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104: A Large Number for Some Things; But for Golf Rounds over Four Years, Not So Much

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It seems that no one else is going to defend President Obama on this, so I will shoulder  the burden. 104 is not a large number. Well, it might be depending on what one is measuring (though Catherine Millet would deem it pretty paltry). But for number of rounds of golf played in four years, no, it’s not large at all.

That’s the number of rounds the President has played since his inauguration. It’s the source of ribbing at the GOP convention–some senator sneered that he thought Obama was getting ready for the PGA tour.

How does it compare to Obama’s peers? I’m a member of a golf club near DC–(now owned by Donald Trump–that’s another story). The core membership is upper middle class information technology professionals–along with many consultants, attorneys, doctors, developers of software firms, government lobbyists, the occasional cabinet member. A lot of these guys –even in mid career–play a lot of golf. The stronger players are out there two days a week minimum, plus the occasional golf vacation to Brandon Dunes or whatever. Since we’re we’re speaking of six month golf season in the DC area, they play 45-70 rounds a year. Not everyone, but the men (and women) who take the game seriously do.

This is not enough–every one of these folks believes they could be four shots better if they could play and practice more–and for some of them, four shots better would put them in the field of the US Amateur championship. But it is all they can get. These are,  for what it’s worth, Obama’s peer group: successful professionals in their fifties. And Obama, with his 26 rounds a year, is playing less than half as much as they are. (Much less, it should be noted, than Bill Clinton or Dwight Eisenhower, who used to get in 100 rounds a year.)

So next time you hear someone chortle about how much golf Obama plays, you can snicker if you want. But realize, playing an average of once a week is NOT very much if you are serious about the game, as Obama seems to be.

about the author

Scott McConnell is a founding editor of The American Conservative and the author of Ex-Neocon: Dispatches From the Post-9/11 Ideological Wars. Follow him on Twitter at @ScottMcConnell9.

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