It’s no secret that Donald Trump loves playing golf — whether he can fit in a tee time at a Trump golf course or at another exclusive club. Many Trump supporters criticized Barack Obama for escaping the White House to enjoy the game. And Obama supporters, similarly, have objected to Trump’s frequent rounds.
But the reality is that the tradition of presidents playing golf is a long and time-honored one. Read on to get the inside story on which presidents have enjoyed the game.
1. William Howard Taft
- Favorite course: Chevy Chase Club
The Atlantic reported in 2011 that Barack Obama was the 17th president to golf “since William McKinley made the first presidential putt in 1897.” (That makes Donald Trump the 18th.) In the intervening years, only a few presidents declined to play the game: Teddy Roosevelt, Herbert Hoover, Harry Truman, and Jimmy Carter.
As The Atlantic notes, our golfing presidents “almost always attacked the course in a way that revealed their personalities.” For Taft, that simply meant that he played a lot — even though he didn’t excel at the game. The Washington Post reports that by his own admission, Taft became “addicted to golf.” He played so often during the 1908 presidential campaign that his mentor, Theodore Roosevelt, urged him to stop playing. Roosevelt said he received hundreds of letters complaining about Taft playing “a rich man’s game.”
Next: This president had Secret Service agents paint his golf balls so that he could practice in the snow.