20 Best Golf Movies, Ranked by Tomatometer

Ora Sawyers

(Photo by Universal Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection)

Golf may not have lined its shelf with as many movies as other sports (such as baseball, football, and basketball), so you’ve got to appreciate what is available. Let’s take a look at the top 10 golf movies according to the Tomatometer, with Certified Fresh films first. Golf movies may be on an upswing since the best-reviewed movie came out within the past few years: 2021’s The Phantom of the Open, starring Mark Rylance in the true story of a 46-year-old making his way to the British Open having never played before. Further on the Certified Fresh fairway is Caddyshack, the classic, raucous party movie starring Chevy Chase, Rodney Dangerfield, and Bill Murray.

Kevin Costner, already the king of baseball movies with the likes of Bull Durham and Field of Dreams, stars in Tin Cup, a popular adult-oriented favorite from the ’90s. Two classic golf comedies came out within a year of each other in the ’50s: Pat and Mike and The Caddy. The former is one of the nine movies Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy starred in together (with Hepburn doing all of her golf work on-camera), and the latter is also from a famous Hollywood duo: Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. The Caddy is right near the middle of their 17 movie collaborations.

We similarly got two ace golf movies within a year in 2016: Swing Away (starring Shannon Elizabeth, soaking in the sunshine in Greece) and Tommy’s Honour (a biopic of legendary Scottish golfer Old Tom Morris, and his relationship with his son). Another biopic to check out is Seve: The Movie, the story of Spanish golfer Seve Ballesteros, who popularized the sport globally for three decades.

Documentaries round out the rest of the top 10 best-reviewed golf movies: The Short Game, in which you can witness the most competitive 7-year-old golfers in the world, and Loopers, which explores the relationship between caddie and golfer to the narration of Bill Murray.

Outside of the top 10 are plenty of audience favorites, including Adam Sandler’s Happy Gilmore, Shia LaBeouf’s The Greatest Game Ever Played, and The Legend of Bagger Vance. —Alex Vo

#1

Adjusted Score: 91709%

Critics Consensus: Led by a stellar performance from Mark Rylance, The Phantom of the Open turns a stranger-than-fiction true story into crowd-pleasing entertainment.

Synopsis: THE PHANTOM OF THE OPEN tells the heartwarming true story of Maurice Flitcroft (Mark Rylance), a dreamer and unrelenting optimist…. [More]

#2

Adjusted Score: 76426%

Critics Consensus: Though unabashedly crude and juvenile, Caddyshack nevertheless scores with its classic slapstick, unforgettable characters, and endlessly quotable dialogue.

Synopsis: Danny Noonan (Michael O’Keefe), a teen down on his luck, works as a caddy at the snob-infested Bushwood Country Club… [More]

#3

Adjusted Score: 88251%

Critics Consensus: Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy take competition to a romantic-comic highpoint in this elegantly directed sports comedy by George Cukor.

Synopsis: Pat Pemberton (Katharine Hepburn), a college athletics instructor, enters a number of golf matches against female professionals. She holds her… [More]

#4

Adjusted Score: 67252%

Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.

Synopsis: The world’s best 7-year-old golfers travel to Pinehurst, N.C., to compete in the World Championships of Junior Golf…. [More]

#5

Adjusted Score: 57109%

Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.

Synopsis: A golfer (Dean Martin) and a caddy (Jerry Lewis) land in show business after getting kicked out of professional golf…. [More]

#6

Adjusted Score: 29069%

Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.

Synopsis: Following a meltdown that leads to a suspension, professional golfer Zoe Papadopoulos (Shannon Elizabeth) travels to her grandparents’ village in… [More]

#7

Adjusted Score: 53692%

Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.

Synopsis: Filmmaker Jason Baffa examines the personal bonds and dynamic relationships that form between golfers and caddies…. [More]

#8

Adjusted Score: 48141%

Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.

