Last Updated on October 14, 2023 by Alex PT
President Woodrow Wilson holds the record for playing the most golf among U.S. Presidents. He played over 1,000 rounds during his two terms in office from 1913 to 1921, averaging more than 100 rounds per year.
Presidents Who Played the Most Golf
1. Woodrow Wilson
Woodrow Wilson played more golf than any other President. While he was the president, Wilson was able to enjoy playing golf more than 1200 rounds – actually, that’s more than three times a week. Even though he wasn’t very good at golf, earned the nickname ‘Old Four Eyes’, and he didn’t care much for his advisors telling him the game took too much of his time away from his job as president, Wilson continued to play every day.
Golf makes Wilson happy. And he could be found on the course all the time – just without much skill or talent. As you might’ve guessed, Wilson wasn’t exactly passionate about this sport and thus wasn’t able to really master it even after so many rounds of golf over such a short period of time. You see, his lack of passion for the game lead to him taking up golf as a hobby without giving it the love and attention that true fans of the sport would undoubtedly give it every single chance they had; this ultimately resulted in Wilson playing from season to season with no consistent practice whatsoever – which is something an avid fan must never do!
Several accused Wilson of being too occupied with golf during his presidency. In fact, while the rest of the country was declaring war against Germany, Wilson reportedly headed out to play a round at Burning Tree Golf Club. Some biographers claim golf was the only thing that kept him sane – since managing the pressure of his job and maintaining his responsibilities as a national leader weren’t always easy feats to achieve.
While Wilson might not be carrying a super-low handicap with him from his golfing days, he was a decent player and the course he designed at the Burning Tree Golf Club ranks as one of his greatest achievements. More than 100 years after its construction, Wilson also has an award named in his honor handed out annually by the USGA to individuals who have provided a significant impact on the game of golf. The fact that many other Presidents took up the game has only served to grow its popularity over time – would Wilson have done any better if you gave him more time on the links using modern equipment?
2. Dwight Eisenhower
Eisenhower was one of the people who made a huge impact on the history of Golf. He was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1999 for contributions to the development of golf worldwide, through such efforts as installing a putting green on White House grounds; prior to his Presidency, there had never been an official green on White House grounds before then. Let’s take a moment to honor our beloved former President and many others who have helped make Golf what it is today!
Eisenhower grew up in Abilene, Kansas, which happens to be Dwight Eisenhower’s birthplace. However, Eisenhower didn’t grow up playing the game of golf. In fact, he was 35 years old as a lieutenant when he took up the sport of golf. He became a notable athlete at the time, quickly mastering his swing and using it effectively in competition.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower was a golfer and avid fan of Arnold Palmer, who at the time was one of the most popular players in the game. During Eisenhower’s two terms, golf did become more accessible to the common person but the sport still had a way to go before reaching the level of popularity that it has today. Toward the end of his presidency, Eisenhower introduced (then-Lieutenant General) Colin Powell to another famous golfer named Jack Nicklaus. The three often played together during their days off and eventually, Powell became an avid fan himself.
3. John F Kennedy
While President John F. Kennedy is known for not playing many games of golf, he was known for his excellent golf swing! The former president excelled in sports at Harvard, and despite enduring a sickly back which even led to him undergoing surgery in 1956, his form when striking the ball shows how he protected himself from unnecessary damage by controlling his lower body while maintaining an upright stance during impact. This allowed him to make full use of powerful upper-body movement during each swing. You can see this in some footage of historical tape where he’s shown hitting at the presidential retreat on Cape Cod.
JFK did not golf during his presidency because he didn’t want to be seen as focused on leisure and not on the people of America. If only his back had been better, then perhaps he would have found the time to walk a few rounds of golf and eventually become a single handicap player.
4. Barack Obama
Barack Obama loves playing golf. While he was in office, he played more than three hundred rounds of golf. When the 44th president hit the links, people started to get pretty ticked off because it made the president seem detached and disinterested when he didn’t devote his full attention to running this country.
Barack Obama is an enthusiastic golfer who spent his spare time on the links with friends and established contacts. As President of the USA, he was often seen out and about at his beloved game. President Obama likes to play golf so much that he plays regularly now too since he is no longer in charge – perhaps even more so!
The president used to enjoy his occasional golf outings even though he usually shot around a 20 handicap rather than under par,. However, because he was much better at golf than most presidents, people would often wonder if there wasn’t something fishy about that game. As you’ll see with number five on our list of presidential golfing blunders, holding a handicap much lower than the average golfer in America can actually be detrimental to the reputation of this gentleman’s favorite game.
The Worst Presidential Golfers
Several U.S. Presidents have been criticized for their golfing skills, with some considered among the worst presidential golfers:
- William Howard Taft: Taft, the 27th President (1909-1913), was known for his portly figure, which made golfing a challenge. He struggled with the physical demands of the game and was often mocked for getting stuck in bunkers.
- Dwight D. Eisenhower: Despite his passion for golf, the 34th President (1953-1961) wasn’t considered a skilled player. He frequently scored in the 90s and occasionally in the 100s. Nevertheless, his love for the game helped popularize it in the United States.
- Richard Nixon: Nixon, the 37th President (1969-1974), was an avid golfer but not a proficient one. His game suffered due to the pressures of his presidency, and he often shot high scores.
- Gerald Ford: Ford, the 38th President (1974-1977), was known for his athletic prowess in college, but his golf game wasn’t remarkable. He struggled with consistency and wasn’t considered a strong player.
- Jimmy Carter: Carter, the 39th President (1977-1981), was passionate about golf but didn’t excel at it. He typically shot scores in the 90s, and his game was often criticized.
Golfing is a sport where Presidents and national leaders can find themselves spending a lot of their time. These true golfers act as role models for the rest of us because after all, who doesn’t wish to take a few minutes away from the office, or even home for that matter, and step into the office with a powerful putt that leaves all those around you speechless?