Top Presidential Golfers

President Donald Trump will be the 16th of the past 19 American presidents to play golf. And immediately upon entering office, he will be the top presidential golfer of the group, thanks to his current 2.8 Handicap Index and his 19 club championship victories. According to Golf Digest's Jaime Diaz, who twice played golf with Trump in recent years, the best part of his game is his ball-striking, although Trump himself says it's his putting.

Trump knocks John F. Kennedy from the No. 1 spot in our previousTop Presidential Golfers ranking of the best golf presidents. Here's how the rankings shake out, with an assist from Don Van Natta Jr., author of the book, First Off the Tee: Presidential Hackers, Duffers, and Cheaters from Taft to Bush.

  1. Donald Trump
    Known for his bombastic statements, his boast of winning 19 club championships isn't one of them
  2. John F. Kennedy
    Despite chronic back pain, averaged 80
  3. Dwight D. Eisenhower
    Installed a green outside the Oval Office; member at Augusta National
  4. Gerald R. Ford
    Despite a clumsy image, a legitimate 80s-shooter
  5. Franklin D. Roosevelt
    At 39, polio robbed him of a powerful golf swing
  6. George W. Bush
    His handicap dipped under 10, post-presidency
  7. George H.W. Bush
    Once got his handicap down to 11
  8. Bill Clinton
    Can break 90, especially using his “Billigans”
  9. Barack Obama
    The lefty plays hoops and golf, more than 330 rounds during his two terms.
  10. Ronald Reagan
    Didn't play often or well (best was low 90s)
  11. Warren G. Harding
    Struggled to break 95
  12. William Howard Taft
    As hapless a golfer as he was a chief executive
  13. Woodrow Wilson
    Played more than Ike but almost never broke 100
  14. Richard M. Nixon
    He shot 79 once and quit the game
  15. Lyndon B. Johnson
    Played with senators to secure votes for the Civil Rights Act of 1964
  16. Calvin Coolidge
    When he vacated the White House, he left his clubs behind



#LiveUnderPar: PGA Tour Launches New Advertising Campaign

For the first time in more than 20 years, the PGA TOUR is launching a new advertising campaign designed to capture and celebrate the energy and spirit of today’s TOUR. Titled “Live Under Par,” the campaign plays on golf’s unique scoring language to portray the relentless pursuit of excellence by TOUR players, both competitively and in how they embrace the values of the game like sportsmanship and respect, as well as the PGA TOUR’s ingrained mission of giving back.

The thematic of “Live Under Par” immerses spectators into the contagious excitement of the sport, showcasing its vast 360-degree impact both inside and outside the ropes. As part of the current integrated marketing strategy of the TOUR, the campaign aims to reach beyond the core golf fan and attract new and diverse fan segments to the sport. Further, it will serve as a call to action for dedicated golf fans to share their passion for the game and invite newcomers to “join the PGA TOUR.”

“Live Under Par” will itself live across all social-media channels in addition to print and TV.

The direction of the new creative found its impetus in a comprehensive audience study that revealed, among other things, that while hard-core golf fans look to broadcasts for the technical content you’d expect (“tips” and “advice” for their own games, for instance), another demographic the PGA Tour dubs “Sports Socialites”—and make up nearly a quarter of golf’s viewers—are looking for far more social and interactive content, including “player access” and the chance to “connect to others.”

Perhaps most telling is that while older viewers enjoy the usual competitive drama of televised tournaments, younger viewers are looking for “social connections” and for the players to be “relatable.”

10 Bucket List Golf Holes

Whether they are on the acclaimed courses of the world or have the most incredible design ever imagined, these golf holes should find a place on every golfer's bucket list.

The 6th Hole at Pebble Beach

Pebble Beach has always been a premier golf spot, but the 6th hole captures the beauty of the course. A difficult hole, to say the least, it is still a joy to play because every stroke leads you further out onto the point and closer to the ocean. By the time you're on the dance floor, it feels like you're on an island surrounded by the deep blue water below.

The 12th Hole at Augusta National

Augusta National. The most prestigious golf course in the world with a legacy that continues to grow with each Masters and no hole is as legendary as the 12th hole on Amen Corner. Only a perfectly placed ball will land on the green. Otherwise, you're in the rough or the sand.

The 3rd Hole at Punta Mita

Punta Mita is one of the premier golf courses in Mexico and is definitely worth the visit. Unlike most island golf holes, this hole is not man made. It's a natural landform just off the shore but just as challenging as any island hole. With the rocks in the background, a long ball is a gone ball.

The 17th Hole at Sawgrass

One of the most difficult holes in golf is the 17th hole at Sawgrass. With swirling winds and a tree island added in as an extra challenge, few can land on the green. Even when on the green, the 17th is no cake walk. Uneven surfaces and holes placed on the edges of the green make the 17th a difficult two-putt. That being said the 17th is still an iconic hole and a joy to play, no matter how many strokes it takes.

The 4th Hole at Old Head

Playing on the side of a cliff is always a great rush, and the 4th hole at Old Head delivers. A golfer can have two approaches to this hole, play it safe and keep to the right of the fairway, or go for the low score and try and cut over the left edge of the cliff. The scenic views and the duality of the hole provides a truly exciting experience.

