Who Golfs More: Trump or Obama?

Donald Trump was a famous detractor of Obama’s golf trip frequency while he was the President of the United States.  Trump went to twitter complaining about the President golfing constantly during Obama’s two terms.  Trump is on record tweeting disparaging remarks about Obama playing golf (Trump Twitter Archive), along with talking about his golf habits during rallies and interviews; even at one point suggesting President Obama played more golf than Tiger Woods (Washington Post).

Two Trump comments on Twitter regarding Obama’s golf habits are, “While our wonderful president was out playing golf all, day the TSA is falling part (Trump Twitter),” and “Can you believe that,[sic] with all the problems and difficulties facing the U.S., President Obama spent the day playing golf”(Trump Twitter).

How Much Golf Did Obama Play?

According to Golf Digest, Obama played 306 rounds of golf during his 8 years in office; an average of about 38 rounds a year.  No one can dispute that is a lot of golf.  Golf Digest labels him as an “avid golfer” which puts him in a club with only “2.1 percent of the entire US population,” and concludes “only 25.6 percent of golfers play that often” (Golf Digest).

Although it’s less than the 1,200 rounds of golf that Woodrow Wilson played or the 800 rounds that Dwight Eisenhower engaged in (CBS Sports), Obama still played more than George W. Bush and  Bill Clinton who were also golfers.  In fact, George W. Bush who played 24 rounds of golf in his first term actually quit playing in 2003 after the Iraq war started.  President Bush went on record stating that decision was out of respect for the families and Americans killed in the war in Iraq, and that “Playing golf during a war just send the wrong signal” (Washington Post).

Obama may not have lived at the golf courses like President Wilson or President Eisenhower, but playing 306 rounds of golf is fair criticism for any Commander-In-Chief. Now-President Trump seemingly knew how much time Obama was spending and disagreed with his work ethic.  Now that Trump is the President let’s look at what he’s done comparatively.

How much golf does Trump Play?

Earlier I wrote in a separate article that during Trump’s first month in office he went on vacation to his “Winter White House” on 3 separate occasions which cost us as tax payers 12 million dollars.  According to CNN, President Trump has visited his two golf courses in West Palm Beach and Jupiter six times in his first month in office.

Many times Trump’s aides have refused to acknowledge whether the President is golfing or not CNN, until there are postings from either Trump himself  or those he golfed with.  The Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was an exception when Trump tweeted out that he extended an invitation to the Japanese diplomat and posted pictures shortly after.  However when golfing with celebrities and professional golfers the message has been less than clear (Fortune).

In one case Trump’s aides conceded that Trump did indeed golf with Rory McIlroy and others after pictures surfaced, however still not fully telling the whole story when they stated it “was only” 9 holes.  McIlroy who is a professional golfer, seemingly without understanding he was contradicting the White house’s statement, told the L.A. Times they golfed a full 18 holes.  He even stated about Trump’s golfing that: “He probably shot around 80. He’s a decent player for a guy in his 70’s!” (CBS News).

After 30 days in the office of the President Donald Trump has gone on 6 golf outings and is on pace to golf 72 times this year, or 288 rounds in his first term.

How Does Trump’s Golf Habits Compare to Obama’s?

If Trump continued golfing at this pace he would end up golfing 90% more rounds of golf than the President he rigorously criticized for his golfing habits.  Estimating Trump’s 4-year term based on his current behavior, the Donald’s golf activity would add up to 288 rounds total; just 18 rounds shy of what Obama played in 2 terms, or 8 years.

President Obama didn’t play a single round of golf for his first three months in office, and President George W. Bush didn’t even play his first round until 6 months in office. (USA Today).  President Trump however, made his first trip to the “Winter White House” to play golf 2 weeks into his Presidency.


Trump’s aides are echoing how much “The golf is refreshing for him,” and “anywhere he can go to decompress is good” which would lead anyone to believe this behavior is not seen as something that should change (Poilitico).  Taking vacations and golfing is good for everyone.  It helps your mind rest and has proven to help become more mentally agile and focused (Better Health).

However, after all of President Trump’s complaints about President Obama Trump played a round of golf quicker than either of the last two Presidents and is on pace to double Obama’s golf outings that he so vociferously denounced.  It’s very hard to defend Trump’s behavior when he is not only doing the same thing he argued against, but is doing more of it.

The reality is that President Trump has a lot to do, including the 2,000 vacancies he needs to fill (1,987 of which require no Senate confirmation at all) as of February 25th, 2017.  You can’t help but imagine if he would have waited a few months or golfed a little less, in favor of taking care of his appointments, that number wouldn’t be so high.


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