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Six Of The Best Golf Movies Ever Made

Six Of The Best Golf Movies Ever Made
By Paul O'Hara

The Ryder Cup tees off at Gleneagles at 7:20 tomorrow morning, so for those who can't contain their excitement we've decided to take a look back at some of the most memorable on-screen appearances of golf down the years to give you a few ideas for something to dig out and watch tonight. As always, do let us know what we really should have included, as well as how you would have rearranged the top spots.

Special shitness mention - The Tiger Woods Story

I couldn't compile a list of the most memorable golf movies ever made without mentioning easily the worst sporting biopic ever made. An extremely hastily-cobbled together, made-for-TV affair released just after Woods maiden Masters victory, the fact that this atrocity won three Daytime Emmys in 1999 says more about the quality of the other nominations than anything else. The one and only time I saw it was at about 2am after Woods' victory at Augusta in 2001 - I was twelve at the time but I knew it was a shockewr even then.

Devastatingly, Youtube footage of the movie is in short supply, but here's a VHS trailer in tandem with the unforgettable 'Twists of Terror', which gives you an idea of what we're dealing with.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gqoO513ZiqQ

Three honourable mentions before we start - The Van, Lost In Translation and Jackasss

OK, so none of them is a movie about golf in any way, but they each have a ball-striking scene that cannot be left unmentioned. Yes, I know it's technically pitch and putt in The Van but so what?

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Bill Murray's southpaw smack in Lost in Translation is something of a non sequitur in the film but it's one of my favourite interludes in all of cinema. The Jackass golf course scene is of course, pants-wetting stuff - and it's probably the only bit of the film that you could confidently show to your granddad.

The Van
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a0kpQvvUnNU
Lost in Translation
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rGQwWvk7dIU
Jackass: The Movie (Golf COurse Airhorn)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7C1Pr4AU2wc

So with those unforgettable visits to the golf course out of the way, let's crack on with our top six.

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6. Bobby Jones: Stroke of Genius

On the face of it, it's another forgettable biopic, but unlike the Tiger Woods Story it genuinely merits a place on the list - the makers were keen on achieving a decent level of historical accuracy when recounting the tale of the greatest amateur ever and winner of the first Grand Slam back in 1930. It's certainly on the mawkish side of things and bears some similarities to this blatant work of propaganda, but it presents a decent image of how the game was played in a more corinthian era. One for the history nerds.

Jones is played by Jim Caviezel of Passion of the Christ fame, and co-stars Aidan Quinn (narrator of this excellent-looking documentary) as Harry Vardon.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aQ5Gr2joVe8

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5. The Legend of Bagger Vance

It may come as a surprise that it's 14 years since the release of this tale of a struggling  golf pro and traumatised WWI vet Rannulph Junum (Matt Damon) who stumbles upon the eponymous caddy (Will Smith) with mystical powers. Reviews were mixed at the time, but as with many sports movies, golf fans have cut it some slack since it was a fairly rare chance to see a film about the game on the big screen.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZwDlnZM3R9o
4. The golf scene in Goldfinger

OK so not strictly a golf movie, but the match between Bond and the eponymous villain, with a Nazi gold bar at stake (because obviously) is too memorable to overlook. A bit of crafty exploitation of the Rules of Golf shouldn't have made for such compelling cinema, but it did, and for that Golfdfinger deserves a wildcard entry into this list.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7GMzNJNDmdM

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3. Caddyshack

The top three in a list like this is always going to cause controversy and we're not going to please everyone - in fact, I'm pretty confident that our ranking will annoy more people than it will please - but no matter. The reason this Bill Murray classic props up the podium places is purely personal - the fact that it was released in 1980, puts it well ahead of my time in terms of nostalgia.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NaqGBF9nUb8

2. Happy Gilmore

A fish-out-of-water underdog story with a detestable rival and a love interest to be won over, Happy Gilmore could have been the best sports movie ever made, but, well, Adam Sandler. However, it's still a nostalgic staple and worth re-watching every so often.

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8QJiAK-s5a0

1. Tin Cup

Plenty may disagree with the decision to award the number one spot to this soppy Kevin Costner rom-com-meets-underdog story, but for all its fault it's an utterly lovable sports film with. The villain, David Sims, is even more odious than Happy's rival, Shooter McGavin, and it also gave us a phrase for the sporting lexicon - any loser can attempt a Happy Gilmore (though only a small few can pull it off with any style), but it takes a real legend to go full Tin Cup. That famous shot from the bar isn't on YouTube, but these two memorable moments are.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vygFotutz7Y

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8mWKIMGinvg
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