Set primarily on the golf course at Bushwood Country Club, the story is a farcical clash between classes, on one side the wealthy and privileged and on the other, the anarchic, young and noisy. The club is represented by the chronically uptight Judge Smails (Knight) and opposite him the vulgar, noisy, witty self-made man Al Czervik (Dangerfield) and a group of caddies including Danny Noonan (O'Keefe). Ty Webb (Chase) is a well-to-do but unassuming golf savant who blithely plays both sides of the brawl. Out of the fight, but periodically crossing paths with the others, is Carl Spackler (Murray), a lunatic assistant greenskeeper locked in an increasingly armed death-struggle with a gopher.

The plot, such as it is, hinges on two key golf matches. In the first, Noonan wins a college scholarship and the favour of Smails. The second is an illegal high-stakes gambling match which forces Danny to side either with Czervik or Smails, at the end of which Spackler dynamites the majority of the course trying