(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
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.
Adjusted Score: 76426%
Critics Consensus: Though unabashedly crude and juvenile, Caddyshack nevertheless scores with its classic slapstick, unforgettable characters, and endlessly quotable dialogue.
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.
Adjusted Score: 29069%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Adjusted Score: 48141%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Adjusted Score: 28008%
Critics Consensus: This earnest, monotonous biopic lacks dramatic tension and simplifies Jones’ life.
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.
Adjusted Score: 6435%
Critics Consensus: A juvenile, uninspired retread of Caddyshack, Who’s Your Caddy? is unoriginal, unfunny, and just plain forgettable.
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.
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.