Sports are the things that bring families, strangers and like minded people together for the common goal of rooting for players, teams and countries.
The term fan comes from the word fanatic, which often describes people who do have the desire and will to cheer for their sports teams or players and get all the emotional highs and lows of the games or matches. In America, The NFL, NBA and MLB rule the airwaves and get most of the coverage on sports radio TV and websites. However, a niche sports still graces us every now and then when big events or players often comes to the spotlight and that is the classic sport of golf.
Golf has been around for centuries dating back to its origins in Scotland and to this day is still played by many and viewed on TV by millions during PGA tours. Most people don’t think of golf as much of a team sport because the golfer is doing all the work and the caddie is usually there to just hand him the clubs and not break the concentration of the pro. Well, those were my initial instincts and beliefs as well until I watched the documentary Loopers: The Caddie’s Long Walk.
With narration by the lovable and the most famous groundskeeper of all time Bill Murray, this film gives us a nice history lesson about caddies and the transformation from local plebs and lower class bums to being the best friend, family member and confidant to the golfer because of the way golf has transformed in becoming a multi-million dollar business. It is quite fascinating, but is this documentary worth the watch and viewing? Well, we’re going to discuss the narrative of the story, the information being told, and the entertainment value. Is this film a hole in one or does it shank just to the right in the sand pit. Let’s review Loopers: The Caddie’s Long Walk.
The narrative of the story is about the caddie. The caddie originally was nothing more than low class who often were drunks, womanizers, unkept and a unruly bunch. They were porters and the lower class. They would be happy with some money and would usually stick with their own class because it made them feel comfortable that way. Bill goes into the story when golf came to the Americas and how caddies had to adapt and change with a code of conduct and a way to carry yourself. This came when the business side of golf started becoming more famous through television and news reels. From that point, we go into a lot of history starting with Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus at Augusta to Pebble Beach and other famous.
It also gives us the knowledge how Augusta was one of the first, if not the first, links golf course in America and how you can only play through Augusta with only the local caddies and not your own. In time, we see a lot of generational changes, class changes and breakthroughs with gender. Caddies are no longer seen as pariahs and low class blokes but rather someone who the golfer needs to have a relationship and be there for moral support because no golfer will ever win any pro event with all they want is for their caddie to show up, carry their clubs and keep their mouths shut. Its a nice love letter to the caddie since they usually don’t get much of the recognition but are the ones that will guide the golfer with their history, determination and their approach to their victory whether or not the golfer listens to them or not.
The information in this movie is vast and many. We get a history lesson about the first recordings of golf taking place in Scotland, to Mary Queen of Scots, to the first couple of golf courses in America to the modern days of Tiger Woods and Jordan Spieth. The stories are told through the history as well through the perspectives of the caddies that helped the golfers become household names and champions. While you get information through historians and aficionados, its the stories some of the caddies share that make you smile, laugh and nod your heads in approval. While the average viewer might think there is a lot of transitions from the different golf courses and lot of different caddies, it eventually calms down with the moving from course to course and often focuses on a couple of courses in Scotland, Augusta and Pebble Beach. The knowledge is good and the knowledge is power.
This movie is a documentary. The entertainment comes from whether you’re a fan of the sport. There were some almost Monty Python style animation thrown in the beginning of the movie but it died off through telling interesting stories from the caddies point of view. Now, I’m not a golf fan but I do like sports. This movie was fascinating and I did find myself enjoy learning more about what a caddies job is supposed to entail and root for some of the people becoming successful with their dedication and loyalty to just wanting the golfer to succeed. The over 80 minute movie did take a bit to get started but it did somehow win me over through some stories, beautiful visual scenery of the golf courses and Bill Murray giving a little bit of narration to help tide us over through a generational shift or scene change.
If you like golf, this movie is for you. If you like sports but not sure about golf, I think it would be worth a shot viewing it because even though golf is the main subject, its the people that make it interesting and the stories and their lives are what makes it worth the watch. The sport itself is not what I would watch on a Saturday afternoon but get me some of those caddies on camera talking and hearing some of what they have to say, I wouldn’t mind dedicating less than a hour and a half of my time to hear some guys chatting about.
I give this movie three non-mentioned gophers out of four.