When it comes to golf, we love reliving the best moments on the course.
You know what I’m talking about… The shots that keep us coming back, despite the hundreds of other bad ones that make us question why we even play the sport.
While it’s fun to relive your own memories, it’s even better sometimes to watch one of your favorite golf movies from time to time. Luckily, some of the most iconic moments and figures have been documented for us to relive over and over.
Plus, there have been some great golf movies that have shaped the game forever. If you’re a beginner golfer and feel like you’re missing out on some inside jokes at the course, watch these movies and I bet everything will make a lot more sense.
Take a break from playing golf and enjoy some of these awesome sports movies and documentaries.
Best Golf Movies Of All Time
If you’ve ever Googled “What are the best golf movies” we got you covered. Here are our top 10 movies and some documentaries to help you fall in love with the game even more.
1. Caddyshack (1980)
When it comes to golf movies, it’s impossible not to put Caddyshack as the first on this list. Bushwood Country Club is the center of one of the best golf movies ever.
The movie stars Bill Murray and Chevy Chase in an old movie (1980) that golfers can’t get enough of. It has a good story, funny characters, and endless quotable moments thanks to Bill Murray trying to kill the pesky gopher at the golf club. Plus, with other actors including Rodney Dangerfield, Ted Knight, and others, the cast is stacked!
My personal favorite scene is Bill Murray hitting flowers while pretending to golf (watch it here). The next time you need to pull off a miracle shot on the golf course, make sure you use the words “Cinderella Story” to channel some of the Caddyshack greatness.
While Caddyshack remains a cult classic quoted by golfers everywhere, the sequel can’t say the same. Sometimes it’s hard to back up a classic and this one failed miserably. Don’t waste your time and instead, watch some other golf movies or documentaries after watching Caddyshack.
2. Happy Gilmore (1996)
While Caddyshack is funny, it’s a bit outdated for some viewers as it was made in 1980. For a slightly more modern funny slapstick comedy, it’s hard to not love Happy Gilmore. This was one of the movies that helped put Adam Sandler on the map and it recently celebrated its 25-year anniversary!
The movie stars Adam Sandler as Happy, an angry hockey player who isn’t very good at hockey and ends up missing tryouts. In need of money to save his grandmother’s house, he takes up golf thanks to his ability to drive the ball incredible lengths.
During the driving contest, local pro Chubbs Peterson sees Happy and enters him into a tournament. Chubbs teaches him how to play the game, while Happy learns what life on the tour is like. The cast is amazing, with sneaky funny performances from people like Ben Stiller, and unforgettable characters like Shooter McGavin.
Not to mention, the movie has spawned the inevitable “Happy Gilmore” swing. Unlike a normal golf swing, this is one where you walk into the shot for maximum distance. Be careful if you try this shot as a lot of golfers have accidentally broken their golf club!
3. Tin Cup (1996)
Another all-time classic golf movie is Tin Cup starring Kevin Costner as Roy McAvoy. What separates this movie from others on the list is all the real golf that’s going on. Sure it’s funny, but it’s also got some great insight into the game and a great professional golfer comeback story as well.
Roy is a burn out golf prodigy who lives in a trailer behind his own driving range and pretty much lost his love for golf (we’ve all been there at times). After caddying for someone and criticizing them laying up on a hole, the player tells him to do it then.
Roy steps up to the shot and executes it perfectly, much to his players dismay. After the round, he is instantly fired and decides to qualify for the US Open for some revenge.
There’s one huge problem though… Roy has zero confidence (something that all golfers can relate to at one point or another). To help him get his confidence back, he exchanges lessons for mental game strategies with Molly.
As he conquers his inner demons, he hits some epic golf shots and makes sure to never lay up. Watch Tin Cup one a few times as it’s filled with golf wisdom and great humor.
Plus, I read that Kevin Costner is actually a huge fan himself and played a ton during filming. You have to respect that type of method acting!
4. The Greatest Game Ever Played (2005)
The Greatest Game Ever Played is based on the 2002 book of the same name and features a young Shia LaBeouf as Francis Ouimet. The film is set in 1913 and follows Francis on his quest to become the first amateur golfer to win the US Open. At the time, amateur golf was reserved for the wealthy class which made it nearly impossible for him to play.
But after going against his father’s wishes, Francis Ouimet perseveres and finds himself in the US Open. To make it even more memorable, he’s competing against his childhood idol, Harry Vardon. He became a champion golfer in years prior and inspired Francis to pursue the game which makes it a special moment for him.
