Wednesday, December 29
President Obama’s Dangerous Golf Obsession
Editor’s note: President Obama is spending the holidays in Hawaii, where he is shooting hoops, snorkeling, hanging with the family and chasing the little white ball. The following piece from the ARMCHAIR GOLF archives was published almost exactly a year ago when a New Republic senior editor criticized the president’s golf habit. Clearly, the president has not taken her advice.
MICHELLE COTTLE’S COMMENTARY about President Obama’s “dangerous obsession with golf” has alerted me that I may be a hopeless golf addict who exhibits many undesirable attributes. And you might be in the same foursome with me, my friend.
Cottle is a senior editor for The New Republic. She has a problem—several, really—with 44’s affection for the small dimpled ball.
“Why would a leader vowing to shake up Washington—to alter the very nature of politics—sell his soul to a leisure activity that screams stodgy, hyperconventional Old Guard?” she asks.
By carefully reading her article, I learned several things about my favorite pastime and what it might say about you, me and the president of these United States. For instance, she outlines telltale signs of a “creeping golf addiction,” such as:
• Playing for more than a decade
• Playing for cash
• Fretting about form
• Goading others to leave work early for a round of golf
• Constantly looking to squeeze in a few holes
Where might it all lead? To dark, risky places, according to Cottle.
“In the popular imagination, golf is the stuff of corporate deal-cutting, congressional junkets, and country club exclusivity,” she writes.
(Clearly, my golf addiction has been short-changing me.)
“And, unless a president is very careful, a golf habit can easily be spun as evidence of unseemly character traits ranging from laziness to callousness to out-of-touch elitism.”
(I definitely think I have the laziness down. But my out-of-touch elitism needs work.)
For the president to revamp his image in the new year, Cottle says “he could start by ditching golf.” If she knew I liked golf as much as the president, she might say the same thing to me.
They say the first step in recovery is admitting you have a problem. I have a problem. I miss too many four-footers. Now excuse me while I groove my putting stroke in the den.
−The Armchair Golfer
(Image: Roberto De Vido/Flickr)