The best golf movies to watch during the coronavirus lockdown

Six of the best golf films to watch while self isolating at home due to the coronavirus pandemic...

Andy Roberts's picture
Wed, 25 Mar 2020

With no live golf to get us on the edge of our seats right now due to the coronavirus pandemic, what better time to watch some of the greatest golf films to ever grace our television screens. 

In need of a little help as to which one to choose for tonight? You're in luck.

The real beautiful game has featured heavily in cinema history.

Here are six of the best, starting with our favourite of the lot...



Happy Gilmore (1996)

The film that spawned the “run-up” golf shot replicated by many around the world – including Padraig Harrington – is one of Adam Sandler’s most memorable performances.

A failed hockey player, Gilmore stumbles across his grandfather’s old clubs and unearths a hidden talent.

Love him or hate him, Sandler will have you laughing out loud with his unorthodox take on golf in this 90-minute riot focussing on the stereotypes and greed by many athletes as a ne’er-do-well who attempts to make it on the PGA Tour.

Stars: Adam Sandler, Julie Bowen, Carl Weathers, Christopher McDonald

Did you know? Before his first tournament, Gilmore asks coach Chubbs Peterson why he didn’t play a real sport, “like football, or something”. Carl Weathers, who played Chubbs, was a professional football player before becoming an actor.

Quote: “Thank you, Doug. You know, I saw Doug playing yesterday. And I’ve got to tell you, this guy spends more time in the sand than David Hasselhoff.” (Shooter McGavin)




Caddyshack (1980)

Caddyshack - with its all-star cast – is the epitome of comedy classics.

The slapstick story set in the midst of a country club golf tournament will have you quoting its memorable one-liners for days.

The American Film Institute named it one of the top 100 comedies in cinema history. And it never gets old.

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Stars: Rodney Dangerfield, Bill Murray, Chevy Chase

Did you know? Lou, played by the film’s co-writer Brian Doyle-Murray, is the only one character to actually say the word “caddyshack” during the film. 

Quote: “I’m going to give you a little advice. There’s a force in the universe that makes things happen. And all you have to do is get in touch with it, stop thinking, let things happen, and be the ball.” (Ty Webb)



Tin Cup (1996)

1996 was a good year for golf films. In this, Rory “Tin Cup” McAvoy, a washed up pro turned golf instructor, falls for Molly Griswold. And when he discovers Griswold is dating a professional, he attempts to impress her by qualifying for the US Open.

Engaging and entertaining stuff.

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Stars: Kevin Costner, Rene Russo, Don Johnson

Did you know? When filming at the Tubac Golf Resort in the Arizona desert, the script called for a water hazard. Since there were none on the course the filmmakers built one and named it Tin Cup Lake. 

Quote: “Sex and golf are the two things you can enjoy even if you’re not good at them.” (Rory McAvoy) 



The Legend of Bagger Vance (2000)

It’s difficult to put the finger on just how this film bombed at the box office, when you consider its star line-up.

The warming storyline of personal fulfilment, based around an ancient Hindu folktale, gives us a glimpse into the sport at the beginning of its golden age.

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Stars: Matt Damon, Will Smith, Charlize Theron, Jack Lemon

Did you know? Matt Damon did not have any previous experience playing golf; he spent a month with golf pro Tim Moss in Hilton Head, South Carolina, to prepare for the role. 

Quote: “You gonna hit the ball or you gonna dance with it?” (Ranulph)



Bobby Jones: Stroke of Genius (2004)

I don’t think many of us need an introduction to who Bobby Jones is or what he did for the game of golf.

This biopic stars Jim Caviezel as the first real titan of the game, a tale of conquering ambition and personal demons to find success on the greens and delivering a message about personal victory in a compelling way.

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Stars: James Caviezel, Claire Forlani, Jeremy Northam, Aidan Quinn

Did you know? The greens, tees and fairways in the film are cut to today’s short lengths and “striped” by modern-style mowers (the equipment of Bobby Jones’ era was incapable of doing this), while the 1930 Open Championship was played at Hoylake, not at St. Andrew’s, as depicted.

Quote: “Now what you have to understand Bobby is that three bad shots and one good shot still make par. You see, golf is the game of recovery.” (Walter)



The Greatest Game Ever Played (2005)

Starring a young Shia Labeoef, this Disney movie follows the story of Francis Ouimet, a young amateur golfer who became the first non-professional to win the US Open back in 1913.

A real “feel-good” film with a memorable story as Ouimet battles against the class boundaries in a bid to face his idol – a certain Harry Vardon.

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Stars: Shia Labeoef, Stephen Dillane

Did you know?  Francis is shown looking at a yardage book, or a series of hand drawn diagrams of every hole at The Country Club. In reality, yardage books did not come into use until the 1960’s, first by Deane Beman and later popularized by Jack Nicklaus. Harry Vardon is shown laying Francis a “stymie” during the playoff. A stymie occurred when a player’s ball blocked the path of his opponent’s ball on the green (the balls not being within six inches of each other). This only applied to singles match play. The playoff for the 1913 US Open was medal (stroke) play and the stymie rule would not have been in effect. This rule was eliminated in 1952 by the USGA.

Quote: “Let me tell you something. I came here to win a trophy. And on the face of it Ted Ray or I should carry it off. Not for you, not for England, but for sheer bloody pride at being the best, that’s why we do this. And if Mr. Ouimet wins tomorrow, it’s because he’s the best, because of who he is. Not who his father was, not how much money he’s got, because of who he bloody is! And I’ll thank you to remember that. And I’ll thank you to show the respect a gentleman gives as a matter of course.” (Harry Vardon) 



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