Happy Gilmore Is Actually Playing College Golf

By Charlene Badasie | Published

Happy Gilmore

Bloomington South senior Happy Gilmore has secured a promising future on the golf course. The real-life sportsman shares the name with the fiery hockey player turned golf sensation played by Adam Sandler in the popular 1996 movie Happy Gilmore. 

The real-life Happy Gilmore recently signed a National Letter of Intent to join the Division I college golf team at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, Golf Weekly reports.

Despite his official first name being Landon, he adopted the nickname “Happy” at the age of six while playing in golf tournaments. In his junior year, Happy Gilmore finished T-7 at the Indiana high school boys’ golf state tournament. Impressing with an even-par performance over 36 holes at Prairie View Golf Club, he previously clinched victory in his regional competition at Country Oaks in Montgomery.

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The other Happy Gilmore

The announcement created a buzz on social media, drawing attention from various places. Notably, Shooter McGavin, Happy Gilmore’s infamous nemesis from the film, even weighed in, saying, “Congrats, but I tell you what, you’d be something in one of those long drive contests. Hell, you’d probably make a very good living. Traveling around, hustling at driving ranges. Just a thought.”

Real-life Happy Gilmore even caught the attention of his on-screen counterpart, Adam Sandler, who commented on the news in a social media post in June. “Go get ’em Happy. Pulling for you,” the actor wrote in response to a post from the 17-year-old. The excited teenager, who is a massive fan of Sandler, responded with, “My life is complete.”

Billed as a sports comedy, Happy Gilmore (the movie) was released in 1996. Directed by Dennis Dugan, the story revolves around Happy Gilmore (Adam Sandler), a failed hockey player with a powerful slapshot but a temper that prevents him from succeeding. To save his grandmother’s house from being repossessed, Happy tries his luck as a professional golfer to win enough money to pay off the debt.

Despite his lack of traditional golfing etiquette, Happy Gilmore’s incredible driving skills catch the attention of a golf coach, Chubbs Peterson (Carl Weathers), who sees potential in him. Happy enters the world of professional golf and faces various challenges, including a fierce rivalry with the arrogant and smug golfer Shooter McGavin, played by Christopher McDonald.

Happy Gilmore was a commercial success, solidifying Adam Sandler’s status as a leading comedic actor. The film earned over $41 million in the United States and Canada during its theatrical run, exceeding its estimated budget. Although the film mixed reviews from critics upon its release, it has since become a cult classic and is generally loved by audiences of all ages.

Interestingly, the character Happy Gilmore is loosely inspired by Adam Sandler’s childhood friend Kyle McDonough, who, like the actor, played ice hockey and shared a passion for golf during their teenage years. Sandler, recognizing that McDonough’s hockey prowess afforded him a distinct advantage, previously said that he could never match McDonough’s impressive golf drives.

The choice to depict Chubbs Peterson with a missing hand is an inside joke referencing actor Carl Weathers’ role in the 1987 film Predator, where his character loses an arm. In a 1994 interview, Sandler revealed that the 1980s golf comedy Caddyshack influenced Happy Gilmore. He drew inspiration from the film and integrated elements into the project.