The ten best movies about golf portray people down on their luck who fight and struggle to make it to the top of the golfing world. Many of them are also comedies that use golf as a backdrop for their comic foils. Either way, the best movies about golf are unique in how they can make you laugh and inspire you.
- “Lush” (1999) “Lush” is about Lionel “Ex” Exley, a former professional golfer and ex-convict who now hustles in the game. He travels to New Orleans and gets mixed in with snooty country club types, eventually becoming a suspect in a man’s disappearance and tangled up in a plot that involves insurance fraud.
- “Tin Cup” (1996) Kevin Costner had his heyday in the late ‘80’s and early ‘90’s with hits like “Bull Durham”, “Field of Dreams”, “Dances With Wolves”, “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves”, and “The Bodyguard”. “Tin Cup” came out when Costner’s star began its hard crash back to earth, sandwiched between flops like “Waterworld” and “The Postman”. It’s the tale of a has-been golfer who works at a driving range and decides to underdog his way into the U.S. Open. As Kevin Costner movies go, it’s not bad, but as movies about golf go, it’s pretty good.
- “The Legend of Bagger Vance” (2000) Matt Damon plays Rannulph Junuh, a golfer who sucks at life and at the game he loves. That is, until Will Smith shows up as the mysterious Bagger Vance, a caddy willing to help him pull his life out of the pit of despair.
- “Follow the Sun” (1951) A biographical film about the life of golf superstar Ben Hogan. It shows his hardscrabble upbringing where he works as a caddy just to help put food on the table. From there it chronicles his ascent to stardom, including a stint in World War II and the crippling injuries he suffered from a car crash and how he resolved to overcome them.
- “Pat and Mike” (1952) A movie about golf that comes out of the Katherine Hepburn-Spencer Tracy filmography, “Pat and Mike” is about Pat (Hepburn), an accomplished female golfer who falls in love with a greasy sports promoter (Tracy) who she hires to help her with her game.
- “Bobby Jones: Stroke of Genius” (2004) This movie is about Bobby Jones, a man who became a golfing legend by becoming the only player to win all four Majors in golf (a feat he still holds). He’s a determined player, the Tiger Woods of his day, but he stuns the golfing world when he retires at the prime age of 28.
- “Happy Gilmore” (1996) One of the best movies made by Adam Sandler, it’s also one of the best movies about golf. Sandler stars as Gilmore, a wannabe hockey player who enlists in the PGA with the hopes of winning some money to pay off his grandmother’s taxes. Hilarity ensues as Gilmore works his magic on the PGA tour and his fists on Bob Barker’s face.
- “Babe” (1975) This is a little-known movie about golf with few big name stars that are remembered today. It’s a touching story about Mildred Didrikson, nicknamed Babe, a woman who struck gold at the 1932 Olympics in track and field. Later she took up the game of golf and excelled at it, winning more consecutive tournaments than any golfer since, male or female, and racking up every available golf title. “Babe” won two Emmys (out of eight nominations), including Best Actress, as well as a Golden Globe.
- “The Greatest Game Ever Played” (2005) It’s not every day you get to compete against one of your sports heroes and beat him. Imagine playing one-on-one with Michael Jordan and irking out a victory or out-throwing Peyton Manning in the Super Bowl. Now you have an idea of the real-life story of “Greatest Game”, a tale of how upstart golfer Francis Ouimet defeated his hero Harry Vardon at the U.S. Open in 1913.
- “Caddyshack” (1980) The classic movie about golf. Featuring an all-star cast including Rodney Dangerfield, Chevy Chase, and Bill Murray, “Caddyshack” showed that movies about golf could be funny and memorable. Made into a sequel years later.