As one of the most celebrated and longstanding sports on the planet, golf has more than solidified its place in not only the athletics world, but the also the pop culture landscape. Specifically, the sport is no stranger to the film industry. There are countless films that focus on golf or implement it as a plot point for their characters.
Here are a few of the best movies about golf.
Tin Cup (1996)
Often regarded as one of Kevin Costner’s most pleasing performances, Tin Cup is a romantic comedy centered on prodigious but under-motivated professional golfer Roy “Tin Cup” McAvoy (played by Costner). McAvoy attempts to qualify for the U.S. Open in order to win the heart of Dr. Molly Griswold (played by Rene Russo), his main rival’s girlfriend. The film intermingles romantic drama and comedy for a charmingly entertaining viewing experience.
Happy Gilmore (1996)
One of the more infamously popular golf films of the past few decades, Adam Sandler’s Happy Gilmore has aged well thanks to its wacky comedic approach to an otherwise calm and quiet sport. Sandler portrays the titular character, an over-the-top hockey player who, after numerous failed attempts to join a hockey team, becomes a golfer after discovering the ways in which his powerful slapshot technique can be applied to the sport’s long shot scenarios. Gilmore eventually earns a spot on the pro golf tour with hopes of winning money to pay off his struggling grandmother’s IRS debts. Carl Weathers’s performance as Chubbs Peterson, Gilmore’s fist fight with Bob Barker, and most of the film’s dialogue in general stand as notable moments.
Starring Shia LaBeouf and directed by the late Bill Paxton, The Greatest Game Ever Played is a biopic film portraying Francis Ouimet, the first amateur golfer to win the U.S. Open. Ouimet, played by LeBeouf, emerges from a working class immigrant family to eventually qualify for and win the 1913 Open, giving viewers an uplifting experience rooted in the human condition and the undeniable drama of professional sports — all while keeping itself reasonably grounded in historical accuracy.
Last but certainly not least comes one of the best comedy sports films of all time, Caddyshack. The film’s slapstick, crude approach to the golf atmosphere set a precedent for similar films to follow (including several on this list). Since its release, the film has developed a cult following and now enjoys a reputation as one of the funniest movies ever made. The film is also regarded as one of the best comedic ensembles in film history, with Dangerfield’s sarcastic wit and Murray’s delusional recklessness providing numerous hilarious moments in themselves.