The 18th Hole at St. Andrews

No list about golf is ever complete without mentioning St. Andrews Old Course. From it's rich history to its impossible sand traps, every golfer dreams of one day playing it. However, if you could only golf one hole it would have to be the 18th. To tee off and cross the Swilken Bridge would make any golfer happy to be there despite the fact that his ball is probably in a trap somewhere down the fairway.

The 14th Hole at Cour D'Alena

Like most golf course the holes can be moved around the green to keep the course interesting. The 14th hole at Cour D'Alena takes that concept to a whole other level. The green itself can be moved. A par 3 at 100 yards can be quickly changed to 270 yards. To top that off a golf cart is swapped out and a boat brings you onto the green.

The 10th Hole at Belfry

Home of the Ryders Cup, The Belfry has had its share of amazing moments in golf history, but no other hole is as fun to play as the short par four on the 10th hole of Belfry. Protected by a river this hole has the opportunity for eagle or double-bogey.

The 14th at Cape Kidnappers

One of the unique golf courses in the world, Cape Kidnappers, is perched away in Hawkes Bay New Zealand. The 14th hole is the hole that you start to realize why the golf course is also called the “Pirates' Plank”. Each side of the green has a sheer drop down into the ocean. No one has ever fallen to their deaths here but many golf balls have been lost forever.

The 19th Hole at Legend Golf and Safari Resort

The 19th hole at Legend Golf and Safari Resort is the most extreme of all golf holes in existence. Golfers are brought by helicopter the edge of a mountain and tee off into the abyss. Few hit the Africa-shaped green below, and even fewer can even find their ball at all. The resort has offered the reward of a $1 million dollars to whoever can get the first hole in one. So far they haven't paid out a cent.

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White House Putting Green: A Brief History

Play It Where It Lies, Mr. President

The White House Putting Green lies a short walk outside the Oval Office door to the southeast. A putting green was first installed by President Dwight Eisenhower in 1954 with help from the United States Golf Association and private donations. Ike had difficulty keeping the squirrels (which Harry Truman had nearly tamed by hand-feeding them) from burying nuts in the green and joked that the Secret Service should shoot them. He resorted to having the groundkeeping staff trap and relocate them. Eisenhower was a very avid golfer and was sometimes criticized for it, but he and his doctor readily defended the habit as good for his health, which had suffered during his presidency.

Most modern presidents after Ike have been avid golfers, including his successor, John Kennedy, who, sensitive to the criticism aimed at Eisenhower for golfing on weekday afternoons, kept his habit a closely-guarded secret and even let Eisenhower's putting green grow out, although it was later renovated. Other avid golfers include Gerald Ford, George HW Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W Bush. Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, and Ronald Reagan were casual golfers.

Bill Clinton had the putting green moved to its current location and—according to Time in 1995—designed by golf course architect Robert Trent Jones Jr. The Clinton green is 1,500 sq. ft. of southshore creeping bentgrass.

 More Images

The putting green in 2006

The putting green in 2006 (Lafayette)

The putting green, circa 2005

The putting green, circa 2003

Bill Clinton on the putting green in 1997 (Associated Press – J Scott Applewhite)

The putting green in 1992 (HABS)

George HW Bush on the putting green, circa 1991

President Ford chipping onto the green in 1975 (Ford Library)

President Eisenhower chipping onto the green around 1957


How Golf Courses Snag a Coveted Spot on Golf Digest’s Top 100 List

Ever wonder how courses & clubs make the Golf Digest Top 100 list? Private Club Marketing breaks down the know how on How to Make Golf Digest Top 100 List.

Recently the country’s “oldest and most respected course ranking” marked its 51st year in circulation, having just celebrated its golden anniversary in 2016. The big news this year is that the scuffle for the much sought-after number one rank has switched from the famed Augusta National in Georgia, to the also exclusive Pine Valley Golf Club in Southern New Jersey. Pine Valley returns to the top from its erstwhile number two position, although it has occupied top billing before in 2009 and 2015.

With all this flip-flopping between the highest ranked courses, one thing is clear—any course in the top handful of Golf Digest’s Top 100 List boasts incredible landscape architecture, service, and artistry in its homage to the game of golf. When the choices are all top-notch, how does the panel of experts make its choice?

According to legendary golf journalist Ron Whitten, clubs often ask “How to Make Golf Digest Top 100 List”, well panelists play and rank courses according to a set of seven criteria: shot values, resistance to scoring, design variety, memorability, aesthetics, conditioning, and ambiance.

“To arrive at a course's final score,” he says, “we total its averages in the seven categories, doubling Shot Values. A course needs 45 evaluations over the past eight years to be eligible for America's 100 Greatest and the Second 100 Greatest.”

In response to past criticism of the list that so many of the courses on Golf Digest’s Top 100 are exclusive private clubs and not generally available to most of the publication’s readers, Whitten says Golf Digest answered back by introducing a specialized list of the Top 100 Public Courses in 2003. And what about the tension between the Top 100 and the Second Greatest 100 lists?

Whitten notes that placement on the number two list is “…not a consolation prize, but what it does is tell you who might contend next time around.”