An Obama family foursome could give golf a much needed boost
It’s well known President Barack Obama is a talented basketball player. What many may not know is he also plays golf. Well, sort of.
Like William Howard Taft, the first U.S. president to play golf, Wilson, Harding, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, the Bushes and Clinton - presidents before him who have risked all self-respect in the relentless pursuit of mastering the game, President Obama too has put his ego on the line.
Ford tried harder than just about any president to master the game, but still couldn’t break out of his double-digit handicap; Kennedy’s elegant swing and adroit touch around the greens was photographed at Hyannisport; and Eisenhower forged a strong bond with Arnold Palmer soliciting the Masters champion for advice.
One of Obama’s forays on the links took place more than a year ago at Olomana Golf Links in Waimanalo on Oahu, Hawaii where he went to relax after getting his party’s nomination. Wearing khakis, a red polo, sunglasses and a baseball cap, he carried his own clubs from to his motorcade to his golf cart then warmed up on the driving range alongside members and signed a few autographs for the kids. He didn’t make a huge fuss.
There are rumors his first drive veered left. But after all he is a leftie and anything can happen when you tee off surrounded by press, Secret Service and a horde of fans. Gerald Ford’s errant shots at the annual Bob Hope Chrysler Classic are legendary. “I know I am getting better at golf because I’m hitting fewer spectators,” he is known to have said.
It remains to be seen if Obama might join former presidents in a little bit of creative scoring. Indeed Arnold Palmer who has played with just about every recent president when asked what they had in common, quipped, “Mulligans” - Clinton’s and Johnson’s are well documented.
Obama’s handicap (if he has one) has been kept as closely held as his plans on how he is going to pay for all his programs. But hey, he only took up the game in 1996 when he was elected to the Illinois legislature thinking it might be a good way to network with constituents. And let’s be realistic: Obama didn’t get to play much - that is play much before he was elected.
Since he has been president, in less than a year, he’s played more than 25 rounds while George W. Bush took two terms to play the same number of rounds.
The President certainly looks like a golfer with his slim physique and 6′ 1/2″ height. But he has admitted his golf game needs some improvement. “I am assuming the next time if I tee off, someone is going to have to give me a lot of strokes,” he has said.
Already several pros have weighed in on his golf swing. Ted Britschgi, PGA pro, arguably one of the top golf teachers in the U.S., says, “At the top his golf swing he has some good alignments and his right wrist is arched. That’s not a bad position to reach at the end of your backswing because it can put the shaft on plane fairly easily.
“If he focuses on being centered as he pivots up and swings to the top of the backswing where he has a tendency to sway a bit , this will help his contact tremendously. It would help as he starts the downswing, to put more emphasis on transferring his weight to his right.”
Staying centered and balanced? Sound like politics.
He has the passion for golf, the athleticism to become good, but in his job as President, he won’t have the time to hone his game.
Still he could also give the game a big boost. If Obama gave Michelle, Sasha and Malia golf lessons for Christmas, would a family foursome be far behind? After all, Michelle Obama has potential. At 5′ 10 3/4″ tall, like Michelle Wie, her statuesque build could pack a lot of power.
Picture the photo op: The Obama Family Foursome Tees Off. Women’s golf, kids golf, The First Tee program, apparel - the entire industry - could use a much needed boost from the top.
|« We need our Superheroes so give Tiger Woods some space. Please.||What do NASCAR's Jimmie Johnson and Lorena Ochoa have in common? »|