During these times of shelter-in-place because of COVID-19, there certainly a search for things to do when stuck in the house.
I love to read and spend a good amount on time reading. But I also like movies and I got to thinking which are my favorite golf movies! There are plenty – some great and some, well, not so great.
Here are some of my top golf movies and why I like them!
Caddyshack: Iconic, plain and simple. There’s not a round of golf I play that there isn’t a line from Caddyshack. Quotes from the movie have become part of the golf course vernacular. “Noonan, miss it,” is likely the most used, but lines such as “Right in the lumberyard,” when someone asks where their shot went; “No, no, nice shot, right on the beach,” when a shot lands in the trap; and the ever popular, “Cinderella story.” The cast was sensational and from all the stories of what happened off camera was every bit as crazy as the on-camera exploits!
The Greatest Game Ever Played: I read the book first so when the movie came out, I was pumped and was not disappointed. A wonderful job of taking the audience back in time as Francis Ouimet won the U.S. Open as an amateur teenager. Got to love a movie when you can cheer. You also get introduced to Eddie Lowery who was Francis’ caddy. Lowery is a central figure in Mark Frost’s next golf book – The Match. That turned out be one of the best books I have ever read.
Tin Cup: The use of then current PGA Tour players added so much to the movie as it certainly added realism. Kevin Costner and Don Johnson have some game, at least enough to almost make it believable. Cheech Marin as Tin Cup’s caddy is great, especially the scene on the driving range before the first round of the U.S. Open. The only thing about Tin Cup that drives me nuts is how much backspin he gets on his 3-wood on the 18th hole. Drives me nuts! Would love to see a sequel.
The Legend of Bagger Vance: The book was so good it was natural to have a let down with the movie. That being said, the movie was still pretty good, and I thought Will Smith’s portrayal of Bagger was very well done. I have always embraced the spiritual side of the game (that’s why I love the Golf in the Kingdom book) and this movie brought some of that to life.
Happy Gilmore: As funny as it is stupid. Sometimes a stupid funny movie is just what you need and that fits the bill here. Adam Sandler is his typical self in this movie that ended up making a mark on the game of golf. You don’t think so? How many times have you seen someone on the course use the Happy Gilmore approach when hitting their tee shot? The casting was great with Julie Bowen (well before Modern Family), Carl Weathers and Christopher McDonald, who is now known as Shooter McGavin everywhere he goes.
Dead Solid Perfect: The book was written by Dan Jenkins of Semi-Tough fame and much like the movie of Semi-Tough, there was little chance for the movie to be anywhere near as good as the book. Randy Quaid in the lead role of Kenny Lee Puckett did a decent job. Jenkins is such a legend as a sportswriter and author, that getting to sit next to him in the pressroom all week at the 1987 U.S. Open at the Olympic Club, is one of the biggest highlights of my professional life.
Seven Days in Utopia: Another one that portrays the spiritual side of the game. It also features probably the most authentic celebrity golf swing in Lucas Black. He’s legitimately got game, so it was easy to believe he was a professional golfer. Robert Duvall as the mentor is sensational in the role. It’s a feel-good movie to be sure.
Bobby Jones: The Stroke of Genius: Another actor with a pretty swing in Jim Caviezel. The movie was the first featuring The Royal and Ancient Golf Club at St. Andrews that was allowed to film on location. A solid look at the greatest amateur golfer of all time that gives you a look at how professional golf was perceived at the time.
By Dennis Miller