Hollywood's Top 100 Golfers

Golf Digest's Ranking of Golfers in Film and TV

December 2007

The Other Jack Is No. 1
In an encouraging sign for the game, Golf Digest's 2007 ranking of the Top 100 Golfers in Hollywood reflects growing interest in golf among actors from all generations. "High School Musical" star Zac Efron, 20, and Academy Award-winner Morgan Freeman, 70, have been sharpening their swings this year. So have Jessica Alba, 26, and two-time Oscar winner Sally Field, 61.

Our list features 30 new names from our inaugural ranking two years ago. Two of them, Lucas Black ("Sling Blade," "All the Pretty Horses," "Jarhead") and Billy Crudup ("Almost Famous," "The Good Shepherd") are longtime golfers who have been happy to play under the radar. They're Nos. 2 and 3, just below our new No. 1: six-time Bel-Air Country Club champion and soap-opera icon Jack Wagner. Veteran actor and former "Coach" star Craig T. Nelson moved up four spots to No. 4 after lowering his handicap to 4.7 from 6.9 in our last ranking.

Because our 2007 Hollywood ranking includes only golfers whose primary job is acting—whether on television or in films—stand-up comic Tom Dreesen, a 4.1 and T-3 in 2005, isn't on the list this time. Dreesen has guest-hosted "The Late Show with David Letterman" and would have been joined by other TV host/golfers including Maury Povich (1.0), Matt Lauer (5.6) and Carson Daly (7.8).

Wagner can play to his handicap of plus-0.3, and he's unquestionably the best actor/golfer in Hollywood. Even Dennis Quaid, who was our No. 1 last time (he's No. 9 this year), gets three a side when playing against his Bel-Air buddy.

Wagner was 11th on our list in 2005 (when he joked he was playing to a 10), and he says he used the ranking as motivation. "It actually inspired me to win the next Lake Tahoe event," he says. (For more on Wagner's game, see the Final Exam.)

Though some actors on our list would have a difficult time playing to their handicaps (we used U.S. Golf Association Handicap Indexes for some, and estimates from the actors or from people with knowledge of their games for others), Wagner's take is that many Hollywood golfers are social players used to gimmes and not counting every stroke. He never used the term "vanity handicapper," but other observers suggest that ego prevents some celebrities from admitting they aren't good at everything. This, presumably, explains why some actors who we know play golf aren't willing to talk about where they'd fit on our ranking. Truth is, our Hollywood 100 reflects interest more than excellence.

As for who isn't telling the truth, we can only guess. It all comes down to entertainment.

Download this ranking in PDF format.

NOTES: Handicaps were determined in a number of ways: the U.S. Golf Association's Golf Handicap and Information Network, state associations, the actors, publicists, friends and playing partners. Handicaps without a decimal point are unofficial estimates. Handicaps assigned based on the USGA recommended maximum of 36.4 (40.4 for women).

