Golf is one of the simplest and most complex games out there. Hit the white call into the cup, how hard can it be? Let’s just say we all know the answer to that question. And yet, fans of the sport keep coming back time and time again. The smell of fresh-cut grass, the feel of a gentle breeze on a warm summer day, the noise of birds chirping in the distance — just pray you don’t hear “FORE!” in between those light chirps — all these sensations remind golfers why they love a game that can be so cruel.
Perhaps the best thing about golf is you don’t have to be good to enjoy it. Golf is as much a recreational sport as it is competitive, and it appeals to every demographic out there. For those who are already fans — and for those just getting into golf — it’s worth brushing up on some key history to understand the game’s significance. Golf’s full of amazing stories that many golf movies have retold. And after careful curation, we’d like to share the best golf documentaries that tell these stories best.
Tiger Woods, aka The GOAT of golf, has already had a massive career. Championships, green jackets, celebrity stardom, Woods has seen himself at the highest of highs, as well as the lowest of lows, in American society. Tiger is a groundbreaking two-part documentary on the life Woods has had right past his recent Master’s victory in 2019. The doc plays on themes of greatness, redemption, and dignity. It features exclusive interviews and footage not yet seen by the public.
- Director: Matthew Heineman, Matthew Hamachek
- Run Time: 3hr 12min
- IMDB Rating: 7.9/10
The Founders is about a group of trailblazing women who decided to show the world they could compete as well in golf as any man could. They toured at a time when American culture barred women from playing any sports that could be deemed “too manly.” The film reminds viewers women’s golf wouldn’t be where it is today as they follow a few of the original members of the group in the present day.
- Director: Charlene Fisk, Carrie Schrader
- Run Time: 1hr 29min
- IMDB Rating: 7.0/10
Today, you wouldn’t think twice about how important a caddy is to a pro golfer. They’re often seen as the all-knowing guide when battling out on the greens; however, this wasn’t always the case. Enter Loopers, a documentary on the long and interesting history of caddies in golf. It features interviews from a diverse range of famous caddies and golfers — Bill Murray, a former caddie himself, even appears throughout. Looper also takes the time to establish the relationship they had in the game when it came to race, adding the fact African American caddies play a significant role in the history of the position.
- Director: Jason Baffa
- Run Time: 1hr 20min
- IMDB Rating: 7.1/10
Narrated by Samuel L. Jackson, Uneven Fairways looks at the rich history of African American golfers who paved the way for future stars of golf by standing up for their rights. The film features incredible interviews from these golfers as they retell the dramatic change of the landscape of the sport over the past 100 years.
- Director: Dan Levinson
- Run Time: 45min
The Short Game follows some of the world’s best golfers as they gather to compete at Pinehurst, North Carolina in the World Championships of Junior Golf. Yes, junior; these golfers are all still in grade school. Learn about this world of golf through a film festival favorite, where the greens are not only a setting for competition but also where these kids learn lessons they’ll carry for the rest of their lives.
- Director: Josh Greenbaum
- Run Time: 1hr 40min
- IMDB Rating: 7.3/10
One of golf’s biggest personalities has one of the most unique stories in how he rose to the top of the sport. Hit It Hard is an ESPN Film’s 30 for 30 focusing on John Daly’s past and present. The film cover’s his wild career, his powerful comeback performance at St. Andrews in 1995, and what he’s up to now in the present day. Daly’s often associated as the king of the “grip it and rip it” style of play. You’ll find that how he is off the course draws many similarities to how he is on it.
- Director: David Fine, Gabe Spitzer
- Run Time: 51min
- IMDB Rating: 7.0/10
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