* Recommended Titles
Spring Fever (1927)… William Haines, Joan Crawford. A shipping clerk shows off his golfing skills at an exclusive country club. Silent.
The Golf Nut (1927)… Billy Bevan, Mary Mayberry, Glen Cavender. A golfer wreaks havoc on a private country club. Silent.
Part Time Wife (1930)… Edmund Lowe, Leila Hyams, Tommy Clifford, Walter McGrail, Louis Payne, Sam Lufkin, George Corcoran.
Love in the Rough (1930)… Robert Montgomery, Dorothy Jordan, Benny Rubin, J.C. Nugent, Penny Singleton, Tyrell Davis. A shipping clerk, who just happens to be a champion golfer, is recruited by his employer to help his golf game and play in the big tournament. A love interest complicates things. Partly a musical. [One of the few times that dancer Earl “Snake Hips” Tucker appeared on screen.]
You’re Telling Me! (1934)… W.C. Fields, Joan Marsh, Buster Crabbe, Adrienne Ames, Louise Carter, Kathleen Howard, Tammany Young, Dell Henderson. Sam Bisbee, an alcoholic inventor who is trying to sell his puncture-proof tires, loses his car, ruins his daughter's potential marriage and gets into trouble with the police. The golfing scene is one of Fields’ classic routines.
Dead of Night (1945)… Mervyn Johns. Architect Walter Craig starts working at a British country farmhouse, while listening to the guests' bizarre psychological tales all the while hoping to solve his own problems. Five short stories (only one of which pertains to golfing) climax into one at the end.
Follow the Sun (1951)…Glenn Ford, Anne Baxter, Dennis O'Keefe, June Havoc. Biography of Ben Hogan is more fiction than fact but is worth a look for the cast. The film shows how Hogan survived a near fatal car crash while struggling to regain his championship form. HOF golfers Sam Snead, Jimmy Demaret and Carey Middlecoff and legendary sportswriter Grantland Rice have cameos.
Pat and Mike (1952)… Katharine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy, Aldo Ray, William Ching, Jim Backus, Carl Switzer, Chuck Connors. Comedy about a sensational female athlete is managed by a hard-nosed sports promoter. Hepburn did all her own stunts too. Based on the Ruth Gordon-Garson Kanin Oscar-nominated screenplay. Babe Didrickson and Betty Hicks among others have cameos.
The Caddy (1953)… Dean Martin, Jerry Lewis, Donna Reed. Not one of their better efforts but M&L fans will still like it. Tom Harmon, Ben Hogan, Sam Snead, Byron Nelson, Jimmy Thompson and Julius Boros have cameos. [Martin was a very good golfer in real life and also sings Oscar-nominated hit song "That's Amore." … 'Lighthorse' Harry Cooper was the technical advisor and also appears as himself.] Actual shots of hysterical overflowing crowds are real for the team.
Banning (1967)… Robert Wagner, Anjanette Comer, Jill St. John, Guy Stockwell, James Farentino, Susan Clark, Gene Hackman. Soap opera story revolves around pro golfer Wagner's romantic escapades at an exclusive Los Angeles country club. Well done if you like that sort of thing.
Once You Kiss a Stranger (1969)… Paul Burke, Carol Lynley, Martha Hyer, Peter Lind Hayes, Philip Carey, Stephen McNally, Whit Bissell, Elaine Devry, Kathryn Givney, Jim Raymond, Orville Sherman, Maura McGiveney, Ann Doran. A woman seduces a pro golfer and then offers to kill his opponent if the golfer will kill her psychiatrist because the doctor wants her committed. Pass. George Fenneman, Groucho’s announcer on You Bet Your Life, has a cameo as the commentator.
* Babe (1975)… Susan Clark, Alex Karras, Slim Pickens, Jeanette Nolan, Ellen Greer, Ford Rainey. TV-movie on the life of Babe Didrickson Zaharias. Clark won an Emmy for her portrayal of probably the most famous of all female athletes. Adapted from This Life I've Led, her autobiography. [Babe, who's real name was Mildred, competed in the 1932 Olympics and also starred in track, softball and basketball.]