While I won’t share how the movie ends, it’s a very inspirational story and an interesting take on how the game was played over 100 years ago.
5. The Legend of Bagger Vance (2000)
The Legend of Bagger Vance movie has a stacked cast unlike any other movie on this list! The 2000 film was directed by Robert Redford and stars Will Smith, Matt Damon, and Charlize Theron. It was based on the 1995 book and set in 1930s Georgia.
What’s great about this golf movie is that it’s not about the golfer, but actually the caddy named Bagger Vance who is played by Will Smith. It follows the journey of Bagger Vance caddying for Rannulph Junuh who is played by Matt Damon.
It’s a fun movie that makes you fall in love with the history and integrity of the game. While it wasn’t loved by critics, most golfers thoroughly enjoy the film and strong performances from each actor.
6. Bobby Jones: Stroke of Genius (2004)
One of the most instrumental figures in the history of golf is Bobby Jones. At one time, he had all four major golf tournaments and is the only golfer to do so (not counting the Tiger Slam in 2000-2001). Not to mention, founded Augusta National Golf Club and of course, The Masters tournament.
In this movie, you get to follow the inspirational true story of one of the game’s legends. This biography based on the life of Bobby Jones got to film on location at iconic St. Andrews and features amazing visuals.
Bobby Jones: Stroke of Genius has been much more received by critics and loved by golfers worldwide. It’s an insightful look into one of the game’s great players and you get to learn about his shockingly early retirement at the age of 28 years old!
7. Golf in the Kingdom (2010)
This movie is based on the wildly successful book of the same name by Michael Murphy that sold over a million copies and translated into 19 languages according to Wikipedia. It’s not a traditional golf movie and instead, focuses on the inner workings of the mind to attain success in golf.
Michael wrote the book after spending time at the Sri Aurobindo Ashram. During that time, he came to understand the state of Zen and found it closely related to successful athletes.
The book and movie follows Michael who is on his way to India. During a layover, he decided to play golf at Burningbush where he met a pro named Shivas Irons. In their brief time together, he teaches him all about spirituality and how it relates to golf.
While critics didn’t enjoy the film, I found that golfers certainly do. It’s a unique look at how much the mental game plays a role in golf. Plus, it might make you think differently the next time you want to get mad or angry like most of us do after bad shots.
Not to mention, the film was shot at the famous Bandon Dunes golf course so you’re sure to get some nostalgia if you’ve been there too.
8. Miracle on the 17th Green (1999)
Another movie adaptation from a book (noticing a theme here?) is the Miracle on 17th Green. It’s a cool story as the premise is something that could happen to almost any of us.
Mitch McKinley, suddenly loses his job as an ad executive. Instead of panicking and trying to find another job, he decides to pursue his passion for golf on the PGA Senior Tour. The sudden change leaves his family in turmoil but he perseveres to make a spot on the tour.
But how will the rest of his life unfold with his new-found success? Find this on DVD to see how the action unfolds.
9. A Gentleman’s Game (2002)
Oftentimes, reaching your potential in golf comes with sacrificing other parts of your life. In this movie, you get to follow Timmy Price, a 12-year junior golfer who shows his potential early on at his country club.
Eventually, he gets a teacher with a troubled past to teach him more about the game. It’s an uplifting experience throughout the film and teaches you how there is more to life than just golf (as hard as that may seem for some of us).
10. Seven Days in Utopia (2011)
Rounding out our list is Seven Days in Utopia, the story of a golfer battling his demons on the tour. While it’s not an Oscar worthy film by any means, it’s an inspirational movie that gives you hope that it’s possible to play better golf.
After melting down on the 18th hole and his caddy (who is also his father) walks off, Luke Chisholm tries to figure out what’s next. A car accident leaves him stranded in a town called Utopia, where he learns about a different way of life than the modern game he was used to playing.
Other Great Golf Films
Here are some honorable mentions of other films that are worth watching too:
- Tommy’s Honour: Learn the story of a young Tom Morris on his path to greatness in helping shape the game and his role in the inaugural Open Championship.
- The Caddy: The comedy team of Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin is an older film that is part musicial, art comedy.
- Dead Solid Perfect: This film stars Randy Quaid as Kenny Lee trying to make it on the Tour.
- Who’s Your Caddy: Need some laughter? This comedy classic should do the trick!
- From The Rough: This drama film follows the true story of Catan Starks, an African American woman who defied the odds and led a group of eight young golfers to success. She was a former Tennessee State University coach who went on to coach a men’s golf team.
