4 Presidents With a Passion for Golf

Nov 4, 2016

4 Presidents With a Passion for Golf
President Barack Obama takes a practice putt with a golf club presented to him by golf legend Arnold Palmer prior to the signing ceremony for H.R. 1243, the Arnold Palmer Congressional Gold Medal Act, in the Oval Office.

As the 2016 election draws near, we thought we’d take a break from the hand-wringing and political arguments to have a little fun. After all, the job of president of the United States is a tough one — so a little outdoor leisure time every now and again is essential to staying sharp, right?

In that spirit, here are four leaders of the free world who have significant connections to the game of golf:

Dwight Eisenhower

America’s 34th president may not have been the best player, but he certainly loved the game as much as any of his predecessors or successors. “Ike” played some 800 rounds of golf during his two terms in office, which coincided with a period of great post-war prosperity in the United States. Eisenhower was in office during the initial rise of the recently departed Arnold Palmer, giving the game the shot in the arm that catapulted it into the American consciousness. A famous tree that once stood left of the fairway on the 17th hole at famed Augusta National Golf Club was nicknamed the Eisenhower Tree — after then-President Eisenhower unsuccessfully lobbied to have it removed because it so disrupted his game.

John F. Kennedy

JFK’s life was tragically cut short in 1963, when the 35th president was just 46 years old. But in only a short time, he established himself as the consensus choice for best president-golfer. A natural athlete with a smooth, flowing swing, he was suspected by many to carry a single-digit handicap, although he was far more secretive about his golf than his predecessor, Eisenhower. Furthermore, a balky back kept him from playing as much as he otherwise would have.

Bill Clinton

Our 42nd president is another avid player, who managed to finally reach a level of golf that many only dream of: breaking 80. Known to take a mulligan or two in casual rounds, Clinton is not the best player to ever lead the country, but his intelligence and easygoing nature would fit right in at any member-guest tournament.

Barack Obama

Our current president is a passionate sportsman, sports fan and golfer. He is the first left-handed golfer to occupy the Oval Office and has about an 18 handicap, though he is famously mum about his specific scores. A modest dresser, he plays most of his golf at public courses and has been known to tee it up with Republicans and Democrats alike. It seems a virtual certainty that he will play even more golf once his tenure as president is complete.

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