Golfing too much? How is that possible?

November 15, 2013

Maybe I should think about running for president of the United States.

Based on the current incumbent, I would be able to play more golf than my current work schedule permits.

According to an article in the Nov. 11 Washington Times, the president played his official 39th round of golf for 2013 Nov. 9. Playing in Florida with former NBA standout Alonzo Mourning and two other friends, this was also the president’s 150th round during his less than five years in office.

In 2009, he played only 27 times. The president added three additional rounds to that total in 2010, including 18 holes with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

Perhaps they discussed website coding and other fun topics.

During President Obama’s third year, he managed to find the time to play 39 times, often at the nearby Andrews Air Force Base and Fort Belvoir courses.

Running for re-election cut into his favorite sport in 2012. The Times article notes that the president played only 19 rounds that year, including seven rounds after Election Day.

Some folks might quibble about the amount of time President Obama spends out on the golf course. After all, some politically attuned types objected to those occasions when President George W. Bush played the game during his first term of office.

On the other hand, President Bush stopped playing golf in August 2003, out of respect to servicemen and their families in the height of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts.

And to his credit, President Bush openly suggested that he saw nothing wrong with President Obama’s determination to keep playing. In an interview with The Golf Channel in September, Bush said, “I think he ought to play golf. Because I know what it's like to be in the bubble. I know the pressures of the job, and to be able to get outside and play golf with some of your pals is important for the president. It does give you an outlet."

I agree with the president, of course - both of them.

However, my golf rounds during 2013 have not yet caught up to President Obama’s current pace. Nonetheless, we both meet the official definition of an avid golfer, according to the golf industry. The PGA, the USGA, the LPGA, and the National Golf Foundation all agree that an avid golfer plays 25 rounds or more per year.

I posted scores from 27 rounds from April through October, the official handicap season here in the Cape Region, with one-third of them nine-hole affairs. I figure I played about seven more rounds last winter, so the combination certainly puts me in the avid category.

Not quite presidential, but close.

A bit clumsy, are we?

A recent Ruling of the Day at the United States Golf Association website ( highlights one of the differences between match play and stroke play, especially for the occasionally clumsy.

Two golfers hit their golf balls onto the same green. The first one marks his ball’s position, and lifts his ball off the turf. He accidentally drops it back onto the green, where it hits and moves his playing companion’s ball, sitting quietly, at rest, and in play.

What to do?

In match play, the lifted and then-dropped golf ball is considered “equipment” under the Rules of Golf. Moving the other golfer’s ball under these circumstances is a no-no in match conditions, earning the hapless player a penalty stroke for the inadvertent drop. The second player must return his ball to the original spot, however.

Under stroke play circumstances, however, the rules are far more forgiving. There is no penalty, but the second player must again put his ball back where it was before the drop.

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