Ranking the greatest golf movies of all time

matthew-cohen
Subscriber

HAPPY GILMORE, Bob Barker, Adam Sandler, 1996, (c) Universal/courtesy Everett Collection  FILM STILL

Golf movies are underrated. They don’t get the same appreciation that baseball, football or boxing movies receive. But the truth is, there are some real gems out there if you know where to look.

So which are the greatest golf movies of all-time? Everyone has their favorite, sure, but there are definitely a few that should be at or near the top of everyone’s list. Here’s our crack at the top 10:

10. Caddyshack 2 (1988)

IMDB Rating: 3.6
Rotten Tomatoes: 4%

Some movies just shouldn’t be made, and Caddyshack 2 is probably one of them. A follow-up to the 1980 classic, Caddyshack 2 only returned Chevy Chase from the original all-star cast. But there were some stellar additions to the Bushwood Country Club family – Dan Akroyd and Randy Quaid among them. It’s not that this movie is the worst movie ever made – it isn’t – not by a long shot. It’s just that it was so disappointing as a sequel to one of the greatest comedies ever made. Oh well.

9. A Gentleman’s Game (2001)

IMDB Rating: 6.4
Rotten Tomatoes: N/A

In this 2001 sports drama, Mason Gamble stars as Timmy, a 13-year-old golf prodigy. With the help of his father, Timmy begins to learn the game of golf by caddying for some of the locals. He’s taken under the wing of a former golf professional (Golden Globe winner, Gary Sinise). Timmy ends up learning a lot more than just the game of golf.

This is an underrated movie, and could rank higher on this list. Gary Sinise lends a lot of star power to the film. Definitely see it if you haven’t.

8. Bobby Jones: Stroke of Genius (2004)

IMDB Rating: 6.6
Rotten Tomatoes: 26%

A movie the audience enjoyed a lot more than critics, Bobby Jones: Stroke of Genius stars Jim Caviezel as the titular character in this biographical drama based on the life of one of golf’s greatest legends. The film is a real tribute to Jones, and follows his rise as a young amateur to winning the Grand Slam in 1930.

It’s a good movie, but not great. Caviezel is an underrated actor and does a solid job here.

7. Dead Solid Perfect (1988)

IMDB Rating: 6.7
Rotten Tomatoes: 85%(audience)

Odds are you haven’t seen this movie, or ever even heard of it. Dead Solid Perfect was a 1988 HBO film starring Randy Quaid as a struggling golfer who travels the country on his quest to make it big on the PGA TOUR. Good luck finding this movie anywhere to watch, but if you can, you’ll enjoy.

6. Seven Days in Utopia (2011)

IMDB Rating: 6.1
Rotten Tomatoes: 14%

A movie the audience relatively enjoyed but the critics hated. Legendary actor Robert Duvall stars in this 2011 adaptation from Golf’s Sacred Journey: Seven Days at the Links of Utopia, a book by David L. Cook. The movie follows pro golfer Luke Chisolm (Lucas Black, Fast & Furious: Tokyo Drift) who hits rock bottom after an embarrassing tournament loss. He then proceeds to drive his car through a fence in Utopia, Texas (they drift in the Longhorn State?) that belongs to Johnny Crawford (Duvall), a rancher who happens to be a former pro golfer himself.

You can figure out the rest from here. This movie wasn’t as bad as the critics say it is. Lucas Black is what he is, but Duvall is a always great. If you want to see it – go for it. If not, that’s ok too.

5. The Greatest Game Ever Played (2005)

IMDB Rating: 7.5
Rotten Tomatoes: 63%

Now we get to the good stuff – the top five. The Greatest Game Ever played stars Shia LaBeouf as blue-collar Francis Ouimet, the 20-year-old amateur who won the 1913 U.S. Open competing against his idol, Harry Vardon (played by Stephen Dillane, Game of Thrones).

The film gets a solid performance from Elias Koteas as Arthur Ouimet, Francis’ disapproving father. The acting all around is top notch, and the movie in general is a really uplifting tale of the classic underdog. Even though we know what’s going to happen, you still find yourself rooting for Ouimet the entire time. The movie is also a good history lesson too – Ouimet is an important figure in the history of the game.

4. Tin Cup (1996)

IMDB Rating: 6.3
Rotten Tomatoes: 69%

Easily one of Kevin Costner’s best roles. Costner stars as Roy McAvoy, a brilliant but stupid golf pro who owns a driving range in the middle of nowhere in Texas. Don Johnson (Miami Vice) stars as fictional PGA Pro David Simms, Costner’s arch nemesis of sorts. Rene Russo and Cheech Martin round out this all-star cast.

The movie also features cameos by a number of PGA pros including Gary McCord, Phil Mickelson, Craig Stadler, Johnny Miller, Lee Janzen, Corey Pavin, Fred Couples, and Billy Mayfair, as well as TV golf broadcasters Jim Nantz, Ken Venturi, Gary McCord and Frank Chirkinian. Definitely a movie you have to see.

3. The Legend of Bagger Vance (2000)

IMDB Rating: 6.7
Rotten Tomatoes: 43%

Surprised how low the critic reviews are for this movie. Directed by Robert Redford, The Legend of Bagger Vance stars Matt Damon as Rannulph Junuh, Will Smith as the titular character Bagger Vance and Charlize Theron as Damon’s love interest, Adele Invergordon. The movie takes place in the deep south during the Great Depression. In order to jumpstart the economy, Theron attempts sets up an exhibition golf tournament between Bobby Jones, Walter Hagen and Junuh.

A heart-warming story that didn’t do well at the box office, this film is definitely one that all golfers will enjoy. If you don’t like Will Smith, he won’t bother you in this one – we promise.

2. Happy Gilmore (1996)

IMDB Rating: 7
Rotten Tomatoes: 60%

What is there to say about this film that hasn’t already been said? The movie is laugh out loud funny from beginning to end. Starring Adam Sandler, the plot revolvers around Happy Gilmore, a wannabe hockey player turned pro golfer and his ridiculous antics on and off the golf course.

The performances in this movie are legendary. Christopher McDonald’s Shooter McGavin is one of the all-time greats. Carl Weathers as Chubbs Peterson, Sandler’s golf coach and mentor, is also a classic. And then of course, there’s Bob Barker.

Easily, this movie is one of Sandler’s finest works. If you haven’t seen it yet, seriously, what’s wrong with you?

1. Caddyshack (1980)

IMDB Rating: 7.4
Rotten Tomatoes: 76%

Ah, the crème de la crème. Caddyshack revolves around Danny Noonan (Michael O’Keefe), a teen down on his luck who works as a caddy at the snob-infested Bushwood Country Club to raise money for his college education. In an attempt to secure a college caddie scholarship, Noonan volunteers to caddy for a prominent and influential club member, (Ted Knight) Judge Smails.

Meanwhile, Danny struggles to prepare for the high pressure Caddy Day golf tournament while absorbing New Age advice from wealthy golf guru Ty Webb (Chevy Chase). Then there’s Rodney Dangerfield as Al Czervik and Bill Murray as Carl Spackler who give legendary performances.

Caddyshack isn’t just one of the funniest sports movies of all-time, it’s one of the funniest movies – period. It was Harold Ramis’s directorial debut, and he hit this one out of the ballpark. If you only see one movie on this list, it should be Caddyshack, which is why it ranks as our greatest golf movie of all-time.

Your List

What do you think of our list? Agree or disagree? Should Caddyshack be No. 1 or does another movie belong in the top spot? Give us your list in the comments below, or upload a video and tell us what you think!

Start the discussion

to comment