Presidents Love to Play Golf

From Taft to Trump and everyone in between — U.S. presidents love a game of golf. 🏌️

Fun Facts About Presidential Golf

No matter what, U.S. presidents find time for golf. Since William Taft, every president has played the sport. Woodrow Wilson played the most golf of any president — nearly 1,200 rounds from 1913 t0 1918. He even met his second wife, Edith Bolling Galt, after around was rained out. When WW1 ended, Warren G. Harding left the course to sign a Congressional resolution — then went right back to his round. Harding was the first president to have a golf course named for him. Naturally, Donald Trump has the most golf courses named after him — 17 worldwide.

In 2019, sports writer Rick Riley published Commander in Cheat: How Golf Explains Trump, which contained some damning claims about Trump's tactics. George H.W. Bush was a huge golf guy. He played in multiple tournaments and even received the PGA Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009. Lyndon B. Johnson famously used golf to help secure Senate votes — including on the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964.

George W. Bush reportedly gave up playing golf while in office after this infamous gaffe. “I call upon all nations to do everything they can to stop these terrorist killers. Thank you. Now, watch this drive.” President George W. Bush, who routinely allowed journalists to accompany him on golf outings early in his presidency, told Politico in May 2008 that he decided to give up the game in August 2003 after a bomb attack on the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad that killed a top U.N. official.

Barack Obama was often criticized, especially on Fox News, for the amount of golf he played —over 300 rounds during his presidency. Trump golfed almost 200 times in his first 2.5 years as president, at a cost north of $100 million. The Atlantic reported in 2011 that Barack Obama was the 17th president to golf “since William McKinley made the first presidential putt in 1897.