I've never been much for the game of golf, so I'm admittedly not the most ideal of judges for "Tommy's Honour," which tells the story of Tom Morris (a charismatically gruff Peter Mullan) and Tommy Morris, Jr. (the charming Jack Lowden), the 19th century Scottish father-and-son duo who were undisputed pioneers of the sport. But even without that innate love for the game, I still found myself occasionally caught up in its lovingly told tale of class, family, and stomping around fairways in fashionable tweed jackets topped off with a jaunty cap.
Dubbed "the grand old man of golf," Old Tom founded the Open Championship (later known as the British Open) in 1860, going on to win four of its first eight competitions while making his living as a greenskeeper and caddy. He's eventually outshined by his son, Tommy, who as just a teenager quickly rose to the rank of one of golf's all-time greats. Along the way, the pair were integral in molding the sport into its modern incarnation: Old Tom designing courses and crafting clubs, Tommy innovating new shots and strategies on the green.
As is often the case with these types of stories, the film becomes less about the game itself than who the men were when off the course. It's a tale of a sometimes contentious father and son rivalry, as the two generations butt against one another when Tommy finds himself chafing against class barriers and his own ambitions. The younger man also enters into a sweet romance with Meg (Ophelia Lovibond), a woman ten years his senior, whose past creates its own set of conflicts with the general morals of the era.
Directed by Jason Connery (son of Sean), the film is based on the 2007 book "Tommy's Honor: The Story of Old Tom Morris and Young Tom Morris, Golf's Founding Father and Son," by Kevin Cook (Cook also adapted the screenplay along with his wife, Pamela Marin). Connery makes the most of the strikingly overcast Scotland locations and especially the wonderful performances of Mullan and Lowden. Hitting most of the familiar sports biopic beats, "Tommy's Honour" has its affecting moments, though as far as these type of stories go, this one feels about par for the course.