Synopsis: Severiano Ballesteros (José Luis Gutiérrez) battles adversity to become one of the greatest professional golfers of all time…. [More]

#9

Adjusted Score: 74397%

Critics Consensus: Breezy and predictable, Tin Cup is a likeable sports comedy that benefits greatly from Kevin Costner’s amiable lead performance.

Synopsis: Roy McAvoy (Kevin Costner) was a golf pro with a bright future, but his rebellious nature and bad attitude cost… [More]

#10

Adjusted Score: 72033%

Critics Consensus: Somewhat staid yet ultimately rather charming, Tommy’s Honour opens a well-acted window into professional golf’s formative years.

Synopsis: Tom and Tommy Morris, father and son pioneers of professional golf, relied on skill, business acumen and working-class street smarts… [More]

#11

Adjusted Score: 66649%

Critics Consensus: Despite all the underdog sports movie conventions, the likable cast and lush production values make The Greatest Game Ever Played a solid and uplifting tale.

Synopsis: Blue-collar Francis Ouimet (Shia LaBeouf) fights class prejudice while mastering golf, a game guarded by the upper crust. Employed as… [More]

#12

Adjusted Score: 63461%

Critics Consensus: Those who enjoy Adam Sandler’s schtick will find plenty to love in this gleefully juvenile take on professional golf; those who don’t, however, will find it unfunny and forgettable.

Synopsis: All Happy Gilmore (Adam Sandler) has ever wanted is to be a professional hockey player. But he soon discovers he… [More]

#13

Adjusted Score: 17884%

Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.

Synopsis: When a car accident leaves his father in a coma, a 15-year-old prodigy joins his high school golf team to… [More]

#14

Adjusted Score: 47251%

Critics Consensus: Despite the talent involved in The Legend of Bagger Vance, performances are hindered by an inadequate screenplay full of flat characters and bad dialogue. Also, not much happens, and some critics are offended by how the film glosses over issues of racism.

Synopsis: During the Great Depression, Georgia socialite Adele Invergordon (Charlize Theron) announces a publicity-garnering high-stakes match at her struggling family golf… [More]

#15

Adjusted Score: 28008%

Critics Consensus: This earnest, monotonous biopic lacks dramatic tension and simplifies Jones’ life.

Synopsis: This biographical drama is based on the true story of revered golfer Bobby Jones (Jim Caviezel). Rising quickly from amateur… [More]

#16

Adjusted Score: 24292%

Critics Consensus: Seven Days in Utopia finds a noteworthy cast struggling to engage with lackadaisical drama, overwrought themes, and a predictably staged narrative.

Synopsis: Luke Chisholm (Lucas Black) is a young golfer who’s about to take a swing at the big time. Luke, however,… [More]

#17

Adjusted Score: 8075%

Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.

Synopsis: A young man with uncommon golf skills becomes caught up in a deadly high-stakes golf match between big-time gamblers…. [More]

#18

Adjusted Score: 6435%

Critics Consensus: A juvenile, uninspired retread of Caddyshack, Who’s Your Caddy? is unoriginal, unfunny, and just plain forgettable.

Synopsis: Superstar rap mogul C-Note (Antwan “Big Boi” Patton) wants to join the Carolina Pines Golf & Country Club, but faces… [More]

#19

Adjusted Score: 4892%

Critics Consensus: Handicapped by a family friendly PG rating, even the talents of Caddyshack II‘s all-star comic cast can’t save it from its lazy, laughless script and uninspired direction.

Synopsis: Jack Hartounian (Jackie Mason), a boorish but good-hearted real estate tycoon, applies for membership at a snooty country club, but… [More]

#20

Adjusted Score: 4671%

Critics Consensus: A thoroughly unfunny misfire, Just Getting Started manages the incredible feat of wasting more than a century of combined acting experience from its three talented leads.

Synopsis: Duke Diver is living the high life as the freewheeling manager of a luxurious resort in Palm Springs, Calif. He… [More]

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