President Obama has played 52 rounds of golf in less than two years in office. The U.S. unemployment, down economy and two wars have not tampered his leisure time. In comparison, President Bush played a total of 24 rounds of golf in eight years.
The pictures of the President wearing oxford-style, brown and white golf shoes and zipping around green golf courses in an electric cart are insensitive and inappropriate.
While the United States is in a severe economic crisis, the unemployment rate is stuck at 9.6% and families struggle to make ends meet, Obama spends an average of four to five hours playing each 18-hole round of golf.
Golf is a leisure activity for the well-to-do. The White House does not say if the President pays the green fees himself, but the cost for an 18-hole round of golf includes greens fees, cart rental, tips, clubs and balls.
Obama plays with golf balls stamped with the number “44,” which Titleist makes specially for him. Whether the President pays for the balls or accepts them as a gift is unclear.
The President mostly plays taxpayer-funded military golf courses in the Washington, D.C., area. He’s played 18 times at the Fort Belvoir golf course in Virginia and 17 times at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland. He also played one time at the private Army Navy Country Club, which grants honorary memberships to Presidents.
He plays golf quite a bit while on his many family vacations. He played twice in two days in April at the Golf at Grove Park Inn, while on vacation in Asheville, N.C.
The Obama family has spent the past two summer vacations on the chi-chi Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts. While there, the President played golf five times at the private, members-only Vineyard Golf Club (once with billionaire New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg.)
While hobnobbing with the rich and powerful on Cape Cod, Obama has also golfed twice at Farm Neck Golf Club, which costs $145 per person for an 18-hole round of golf. He’s also played twice at the Mink Meadows Golf Club, which costs $80 per person for the 9-hole course, plus $26 for the electric golf cart.
Obama has played four rounds of golf while vacationing in his native Hawaii (where he first played the game in high school.) He played the courses at Luana Hills Country Club, Mid-Pacific Country Club and Kaneohe Klipper Golf Course.
The President’s golfing skills are not publicly known, however, witnesses to the President’s game over the past two years estimate his scores range from the low 90s to the low hundreds.
“We never hear about his golf scores. About as secret as nuclear launch codes,” tweeted CBS Radio’s White House correspondent Mark Knoller after the President’s 52nd round on Saturday.
“I don’t like my golf swing,” the President told Russian TV in July 2009. “It’s a game that I keep on thinking I should be good at, and somehow the ball goes this way and that way and never goes straight.”
From a public relations perspective, the President jaunting around golf courses shows he is out of touch he is with Americans’ economics struggles and the sacrifice of the military at war.
President Bush stopped playing golf in August 2003 out of respect for the military and their families during war. “I feel I owe it to the families to be … in solidarity as best as I can with them. And I think playing golf during a war just sends the wrong signal,” he said.
“I don’t want some mom whose son may have recently died to see the commander-in-chief playing golf,” said Bush.
From a practical perspective, the President has wasted about 250 hours playing golf (not counting the travel time to and from the courses) in the 20 months he has been in the White House.
Come to think of it, when Obama has been at his desk, he’s given us excessive government spending, ObamaCare and almost 10% unemployment.
So maybe Americas are better off if Obama spends more time playing golf and less time messing up the country. FORE!