Caddy Shack (1980)… Chevy Chase, Rodney Dangerfield, Ted Knight, Michael O'Keefe, Bill Murray, Brian Doyle-Murray. Entertaining country club comedy that falls short in some scenes. Dangerfield's performance is by far the funniest. Taglines: The snobs against the slobs! … and … At last, a comedy that bites!
Two of a Kind (1982)… George Burns, Robbie Benson, Barbara Barrie. A mentally challenged 21-year-old rehabilitates his ailing grandfather. TV-movie.
Goofballs (1987)… Ben Gordon, Ron James, John Kozak. Josh Wheeler becomes the manager of a golf course resort in the Barbados where mob thugs are hiding out. A couple bars of gold end up with the trophy of the upcoming Golf Tournament. The gangsters enter the tournament to get the gold back.
Caddy Shack II (1988)… Jackie Mason, Dyan Cannon, Robert Stack, Dina Merrill, Chevy Chase, Dan Aykroyd, Randy Quaid. Average sequel but story and cast are totally different from original. Mason spends most of the movie trying to get his daughter accepted at the local country club.
Dead Solid Perfect (1988)… Randy Quaid, Kathryn Harrold, Jack Warden. Made for cable comedy-drama about life on the professional tour. Keith Olbermann, Bob Harrison, Lindy Miller, Mac O’Grady and Peter Jacobsen have cameos. Taken from Dan Jenkins (Semi-Tough) book of the same name. Worth seeing.
Blades (1989)… David Aldrich, Hank Berkheimer, Ron Butko, Kara Callahan. Tongue and cheek remake of Jaws – on the golf course! Pass.
* The Man with the Perfect Swing (1995)… James Black, Suzanne Savoy, Marco Perella, James Belcher. Down-on-his-luck Anthony "Babe" Lombardo stumbles onto the perfect golf swing and sets out to sell and market it. Unpretentious little film captures the feel of real life struggles and is loosely based on a true story. Shot on location in and around Houston, Texas accompanied by an excellent Paul English soundtrack.
* Tin Cup (1996)… Kevin Costner, Rene Russo, Don Johnson, Cheech Marin. Costner plays Roy McEvoy, a down-on-his-luck pro that makes it to the U.S. Open with the help of Russo and Marin. Costner's charm and Ron Shelton's (Bull Durham, White Men Can't Jump) script and direction make this film a winner. Several cameos throughout including golfers Peter Jacobsen, Gary McCord, Johnny Miller, Craig Stadler and CBS announcer and former pro Ken Venturi. Listen for Mickey Jones singing Double Bogey Blues. Costner’s real parents appear as the grandfather and grandmother with the dog and his real son, requesting but not getting David Simms’ autograph. The final golf scene was based on the real life experience of Gary McCord, when he took a 15 on one hole while on the Champions tour.
Happy Gilmour (1996)… Adam Sandler, Christopher McDonald, Julie Bowen, Frances Bay, Carl Weathers, Joe Flaherty. Cameos by Bob Barker, Vern Lundquist, Kevin Nealon and Lee Trevino. Sandler is Happy Gilmour, a frustrated hockey player who discovers he can hit a golf ball 400 yards with his slap shot swing. He wreaks havoc on the pro tour for the rest of the movie. Comedy falls short but has its moments.
The Tiger Woods Story (1998)… Khalil Kain, Keith David, Freda Foh Shen. TV-movie examines Woods’ private life, especially the relationship with his dad and struggles with racism. Below average.
National Lampoon's Golf Punks (1998)… Tom Arnold, James Kirk, Rene Tardif. A down-on-his-luck golfer has to teach a motley group of kids how to play on a public course. Arnold is good; script is bad. Tagline: No wonder everyone is teed off.
Golf Balls! (1999)… Greg Logenhagen, Todd Allen Durkin, Christy Tummond, Dan Barkley, Naia Kelly, Amy Lynn Baxter. Silly comedy about two rival golf courses ending in a winner-take-all match. The struggling Pennytree decides to recruit beautiful women (featuring Baxter as "Barbara the Bod") to pick up business. A couple of good gags and a lot of nudity. Definitely not for the kids. Decent soundtrack though.
* The Legend of Bagger Vance (2000)… Will Smith, Matt Damon, Charlize Theron, Bruce McGill, Joel Gretsch, Lane Smith, Jack Lemmon, J. Michael Moncrief. Based on the Steven Pressfield novel, it is the story of a 1931 match between Bobby Jones, Walter Hagen and Rannulph Junuh plus his mysterious caddy. Junah is a former pro and disillusioned war veteran. The caddy teaches him a new golf stroke and a secret to finding meaning in life.
