"Caddyshack was filmed at our club"

2016 02 Caddyshack2

When is Bushwood not Bushwood? When it’s Grande Oaks.

Confused? Don’t be. The fictitious Illinois golf club that features in Caddyshack - the ever-so-snobby Bushwood Country Club - is actually Grande Oaks Country Club in Florida.

Now privately owned, it was a ‘pay and play’ facility and went by the name of Rolling Hills when Hollywood rolled into town to film on location for 11 weeks in late 1979.

“It’s pretty cool to be the Caddyshack club,” club director Joseph Semmler tells bunkered. “If you’re serious about golf, there’s a good chance you’ve seen that movie so to be the club that’s actually in it is quite a novelty.”

• The best Scots course you've (probably) never played

As with most moments of inspiration, Rolling Hills/Grande Oaks got used almost by chance. The filmmakers wanted to shoot their golf scenes over the autumn and winter of 1979 but with the weather in the mid-west, where the film is set, being notoriously unpredictable at that time of year, they were forced to take production on the road. In the end, it came down to a straight choice between shooting in California or shooting in Florida.

Director Harold Ramis quickly ruled out the former, reportedly because he didn’t fancy the film studio based there to be breathing down his neck throughout production, and so he settled on Florida. The only problem with that, however, was that most of the courses there are lined by palm trees, which you wouldn’t get in the mid-west.

Fortunately, Grande Oaks was the exception. Although located in Fort Lauderdale, its fairways were lined with oak trees, not palm, allowing it to double-up nicely as a golf club from Illinois. Ramis liked it immediately, not least because it had a hotel sitting adjacent, where he could base his cast and crew.

• gWest - The great enigma of Scottish golf

That hotel - which became the scene of numerous wild parties during filming - is now a dorm for Nova Southeastern University, whilst the club itself is also rather different.

“We were taken over in 1999 by an entrepreneur called Wayne Huizenga, who renamed the property Grande Oaks Golf Club and pretty much completely transformed the place,” explains Hessler. “You struggle to see where the movie was actually filmed.

The club's new, modern clubhouse.

“Ray Floyd was brought in to redesign the course and a leading architecture firm - Garcia, Brenner & Stromberg - built our new clubhouse. What we now have is a private club that we consider a sanctuary for our members.”

In other words, a place where Judge Smails would fit in but Al Czervik not so much? “That’s a pretty accurate way of putting it,” laughs Semmler. 

• Heather MacRae: Facing cancer, fighting back

Despite its facelift, Grande Oaks hasn’t totally forgotten its Hollywood heritage.

“We do sell some items from the movie,” adds Semmler. “We’ve got ‘naked lady’ tees, Carl Spackler hats, T-shirts, paintings and things like that.” Semmler also says it’s not uncommon to hear some of the most famous lines from the movie being quoted on the grounds.

Caddyshack4

“You do hear quite a lot of that,” he adds. “The ‘Cinderella Story’ speech comes out quite a bit but because of where we’re located - south Florida is prone to a lot of rain - we mostly tend to hear lines from the scene when the clergyman is enjoying the round of his life with Carl Spackler carrying his bag. There’s a moment in that scene when he asks Carl if they should go back in and Carl replies, ‘I don't think the heavy stuff‘s gonna come down for quite a while.’ I couldn’t even tell you how many times I’ve heard somebody say that.”

Just one final question: how often do they get asked if they have their gopher problem under control. “We get that quite a lot,” he laughs. “But I can categorically confirm that, no, we don’t have any issues with gophers.”

Caddyshack in bunkered

Our Caddyshack feature first appeared in issue 141 of bunkered (July 2015).

bunk141

Share this Article

share-logo
twitter-logo facebook-logo

Latest Videos See all videos right arrow

play button
EVERYTHING YOU EVER WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT SCOTTY CAMERON PUTTERS (2020)
Scotty Cameron
play button
OLD DRIVER VS NEW DRIVER - TaylorMade SIM vs TaylorMade Original One
TaylorMade
play button
PUTTER BATTLE! Odyssey Stroke Lab Triple Track Ten - VS - TaylorMade Spider X
Odyssey Triple Track
play button
THE BEST LOOKING NEW CLUB I'VE SEEN IN 2020 - BUT WHAT IS IT?
Ping
See all videos right arrow

Golf News

Renowned Scots club sees members surge post lockdown
Woods breaks silence on America’s violent protests
Troon go LIVE for International women's golf day
Women’s Golf Day auction lists stunning items
Women’s pro golf to make UK return

Other Top Stories

Tiger Woods puts new irons in the bag
New Fife golf course gets go ahead
REVIEW - Adare Manor, Ireland's rejuvenated masterpiece
Win a spot in the ASI Scottish Open Pro-Am with Hilton
Padraig Harrington targets 2020 Ryder Cup captaincy

Quick Fault 'n' Fixes See all videos right arrow

play button
Denis Pugh’s power secrets
Watch
play button
Stop the hands from flipping over
Watch
play button
Make your backswing steeper
Watch
play button
Rotate behind the ball
Watch
See all videos right arrow