Naturally, I love watching golf on television and golf related movies. Two of my favorite golf movies are Happy Gilmore and The Greatest Game Ever Played. The main characters are Happy Gilmore, and Francis Ouimet respectively. Both of these characters lives were dramatically changed and improved by the sport of golf. Both overcame adversity and demonstrated dedication to their game.
Each story, unique in its own way, is inspirational, as Happy and Francis each teach us important life lessons, but in dramatically different ways. Both Francis and Happy were born into lower, or working class families. Happy was originally a hockey player that just happened to hit a couple golf balls one day and discovered he was very talented. By contrast Francis had loved golf his entire life. He loved golf so much that he got a job at the local country club as a caddie and loved it. Francis’s family was always poor, but Francis knew that if he tried playing golf competitively that he could make money for his family.
His father disregarded that idea however, and said that golf was only for the rich and that he should stay away. His made Francis quit his job at the country club and come to work at his family’s shop (The Greatest Game Ever Played). On the other hand, Happy got the idea to play golf to make money when his grandmother’s house got repossessed by the bank. He and his grandmother are very close, and he dedicates himself to getting her house back for her. Happy needed to come up with $270,000 in order to get the house back, and he was determined to do so (Happy Gilmore).
Happy’s grandmother always supported him no matter what, and that something that Francis definitely would have wanted from his family. Happy and Francis could not have more different personalities. Happy has a horrible temper when he first starts playing. He is constantly breaking clubs and swearing profusely. This of course is very humorous and entertaining to the spectators watching the match. His temper causes him to lose many matches in the beginning and to lose money (Happy Gilmore).
Francis on the other hand is more of how a real golfer should behave. His is calm, cool, and collected to himself. He remains focused at the task at hand and doesn’t give up. He does not get mad, even when he misses easy putts that he knows he should have made. This attitude sparks interest in the people that watch him play. People are very impressed by him and admire him.
Francis considers himself to be a true golfer (The Greatest Game Ever Played). By contrast, even after all of his success, Happy still considers himself to be a hockey player at heart. Even though Happy and Francis have very different personalities, they both show elements of dedication to their game. Happy’s dedication starts when he has to take his grandmother to the retirement village to live. She is mistreated and she hates living there. This ignites a fire inside of Happy.
With the help of his new golf coach “Chubbs ?, he is able to calm his anger on the course, and play much better. He dedicates himself to practice, and to manage his anger. He starts winning tournaments and money toward buying his grandmother’s house back (Happy Gilmore). Like Happy, Francis shows dedication to his game as well. His father said he was not allowed to play golf, but after some convincing, he was allowed to play after he got all of his work done at his father’s store. So Francis gets up early every day and works incredibly hard in order to get all his work done, just so he can have a little practice time for golf.
He dedicates himself for long hours just to be able to practice. Soon some of the members at the club see his potential and let him play in some tournaments (The Greatest Game Ever Played). Without his dedication, Francis would have never gotten the opportunities that he did, or had the success that he had. Francis and Happy teach us that in order to have success, one has to dedicate his/her self to their goal. When one pursues a goal, there is always adversity to overcome. Both Happy and Francis had to overcome much adversity to succeed.
The day of the Waterbury Open, a large annual tournament that Happy was invited to, Shooter McGavin is introduced to the audience. He is the top pro golfer and the money leader on tour. He is dominating the tour, but when Happy comes along he starts attracting all of the media attention and winning more tournaments that Shooter. Shooter become upset and jealous and starts to sabotage Happy.
Shooter buys Happy’s grandmother’s house and says he’s going to burn it down. This angers Happy, and the only way he can stop Shooter is to win the tour championship. Shooter is intimidated by Happy so he hires people to distract Happy while he is playing in the championship. The match is close the entire way. A crazy fan, ordered by Shooter, runs Happy over with a car, but Happy is still okay.
After the crazy man ran over Happy, he drives into a tower which falls onto the green blocking Happy’s chance for a birdie to win the tour. The judges say that he must play it as it is. Happy hits the ball of the car and it goes through pipes and amazingly lands in the hole. Happy wins the tour championship and gets his grandmother’s house back (Happy Gilmore).
Happy had to overcome much adversity to achieve his goal, and demonstrated strength and determination along the way. Like Happy, Francis had to overcome much adversity to succeed. First he had to work very hard to convince his dad to let him play. This was not an easy task.
He had to work long hours just to practice. His practice pays off when a club member shows interest in his swing. He is very impressed with Francis, and offers some free lessons. The club member says if he gets good enough, he will sponsor him in the US Amateur tournament. Sure enough, Francis shows great improvement is entered in the tournament. However, he does not have a caddie, so he asks a young boy from his neighborhood to caddie for him.
He knows very little about golf, but Francis doesn’t mind. Francis plays incredibly well, and ends up tied with Harry Vardon, a tour veteran and 5 time champion. Harry was a huge favorite to win, and no one believed that Francis could pull off the upset. The match is very intense and hard-fought, and it all comes down to the last hole. Francis has an 8 foot putt to win, and it was a putt that he had missed the day before.
Even with all the pressure surrounding him, he steps up and makes the putt to win the tournament. The crowd erupts in cheers, and even Francis’s father cracks a smile (The Greatest Game Ever Played). Francis illustrates the courage to overcome adversity, and we can all learn from him. Happy and Francis are both characters that everyone can learn from.
They both demonstrate determination and the courage to overcome adversity. Happy teachers us that when going through tough times, it is important to set goals and dedicate yourself to achieving them. Francis show us that when trying to achieve a goal, there is always going to be someone or something in the way, and you must have courage and remain focused in order to achieve success. Their stories are dramatically different, but Happy and Francis lives were greatly impacted by the sport of golf, and what they did with it is inspirational to us all.
Dir. Dennis Dugan. Perf. Adam Sandler, Christopher McDonald, Julie Bowen.
0000000Universal, 1996. DVD. The Greatest Game Ever Played. Dir. Bill Paxton.
Perf. Shia LeBeouf, Stephen Dillane, Elias 0000000Koteas. Walt Disney Pictures, 2005. DVD.