1. Jack Wagner +0.3 Soap star plays for pay on celeb tour, for fun with Heather Locklear
2. Lucas Black 2.3 In "Sling Blade" and "Friday Night Lights" with Billy Bob Thornton
3. Billy Crudup 4.5 "Almost Famous" rocker plays at Bayonne G.C., near Manhattan
4. Craig T. Nelson 4.7 TV's "Coach" played a coach in Will Ferrell's "Blades Of Glory"
5. Chris O'Donnell 5.2 Playing more after "Grey's Anatomy" and "The Company"
6. Joel Gretsch 5.6 Bobby Jones in "Bagger Vance"; Tom Baldwin in "The 4400" on USA
7. Scott Wolf 5.7 Bailey from "Party Of Five" lives and plays in Park City, Utah
8. Dougray Scott 6 The Scot in "Desperate Housewives" and upcoming film "Hitman"
9. Dennis Quaid 6.1 No. 1 on our ranking in '05; Index has climbed 5 shots since then
10. Flex Alexander 6.4 Before "Snakes On A Plane," He starred on UPN sitcom "One On One"
11. Samuel L. Jackson 6.9 Highest-grossing actor of all time, according to Guinness Book
12. Thomas Gibson 7.0 Regular at Pebble Beach with "Criminal Minds" (CBS) doing well
T-13. Bill Murray 7.2 Needed no-cart rule in Sweden, where police detained him
T-13. Kevin Sorbo 7.2 From TV's "Hercules" to "Andromeda" to making movies
15. Kevin Dillon 7.3 Johnny Drama from HBO's "Entourage" is show's top golfer
16. Hugh Grant 7.4 Puts game on display often at Dunhill Links in Scotland
T-17. Matt Craven 7.8 Character actor an "Disturbia" and with Goldblum in "Raines"
T-17. Andy Garcia 7.8 Improving game at Lakeside G.C. despite busy film schedule
T-19. Greg Kinnear 8.0 Oscar nominee In '97 ("As Good As It Gets"); Plays at Bel-Air
T-19. Bruce McGill 8 More than 100 credits since he was D-Day in "Animal House" in '78
T-21 James Caan 8.2 Returning to films after four seasons on "Las Vegas"
T-21. Kurt Russell 8.2 Former caddie was Stuntman Mike in Tarantino's "Death Proof"
23. Don Johnson 8.3 Back in movies again, this fall in "Moondance Alexander"
T-24. Matthew McConaughey 8.6 Played high school golf; says he's made four holes-in-one
T-24 Aidan Quinn 8.6 "Dark Matter" with Meryl Streep won '07 prize at Sundance
26. Mark Wahlberg 8.7 Oscar nominee ("The Departed") making more films, fewer birdies
27. Peter Gallagher 8.9 "The OC" dad is doing films again; played with Sabbatini in AT&T
28. Kyle MacLachlan 9 Dale Cooper from "Twin Peaks" is on "Desperate Housewives"
29. Eric Close 9.5 FBI agent Martin Fitzgerald on CBS' "Without A Trace"
30. Haley Joel Osment 9.6 Teen actor plays at Oakmont Country Club in Glendale, Calif.
31. Cheech Marin 9.8 Down from 14.4 index in '05 despite busy acting career
T-32. Dave Annable 10 Plays Justin Walker on Sunday ABC drama "Brothers & Sisters"
T-32. Carmine Giovinazzo 10 Detective Danny Messer co-stars with no. 76 Sinise on "CSI: NY"
T-32. Gregory Itzin 10 Emmy nominee in '06 for recurring role on "24"
T-32 Richard Karn 10 Al from "Home Improvement" was also "Family Feud" host
36 Bruce Greenwood 10.6 Canceled "John from Cincinnati" means more golf in Malibu
T-37 D.L. Hughley 10.8 Comedian was Simon Stiles on "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip"
T-37. George Lopez 10.8 Host of Bob Hope Chrysler Classic is down from 14.2 index in '05
39. Kevin Costner 11.2 Filming "Swing Vote"; still plays in the AT&T at Pebble Beach
T-40. Sylvester Stallone 11.4 Star and director of "John Rambo," due out in January
T-40. Luke Wilson 11.4 Active film career explains handicap climb from 7.4 in '05
42. Ray Romano 11.6 TV project and "Ice Age 3" in works; plays mostly at Lakeside
43 Robert Wagner 11.7 Mr. Wilson in upcoming "A Dennis the Menace Christmas"
T-44. Eddie Cibrian 12 TV roles in "Third Watch," "Invasion" and "Vanished"
T-44. David James Elliott 12 After 10 years on "JAG," he practices law on "Close To Home"
T-44. John O'Hurley 12 Hosts "Family Feud"; was King Arthur in "Spamalot" in Vegas
T-47 Richard Kind 12.5 Known for "Spin City" but getting lots of movie roles
T-47. Jack Nicholson 12.5 Started playing 18 years ago; Fond of Lakeside, Bel-Air, Riviera
T-49. Brian Baumgartner 13. Kevin Malone in Emmy-winning sitcom "The Office"
T-49. Carlos Bernard 13 Tony Almeida on "24"; Dr. Richmond on "Nurses"

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