One of the highlights of Goldfinger. Ordered to probe the activities of suspected gold smuggler Auric Goldfinger (Gert Fröbe) and supplied with a bar of gold loaned to him by the Bank of England to use as bait, Bond (Sean Connery) tricks Goldfinger into a high-stakes golf challenge match at an English golf club.
For a series in which the action seldom slows down and characters and situations tend to be larger than life, the golf match in Goldfinger stands out as a simple but superbly effective battle of wills. Directed at the perfect easygoing pace by Guy Hamilton and tightly written by Richard Maibaum, who abbreviated Ian Fleming’s original eighteen-hole match to two holes, it’s one of the few times in the franchise when the characters all catch their breath for a moment and forgo the comic book stakes for human-level intensity.
As the competitors navigate the beautifully serene fairways and putting greens of the club, Bond is nattily dressed in a sports shirt, a V-neck sweater, and slacks, while Goldfinger looks amazing in a pair of plus four knickers. Bond’s gift for quick thinking—which the series would often lose track of through too much reliance on Q Branch gadgets—is perfectly demonstrated here, when he thwarts a cheating adversary by cheating him one better. The first Daniel Craig 007 film, Casino Royale, would explore similar territory, with director Martin Campbell adhering to the same relaxed pacing for the extended Texas hold’em poker match in which Bond takes on another terrific villain, Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen).
Incidentally, it was while taking golf lessons for Goldfinger that Sean Connery developed his great passion for the sport.