Tales from the Trail

Washington Extra – Tee party

June 17, 2011

President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner get to flex their golfing skills tomorrow and we’re guessing there’s plenty of pre-game strategizing going on.

Is time off allowed during a mammoth oil spill crisis? Depends…

June 21, 2010

BP CEO Tony Hayward takes time off to watch his yacht race in British waters, President Barack Obama goes golfing over the Father’s Day weekend. OIL-SPILL/

Obama tees up his “staycation”

August 31, 2009

President Barack Obama is following up his busy week in Martha’s Vineyard with … another holiday. But, like many Americans in this time of economic recession, he is taking a “staycation” — time off without leaving home.

What is it about presidents and golf?

August 30, 2009

OBAMA/President Barack Obama seems to have a new favorite past-time. The 48-year-old campaigned as a basketball player, but now his heart seems to belong to the links. He has squeezed at least four golf outings — three for 18 holes and one just nine — into his week-long vacation on the Massachusetts island Martha’s Vineyard, despite two days of rain and a trip over to Boston for the funeral of his friend and former colleague, the late Senator Edward Kennedy.******Lately Obama has also been golfing on most Sundays when he is in Washington, generally on courses at military bases near the city.******His foursomes are more likely to include long-time friends and aides than well-heeled contacts — this week he golfed with a top executive of the UBS investment bank, but he also played with a White House assistant chef and a press aide.******The habit has attracted a few jibes. Anti-war protester Cindy Sheehan used it to publicize a news conference she was planning on the island during Obama’s visit. “When President Obama was playing golf yesterday, four soldiers died in Afghanistan,” Sheehan said in a flyer distributed at the Martha’s Vineyard White House press center this week.******But for U.S. presidents, golfing is — er — par for the course. Fifteen of the past 18, including Obama, have golfed, according to Golf Digest magazine. Obama explained its appeal for him this summer in an interview with CBS News. Although he was unhappy with the state of his game (he took more than five hours to play 18 holes this week, and a woman who lived near one course described his ball hitting a tree), he said it gives him a chance to relax and spend time with friends, largely unobserved (the Secret Service is around, but often off in the woods, Obama said) and away from reporters and photographers.******”It is the only time that, for six hours, first of all, that I’m outside. And second of all, where you almost feel normal, in the sense that you’re not in a bubble,” he told CBS News.******OBAMA/Golf Digest ranked John F. Kennedy as the top presidential golfer, noting that his average score was 80, despite chronic back pain. Back in January, it put the athletic Obama 8th.******The presidents who didn’t golf? Golf Digest says they were Jimmy Carter , Harry Truman and Franklin Roosevelt. But Roosevelt would have been another golfing president if he had had his way. According to the Armchair Golf Blog, Roosevelt loved playing golf as a young man, but polio in 1923 forced him to give the game up.******Photo credits: Obama golfing on Martha’s Vineyard, Reuters/JASON REED

Obama’s summer holiday reading list: 2,300 pages

August 24, 2009

OBAMA/President Barack Obama is squeezing some reading into his week-long Martha’s Vineyard vacation. OK, a lot more than “some.”

U.S.: Chavez comments par for the course

August 12, 2009

He’s driven Exxon out of his country and suggested former U.S. President George W. Bush was the devil incarnate.

Duffer: An unskilled golfer, also called a hacker

December 24, 2008

U.S. President-elect Barack Obama can body-surf with the best of them.

But can he golf?golf3
Obama, who freely admits not being very good,  sent great chunks of grass flying as he warmed up on the driving range at a private golf club on the Hawaiian island of Oahu before hitting the course  on Christmas Eve.
Several wincing observers also accused him of shanking, which golfers define as striking the ball badly by smacking it with the heel of the club.
Later, as he practiced his putting, a little boy watching him from the clubhouse was heard defending him after he missed several attempts to sink the ball.
“He’s just practicing,” the boy said. Onlookers debated whether the president-elect was being put off his stride by all the people watching him.