Of all the sports in need of a little therapy, golf has to be right at the top of the list. It’s certainly got the biggest identity crisis. One the one hand, it’s the most civil game we have: everyone who plays it has to wear clothes they’d wear out on the street, people are always whispering so as not to disturb the players; and you’re even allowed to bring an assistant to help you as you play. On the other hand, there is no sport that producers more frustration, cursing and general disillusionment with one’s performance.
Golf is fun to play, and frightening to play. Which is why maybe it’s better just to watch others do it instead. That could be done this weekend by tuning into the most prestigious golfing event of the year, the Masters, which is being held for the 79th time. Or you could watch something that features all the fun of golf but without all the polite whispering. Which brings us to this list of masterful Streampix shows and movies that involve the sport. They may not help you with your golf game, but watching them will at least keep you from experimenting with new swear words after you miss a three-foot putt.
It’s no secret that Kevin Costner is a baseball guy. He’s made a decent career out of portraying ballplayers in movies from “Bull Durham” to “For the Love Of the Game.” However, he isn’t bad at playing golfers either. This underrated 1996 comedy has him starring as a former great who now runs a dumpy driving range courtesy of some charming yet self-destructive behavior. He’s as convincing a golf pro as he was a beleaguered minor leaguer in “Bull Durham,” so maybe one of these days he should branch out even more. Maybe a movie set in the world of jai alai?
Putting Adam Sandler in the world of professional golf is like dipping a Dorito into a jar of caviar: he just doesn’t seem to fit. And yet, that’s what made this his most entertaining movie vehicle. Nobody does wacky slacker better than Sandler and watching him play a hockey player who goes on the pro golf circuit is classic culture clash comedy. Also, nobody else could probably get away with having a fight scene where he pummels, and gets pummeled by, game show icon Bob Barker.
The Office, “Job Fair”
This fourth season episode got out of the Dunder Mifflin office for a bit, finding Jim (John Krasinski), Andy (Ed Helms) and Kevin (Brian Baumgartner) taking to the links to woo a potential new client. Their game is apparently as good as their sales pitch….which is to say, it hooks out of bounds. However, in true “Office,” fashion, there’s even fun in failure.
Psych, “Gus’ Dad May Have Killed An Old Guy”
Golf plays a small, but critical, role in this installment of the best comic detective series on television. The episode involves fake psychic Shawn (James Roday) trying to clear his buddy Gus’ (Dule Hill) dad of a murder charge, but the link to the links comes when Shawn gets Psych golf balls and golf lessons as a Christmas gift from his dad, Henry (Corbin Bernsen). There aren’t a lot of moments when Henry shares something non-work related with Shawn, so it was kind of touching to see this gift. Right up until Shawn demonstrates how he predicted the present, thus ruining the sweetness of the surprise.
Monk, “Mr. Monk and Sharona”
Golf was also involved in this important episode of the award-winning “Monk.” It’s what brought troubled detective Adrian Monk’s (Tony Shalhoub) former assistant Sharona (Bitty Schram) together with his next helper, Natalie (Traylor Howard). Sharona’s uncle died at a golf course under mysterious circumstances, so Monk takes it upon himself to investigate. The case may be an uncomfortable one to take on, but watching uptight Monk wander through the uptight world of golf was a perfect match.