For Oscars Night, here’s the GolfBlogger’s list of the best golf movies.
1. The Greatest Game Ever Played
A faithful adaptation of the book that plays well on the big screen. It is no wonder, as the author, Mark Frost, once wrote the tv series Hill Street Blues. The casting is perfect and the story compelling. It’s the original David and Goliath sports story. There are a lot of subtle bits in this movie , though, that people who didn’t read the book will miss.
For example, the book goes into a great deal on the class conflict between the professionals and the amateurs. If you didn’t read the book, you’ll miss the point that the professionals are always referred to by their first names—Harry Vardon—while the amateurs are referred to with a honorific—Mr. Ouimet.
2. Dead Solid Perfect
Based on the Dan Jenkins novel, this originally appeared on cable. It follows a struggling professional golfer—played by Randy Quaid—as he travels about on tour. Very funny.
3. Tin Cup
This Kevin Costner movie is like Bull Durham for golf. Costner plays a washed up driving range pro who decides to play in the US Open to win the heart of a girl. It’s most famous for the scene where he plunks ball after ball into a pond on the last hole of the Open. It’s a good romantic comedy.
4. Bobby Jones, Stroke of Genius
While this movie may be a bit slow for non-golfers, anyone who loves golf and history should find it enjoyable. Jim Caviezel does a good job of portraying the stress that Jones went through in playing in golf championships.
5. Tommy’s Honor
I loved the book about Young Tom Morris, and the movie lived up to my expectations. It’s the story of golf’s first — and youngest — superstar, and his tragic life.
6. The Legend of Bagger Vance
Based on the bestselling book. I didn’t really like this movie after the first couple of viewings, but it is growing on me.
Ok. It’s a comedy classic, but I can’t rank it any higher as a “golf” movie. Like most guys, I can quote large chunks of the movie from memory. I laugh every time I watch it.
8. Seven Days in Utopia
It’s kind of like Bagger Vance, but with a cowboy. Lucas Black plays a young pro who has a meltdown and is brought back to his senses by Robert Duvall.
9.Pat and Mike
A Spencer Tracy – Katharine Hepburn classic. Hepburn plays a championship woman golfer. The movie is basically another of their man vs woman screwball comedies.
10. Follow the Sun
A 1950s biopix of Ben Hogan, Follow The Sun is more than a bit hokey. Still, it does offer a glimpse into the life of traveling tour pros of the time.
HONORABLE MENTION BEST GOLF MOVIES
11. A Gentleman’s Game
Based on the novel by Tom Coyne, A Gentleman’s Game is a coming-of-age story. Timmy Price—a good golfer in his own right—is forced by his father to work as a caddy at the country club to which they belong. There, he learns a few dark secrets.
12. Miracle on the 17th Green
Robert Urich stars in this made-for-tv movie about an ad executive who loses his job and tries out for the Senior Tour. He catches fire when he suddenly begins seeing the magic line on his putts. It was a Christmas time
movie, and was enjoyable. It is outside the top ten best golf movies, but still worth a mention.
13. Bobby Jones: How I Play Golf
After his playing career was over, Bobby Jones made a series of short films of golf instruction. It’s instruction, but also an amusing entertainment. The format of each short is the same: Jones meets a Hollywood star who is struggling with his game, and then offers a lesson. Among the stars are W.C. Fields, James Cagney, Edward G. Robinson, Joe Brown and many more. The setup for the lessons often are quite funny and entertaining.
THE WORST GOLF MOVIE
I can’t stand Adam Sandler. I only put this on the list to be able to tell the world how much I despise this movie. It is not about golf. It is about a violent sociopath whose on screen behavior is entirely cringe-worthy and appeals only to people who have not outgrown their teen years.