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.