Not THAT Happy Gilmore, but a 16-year-old high school golfer named Happy Gilmore is competing in the Indiana state championship, and tried his hand at qualify for the U.S. Open.


YouTube via Movieclips from Universal Pictures
YouTube via Movieclips from Universal Pictures


Happy Gilmore

“Sometimes, when I first introduce myself, they will look at me funny,” said Gilmore, a star golfer at Bloomington South High School in Indiana. “But if my golf bag is there and has my name on it, that will kind of help a little bit. But it never fails. At some point they will ask me, ‘Is that your real name?’ or ‘How did you get that name?’ Something along those lines.”

Now, "Happy" isn't technically his real name, it's just a nickname that he was given around the age of six according to his mother. His given name is Landon, however, his last name is indeed Gilmore.

He got the nickname at that age because he started to play in golf tournaments, because, why not, right?

Unlike Adam Sandler's character in the 1996 movie, Gilmore is not a hockey player turned golfer. But the kid can just straight up golf! Gilmore tied for eighth in the state last year as a freshman.

Gilmore has earned some national publicity, not just for his name. He was the subject of a story last month on after he shot an 80 in a U.S. Open qualifier at Old Oakland Golf Club.

That got the attention of the “Shooter McGavin” Twitter account, obviously named after Christopher McDonald’s villainous character in the movie. He tweeted about Happy to his 437,000-plus followers.

Are there any more similarities to THE Happy Gilmore?

Student Gilmore can imitate Sandler’s tee shots like in the movie, though he admits he hasn't practiced the wild, run-up-to-the-ball routine recently.

“I haven’t done it for a while so I’m probably a little bit rusty,” he said. “But just give me a couple of balls, and I can usually make pretty good contact.”

And just like Movie Happy, one of Student Happy's strengths is his driver.

“I’m pretty long (off the tee),” he said. “Here lately I’ve been struggling with my driver, but typically I’m very good off the tee and my putting is usually pretty good. I’ve been working hard on getting my wedges up because my irons are decent, but my strong suits are definitely off the tee and off the green.”

Student Happy says that having that name doesn't really add any pressure, but definitely gets him recognized for obvious reasons.

“I don’t think it adds any pressure to me,” Gilmore said of his name. “But I do know that whatever I do is going to be seen. Especially as far as leaderboards when people are scrolling down and see ‘Happy Gilmore’ they are going to look at it, obviously. So I do know that, but I don’t let it get in my head or that I have to play good because of it. I just go out and do my thing.”

I wonder how his inspirational speeches are to balls that just don't seem to want to go home.

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To celebrate the incredible cinematic achievements of the decade, Stacker compiled data on all 1990s movies to come up with a Stacker score—a weighted index split evenly between IMDb and Metacritic scores. To qualify, the film had to have a premiere date between 1990 and 1999, have a Metascore, and have at least 1,000 votes. Ties were broken by Metascore and further ties were broken by votes.

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