of Bagger Vance), there’s a golf movie in every category.
Here’s the countdown of eight of the best golf movies ever made, sorted by box office success.
#8 A Gentleman’s Game
Considered by some as the worst golf movie ever made (they’re wrong, it’s still Caddyshack 2), this direct-to-video movie is worth a watch for the so-bad-it’s-good factor. A Gentleman’s Game is a coming-of-age story of the elite against the everyman as a caddie rises to challenge the powerful country club members. It’s predictable, it’s melodramatic, it was 2002.
Despite its underwhelming success, A Gentleman’s Game won DVD Premiere Awards for Best Actor (Gary Sinise), Best Live Action DVD Premiere Movie and Best Cinematography. It was also nominated for an ESPY for Best Sports Movie, which ultimately went to Bend It Like Beckham.
A Gentleman’s Game By The Numbers
|Release||August 20, 2002|
|Director||J. Mills Goodloe|
#7 Tommy’s Honour
Tommy’s Honour reaches back into the beginnings of professional golf and looks at the complex lives and careers of father and son duo “Old” Tom Morris and “Young” Tom Morris.
Both Morris’ won multiple Open Championships, including several by the junior Morris while competing against his father. The film also looks at issues of class that continue to impact how golf is played and perceived.
Tommy’s Honour is a great historical golf movie that examines a time period we could otherwise only read about, as “Old” and “Young” Tom Morris each left a lasting legacy on the game of golf.
Tommy’s Honour By The Numbers
|Release||April 14, 2017|
#6 Bobby Jones: Stroke of Genius
As its name suggests, this movie is a biography of the greatest amateur player in golf’s history, Bobby Jones. Jones remains the only golfer of any era to win a Grand Slam, which at the time was the U.S. Open, US Amateur, Open Championship, and British Amateur. The movie stars Jim Caviezel as Jones.
Bobby Jones: Stroke of Genius does a great job of highlighting one of the greatest golf careers of all time, but the film lacks real controversy. Jones overcomes childhood sickness, a short temper, and on-course rival Walter Hagen while balancing the demands of a growing family, but throughout the film there is never any real threat to his eventual success.
Bobby Jones: Stroke of Genius By The Numbers
|Release||April 30, 2004|
#5 The Greatest Game Ever Played
The Greatest Game Ever Played tells the remarkable story of American golfer Francis Ouimet. The events of 1913 come into focus when Ouimet competed and ultimately won the U.S. Open, becoming the first amateur to win the event. The victory over the world’s best professionals by an unknown, working-class immigrant and his 10-year-old caddie has rightly become the stuff of legend.
Shia LaBeouf portrays Ouimet, who pursues his golf obsession much to the dismay of his father. The movie is an adaptation of the book by the same name.
The Greatest Game Ever Played By The Numbers
|Release||September 30, 2005|
#4 The Legend of Bagger Vance
The Legend of Bagger Vance features the all-star cast of Matt Damon, Will Smith and Charlize Theron. Damon plays Rannulph Junuh, a local golf hero competing against Bobby Jones and Walter Hagen in an exhibition match.
Smith plays Bagger Vance, an enigma who comes to caddy for Junuh and help him rediscover his swing. The movie seamlessly combines comedy and drama into a fun flick.
The Legend of Bagger Vance By The Numbers
|Release||November 5, 2000|
Of course, Caddyshack had to make the list, as the classic Chevy Chase, Rodney Dangerfield, and Bill Murray powered comedy about a seemingly normal country club. Caddyshack is a favorite of golfers from every generation, and more than 40 years since its release, Caddyshack has passed the test of time with flying colors and is still as quotable as ever today.
There are too many plotlines to get into, but surely you’ve seen this movie, right? If not, there’s no time like the present.
Caddyshack By The Numbers
|Release||July 25, 1980|
#2 Happy Gilmore
Starring Adam Sandler as a failed hockey player turned professional golfer, Happy Gilmore is a comedy that will appeal to anyone. When his grandmother’s house is due to be auctioned off, Sandler discovers he can outdrive any golfer and uses his newfound skills to try and save his grandma’s house. Happy Gilmore is worth watching for no other reason than to see Bob Barker fight Sandler.
Happy Gilmore celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2021 and to this day Shooter McGavin, played by Christopher McDonald, is one of the most recognizable and quotable sports movie villains of all time. Happy Gilmore also stars Julie Bowen and Frances Bay, and features appearances from Bob Barker, Lee Trevino, Verne Lundquist, Kevin Nealon and Ben Stiller.
When PGA Tour golfer Will Zalatoris exploded onto the golf scene, he immediately drew comparisons to Happy Gilmore’s fictional caddy. At over $41 million, Happy Gilmore is the second-highest grossing golf movie of all time.
Happy Gilmore By The Numbers
|Release||February 16, 1996|
#1 Tin Cup
A golf movie and a romantic comedy? Tin Cup really is both. Starring Kevin Cosner and Rene Russo, Tin Cup tells of golf slacker Roy McAvoy’s attempt to woo Dr. Molly Griswald, the girlfriend of his rival and professional golfer David Simms. Tin Cup culminates with Roy trying to compete in the U.S. Open against David.
Grossing nearly $54 million, Tin Cup is not only the best performing golf movie of all time, but “Tin Cupping” has also become a verb. Golfers who hit multiple shots into the water consecutively can say they “Tin Cupped it,” which McAvoy famously does to prove he’s capable of pulling off a high-difficulty shot, rather than taking a drop closer to the hole.
Tin Cup By The Numbers
|Release||August 16, 1996|
Image: MoviePix via Getty Images