- Follow Thru: This 1930 film is romantic comedy based on a broadway musical. It was only the second all-color talking film made by Paramount Pictures!
Skip the Golf Course: Watch the Best Golf Documentaries
While the above movies are sure to keep you entertained, don’t forget about documentaries either. Although there aren’t as many documentaries on golf as other sports, hopefully the 2020 growth of the sport will help even more get made in the near future. That being said, there are still some great picks that you can start watching today.
Tiger – HBO Max Documentary
When it comes to golf, no modern player remotely compares in popularity to the great Tiger Woods. His life has been well documented for us to see for the past 40 years since he first appeared on TV as a young golfer. Fast-forward to today and he’s one of the greatest professional golfers with 82 PGA Tour wins, countless amateur titles, and 15 major championships.
But behind all the iconic golf shots and fist pumps is a Tiger that most of us didn’t know about. Up until 2009 we thought he just lived, breathed, and dreamt of the game 24/7. Well, until the infamous Thanksgiving Day car accident that brought his private personal life into the public eye.
What transpired was pure madness and he took a break from the game and even entered rehab. Being the private person he is, he didn’t share many details and instead only had a public press conference (which was hard to watch).
Then, HBO Max released Tiger – an incredible two part documentary that goes in-depth about his private life. It breaks down his childhood, understanding his youth, his relationship with parents, and a lot more behind the perfect swing. With guests like his ex-caddie Steve Williams, this is a must-watch documentary to learn more about the private life of Tiger Woods.
Seve The Movie
While Tiger has made quite an impression on the game, we can’t forget about Seve Ballesteros either. Many thought of him more than a golfer and more like an artist thanks to his amazing creativity every single round. From his brilliant short game to his crazy shots like hitting a wood off his knees, Seve could do no wrong.
He also had a larger than life personality that resonated with golfers worldwide. Although we lost Seve much too early, his life and inspirational story is documented beautifully in this movie.
What makes this film so special is that it’s part movie and part documentary. It shares the true story of a young boy who grew up with nothing and went on to become one of the best golfers to ever play the sport.
You also get to witness some of Seve’s greatest shots, listen to unseen interviews, and learn more about the European Tour legend.
The Short Game (Inspiration for a Golf Team)
As you probably know, golf is becoming more and more popular with junior golfers. Some players are starting to swing a club before they can even walk!
In the Short Game (available on Netflix), you get to see junior golfers aggressively pursuing their dreams. The documentary focuses on seven-year-old golfers who come from around the world to compete at one of the most prestigious courses ever – Pinehurst.
It’s an inside look at the next child phenomena and follows nine different golfers from various backgrounds to give you an inside look. It’s an incredible take on the sport and shows just how good junior golfers are.
What’s fun about this documentary is that you get to see it from both the parents and child’s point of view. You get to see parents instilling life lessons and wisdom to pair with their unbelievable talent. Not to mention, they’re trying to play one of the most demanding courses in the world at only seven years old!
This is a great film to show junior golfers if your son or daughter plays on a golf team!
Hit It Hard: ESPN 30 for 30 (John Daly)
Is there anyone more entertaining in the golf world than John Daly? After bursting onto the scene in 1991, he shocked the world by winning the PGA Championship at Crooked Stick as the 9th alternate. He went on to win tons of other tournaments and become a fan favorite.
Outside the ropes, his life is wildly entertaining and even published a book about his well. While John has had to battle his demons, both personal and professional, he’s continued to be a favorite in the game. Now, his son is taking up the mantle and looks to be a potential star in the making just like his dad.
If you’ve ever considered yourself a fan of the blonde bomber, you’ll love this amazing true story. Click here to watch the incredible documentary on ESPN.
Final Thoughts on Great Movies for Golfers
Writing this made me want to watch all of these movies over and over again. If you love the game like I do, make sure you watch all of these to appreciate the game even more.
These movies and documentaries are also great if you’re feeling a little stale with your routine. Or, if you’re going through a cold streak and not enjoying the game as much as you once did.
An inspirational movie or documentary might be all you need to get your zest back for the greatest game ever. Skip the golf lessons or seeing the golf specialist and enjoy some epic entertainment!
But I keep wondering, when are we going to get movies or documentaries about:
- Ben Hogan
- Jack Nicklaus
- Arnold Palmer
And tons of other golfers!
Also, if you prefer reading vs. watching movies, make sure you check out the best golf books. We break down all the books on the history of the game, technique, mental game, and more.