Presidential Golf


I’ve been looking around a bit, and the Presidents whom I can find playing golf in photos are: Taft, Wilson, Harding, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Reagan, Bush 41, Clinton, and Bush 43.

It seems that with Eisenhower (shown here hitting balls on the deck of the heavy cruiser USS Canberra), golf became expected Presidential behavior. After Ike, only Carter has not played golf, but before Ike and after Taft (our first golfing President), six presidents abstained: McKinley, Coolidge, Hoover, both Roosevelts and Truman.

“All of us have heard this term “preventive war” since the earliest days of Hitler. I recall that is about the first time I heard it … a preventive war, to my mind, is an impossibility today. How could you have one if one of its features would be several cities lying in ruins, several cities where many, many thousands of people would be dead and injured and mangled, the transportation systems destroyed, sanitation implements and systems all gone? That isn’t preventive war; that is war. I don’t believe there is such a thing; and, frankly, I wouldn’t even listen to anyone seriously that came in and talked about such a thing.”

– President Dwight D. “Ike” Eisenhower,
Supreme Allied Commander, WWII
August 11, 1954

In terms of golf handicap, Ike was our finest President ever. If you include VPs in the competition, Dan Quayle takes the prize; all serious amateur golf tournaments include a spelling bee, for this very reason.



  1. Ah, but when it comes to golf even the power of the “Leader of the Free World” takes a back seat…

    Eisenhower Tree
    Located at hole No. 17, the Eisenhower Tree is approximately 210 yards from the Masters tee and left-center of the fairway. The loblolly pine is approximately 65 feet high and about 100 to 125 years old. The former President of the US and Club member hit into the tree so often he campaigned to have it removed. At a Club’s governors meeting in 1956, Eisenhower proposed cutting the tree down. Clifford Roberts promptly ruled him out of order and adjourned the meeting. The pine has been linked to Eisenhower since then.


  2. My understanding at the time was that they had to kind of goad Clinton into learning to play well enough to be Presidential. Don’t know if he’d ever played before, but his swing is still a little, er, chunky.

    And Bush 43 is probably still looking for the windmill.

    Speaking of mini golf, I think the mini golf place out on Dempster is gone now. It was the only one I knew of that had a huge gold (or gold painted) Buddha to hit under. I always thought that was a good Doug and Tom golf mix.

  3. Sorry to hear about the demise of Buddha-golf. Man, I’m getting the golf itch … that time of year. May have to talk the wife into a trip to the covered range this weekend. (Forecast says rain.)

    Scott & Jess, wanna hit some balls with us at Interbay?

  4. who would want to play with bush anyways? er George Bush that is… 🙂

    ps.. always ready to get out and smack a few!

  5. Wow, Dave — you’ve got a much better formula than me. My right value generally rides around 80%. And I typically have an embedded audio file in there too (fore.wav).

  6. Hey, I’ve been learning a bunch about microformats lately (watch the work blog for more on that soon), and it occurs to me we should have a microformat for describing golf shots. That way we could add semantics to our golf discussions without changing the way HTML renders it. You know, change this:

    I really crushed my 3-wood off the tee on the first hole at IV, but my lefty snap-hook put it OB. Again.

    To something like this:

    < span class=”player” val=”Doug”>I</span> really crushed my <span class=”club” val=”3W>3-wood</span> off the tee on the <span class=”hole” val=”1″>first hole</span> at <span class=”course” val=”Indian Valley”>IV</span>, but my lefty snap-hook <span class=”teeshot” val=”OB”>put it OB</span>. Again.

    Then we can write applications that suck the data out of that mess and store it in a database, from which we can generate gorgeous Open XML documents summarizing our golfing adventures! And, and … OK, I think I’m going to have to take a few hours off. Coming, Dear!

  7. This reminds me of years ago out in Mount Prospect when I mentioned to you that Lizzie thought I was starting to think about this geek stuff too much, and that you were likely a questionable influence in that arena. You got very hyper, grabbed the dry-erase markers, and proceeded to draw a big Venn diagram on your whiteboard about Doug interests, Tom interests, and overlapping areas of interest. After a bunch of analytical talk and enthusiastic references back to your diagram, you turned to me, capped your marker, and told me to just describe it to Lizzie that way and she’d understand.

    I think you were joking, but I still don’t know for sure. For fun, I tried it that way on my own whiteboard when I got back home to Lizzie.

    Suffice it to say she saw the humor in it, but it’s still kind of amazing that we have a daughter now.

    That daughter, by the way, will be taught Venn diagrams IN KINDERGARTEN next year — they told us that at the parent orientation last month. My eyes lit up and I turned to Lizzie with an eager grin on my face. She just rolled her eyes.

    Methinks we might be stopping at one kid. Or at least I might.

  8. Doug,

    Judging from your last comment I think you are in dire need of:

    1) Time away from work.
    2) A round of golf.
    3) One cold beer (or three).

    Hope you get them all soon. I do hear my clubs giggling in the basement. Maybe a month or so away from tolerable golf weather. 🙂 Fore!

  9. All joking aside, I’ve been thinking about writing my own little version of GolfTrak in Python as an exercise. If you want to dig into some kind of standardized markup for this kind of thing so we can both use our data in our own deeply disturbed ways, let me know. Sounds like a nice, fun exercise to me.

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