Of the few golf movies that there are, Caddyshack is obviously a favorite among most golfers. Tin Cup, Happy Gilmore, The Greatest Game Ever Played, and The Legend of Bagger Vance all fight for 2nd place. One movie that doesn’t seem to generate too much talk is Bobby Jones: Stroke of Genius. After watching it a few times in the past few months, it is quickly becoming on of my favorite sports movies.
Just as the name suggests, the movie is about the life of golf great Bobby Jones. I was always curious about Bobby Jones, as most everything you read just says how great of a golfer he was and how beautiful his swing was. But, just like everyone else in this world, he had his own problems. The movie does a fantastic job showing the good and the bad of Bobby Jones and the life around him.
The movie goes through three different phases of Jones’ life. Without going into too many details and spoiling the movie (although it is difficult to spoil a biography), the first part of the movie focuses on the 7-year old Bobby and how he started learning the game. I enjoyed this part of the movie as I enjoy picturing Bobby learning the game by hitting a ball out in open fields while watching the golfers across the road (at East Lake Golf Club). This part of the movie also shows you Bobby’s temper and where he gets it from. He shows a lot of promise as a 7-year old in the movie.
The next “phase” in Bobby’s life is when he is 14 years old. This section of the movie is great because it it shows young Bobby starting to win tournaments against adults. The quality of golf performed by the actors is somewhat below par, but most other golf movies are the same. Everything else involving golf in the movie is great. Even though I can’t say this with certainty, they seemed to do a great job showing what it would have looked like at a golf tournament back in those days. Overall, it felt like it was the early 1900’s.
After focusing some time on the teenage Bobby, it then moves on to the adult Bobby. The part was played by Jim Caviezel, who also played Jesus in The Passion of the Christ among many other films. I personally felt that Caviezel did a great job in the movie, specifically the scenes where he had to show Bobby Jones’ temper. He did a great job showing us what Bobby was really like. This section of the movies shows some of the struggles Bobby had, particularly in winning his first tournament against professionals. Other great golfers included in the movie are Walter Hagen and Harry Vardon. On that note, a movie about Walter Hagen would be beyond entertaining. Maybe I’ll pass along that idea to some filmmakers. I mean, he HAS been a character in this movie, The Greatest Game Ever Played, and The Legend of Bagger Vance. Anyways, back on topic…
As much as I’d love to go into more details about the movie, I don’t want to be labeled as a spoiler. Basically what it comes down to is the movie is definitely worth watching, whether you are a golf nut or not. It isn’t Caddyshack. It isn’t Tin Cup. It is in its own golf movie category, being a biographical romantic drama (with a little humor tossed in for good measure).