Mulligan (2000)… Steve Lattery, Joshua Will, Trei Michaels, Cedric Yarbrough, Bill Borea, Alex Cole. This movie tries to compare life with a round of golf for four good friends. It touches on the attitudes and behavior of the foursome with frustration seemingly the main theme, as in the game itself. The guys talk about women, sports and everyday life as well. During the game, several outrageous things happen. Filmed on location at Superior National Golf course and Papa Charlies in Lutsen Minnesota. Borea also co-wrote.
A Gentleman's Game (2001)… Mason Gamble, Gary Sinise, Philip Baker Hall, Dylan Baker, Henry Simmons, Ellen Muth, Brian Doyle-Murray, David Zayas, Kevin Thoms. Coming of age story about a teen prodigy and his father whose lives are drastically changed at an exclusive East Coast country club.
The Boys of Sunset Ridge (2001)… Ronny Cox, Brian Tochi, Burt Young, John Heard. The lives of four friends throughout the years shown through the game of golf. Funny and touching at times.
* Bobby Jones, Stroke of Genius (2004)… James Caviezel, Claire Forlani, Jeremy Northam, Malcolm McDowell, Connie Ray, Brett Rice, Aidan Quinn, Larry Thompson. The story of Bobby Jones, golfing legend. He remains the only man to win golf’s toughest victory, the Grand Slam – the U.S., British, and Amateur Opens – even though at 28, he retired as an amateur. He won 13 national championships in 8 years. He designed Augusta National and helped create the US Masters Championship. Jones overcame his flaws (drinking, smoking, bad temper) to become one of the all-time greats. But the real story is of Jones and his family and the way he overcame his physical and emotional problems. Jeremy Northam is excellent as golfing legend and party animal Walter Hagen. Caviezel, as always, does a good job. Caviezel and his double studied old instructional films that Jones made for Warner Brothers in the 1920s. Partially filmed in Scotland.
Life, Death and Mini-Golf (2004)… Jim Akman, Joel Bryant, Nick Diltz, Adam Donshik, Andy Forrest, Deven Green, Erinn Hayes, Dena Hysell. From imdb.com: When rock star Kent Ramsey kills himself, his friends, family members and bandmates gather together to deal with issues old and new ... and play a few rounds of golf.
* The Greatest Game Ever Played (2005)… Shia LaBeouf, Stephen Dillane, Peter Firth. The true story of the 1913 U.S. Open, where 20-year-old amateur Francis Ouimet defeated reigning champion Harry Vardon. Very well done and beautifully photographed. Says the World Golf Hall of Fame: "Ouimet's stunning triumph captured the imagination of sports fan across the globe, sweeping away the notion that golf was a stuffy game for the old and rich." Ouimet was the first to win both the U.S. Open and U.S. Amateur but he never turned pro.
The Foursome (2006)… Kevin Dillon, John Shaw, Chris Gauthier, Paul Jarrett. Four college buddies go to their 20-year reunion and decide to play a round of golf. Everybody’s complaining in the so-called comedy, even the girls. Pass.
Who’s Your Caddy? (2007)… Big Boi, Faizon Love. Racist remake of Caddyshack. Forget it.
The Squeeze (2015)…Jeremy Sumpter, Katherine LaNasa, Christopher McDonald. Imdb.com: A humble young man with uncommon skills from a small southern town gets caught up in high stakes golf matches between big-time gamblers until the game becomes life and death.
Tommy’s Honour (2016)… Jack Lowden, Peter Mullan, Ophelia Lovibond, Sam Neill. Tom and Tommy Morris, Scottish father and son pioneers of professional golf, make Tommy one of the first modern golf stars in 1866.
Founders (2016)… Documentary of the 13 founding members of the Ladies Professional Golf Association in the late 1940's.
Swing Away (2017)… Shannon Elizabeth, John O’Hurley, Karl Theobald. Troubled pro golfer Zoe Papadopoulos travels to Greece to escape the harsh spotlight of the international sports world. She then meets and mentors a ten-year-old girl who is determined to become a pro golfer.