Today I have been blessed with the opportunity to sit on my couch and enjoy a day off from my “day job” in health care, and what better way to celebrate by reminiscing on the best golfers-in-Chief this Presidents Day? Many of our past “Leaders of the Free World” have played this great game, however which were the best on the fairways? Furthermore, how would they stack up against some of the world’s golfer-leaders? Read on to learn more.John F. Kennedy One of the more popular (or less-popular, depending on your side of the fence) Presidents in American history, JFK was also quite the golfer. He was so good, in fact, that many thought he could be a single-digit handicap had he the opportunity to play more often. However, JFK was also limited on the course by an ailing back and Addison’s Disease. Little bit of trivia: JFK’s golf clubs (Ben Hogan Power Thrust irons and MacGregor woods) were recently auctioned for roughly $2,000.
According to Links Magazine, Ford was quite the athlete having played football at the University of Michigan. As a golfer, Ford was known to be a long hitter off the tee and one of the strongest players in White House history. During the opening ceremonies from the World Golf Hall of Fame, Ford outdrove playing partners Arnold Palmer and Gary Player on the first hole of Pinehurst No. 2. Unfortunately for Ford, he was also very sporadic off the tee and had been known to hit a spectator or two in his day.
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Perhaps the one President most often linked to playing golf, Dwight D. was said to have played more than 800 rounds of golf during his two-term presidency. Eisenhower enjoyed the game so much, in fact, that he had a putting green installed on the White House back lawn so he could practice during his free time – if that even exists for Presidents. He played so much golf during his time in office that many critics believed his addiction to the game was a liability.
Good ol’ Slick Willy was also a pretty solid player in his own right and continues to play as often as he can in Pro-Ams and other events. Clinton wasn’t always the most honest golfer, supposedly, as there have been multiple accusations of our 42nd President shaving a few strokes here and there. Recently there has been some inclination that Clinton would ultimately take the helm of the struggling Bob Hope Classic; however that remains to be seen.
George H.W. Bush
As Links Magazine suggests, golf has a rich family tradition for the Bush bloodline. For example, grandfather George Herbert Walker was president of the U.S. Golf Association and founded the Walker Cup. H.W. Bush is also a recent inductee into the World Golf Hall of Fame. Of course, son George W. Bush was also an avid golfer, you know, when he wasn’t out “accomplishing missons”.
Current President Barry Obama is also quite the athlete, enjoying pick-up games of basketball whenever he can with choice White House and cabinet staff. However, our left-handed President also hits the links every so often with his homemade golf swing and makes his way around the course relatively well. It seems, however, that people are more concerned with Obama’s choice of wardrobe while playing than his actual talent level.
So there’s a few of the more notable golfing US Presidents… but what about a couple other world leaders throughout history? Surely there have been a few golf enthusiasts in various positions of power, right?
The British Prime Minister is also known to be quite the athlete, having played numerous sports in college including rugby, tennis, and golf. Blair would play most often with his former Director of Communications, Peter Mandelson, who was also quite the player in his own right. Oddly enough, in 2002 Blair reviewed the case of a man who was jailed for retrieving golf balls from a lake (who collected over 1100 golf balls in the process).
Kim Jung Il
Where to even begin? According to numerous world sources (i.e. fairy tales… but not Ryan!) the Dear Leader is obviously the greatest golfer in the history of the universe. Just ask the Pyongyang media! “Kim enjoys golf, having shot multiple holes-in-one during his first try at the game. He reportedly aced five holes and finished 38 under par on the golf course. The "Dear Leader" routinely shoots three or four holes-in-one per round.” Oh, brother.