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The 19th Hole

Presidential hackers

By Gene Bleile | May 30, 2013

Someone once said, “Presidents and golf go together like Congress and kickbacks.”

I certainly don’t believe that for a minute (ha, ha) but I do remember in recent history that many presidents, including our current commander-in-chief, often played the game of golf.

With that idea in mind I offer to you a quiz on presidential golfers, which may show why they were better at leading the country than hitting a golf ball. Give yourself 10 points for each correct answer. Answers are at the end of this column.

President No. 1 - History shows that this president (actually ex-president) was the first to try his hand at golf. After he left office he toured the world and visited his ancestral home of Scotland, where he stepped up to the first tee, gripped his club and his swing was six inches over top of the ball. After several swings, he handed his caddie the club and never tried to play the game again.  (Hint: He was a war hero who smoked cigars, liked to drink and rode a horse in battle.)

President No. 2 - This president was the first commander-in-chief to actually play golf while living in the White House. In 1897, his vice-president, Garret Hobart, an avid golfer, talked him into playing 18 holes. His unofficial score was over 200. (Hint: He was assassinated in office in 1901.)

President No. 3 - This president played golf every chance he could and was criticized for being on the links more than being in the White House. During his tenure the popularity of golf soared in the United States. His handicap was around 35. (Hint: It was not George W. Bush; this President weighed more than 350 pounds.)

President No. 4 - This President was ordered to play golf by his doctor as a way to relieve stress. He played six days a week and even had golf balls painted black to play in the snow. Reports say  his wife Edith played golf with him and often beat him. (Hint: The cruise ship Lusitania is part of this President’s legacy.)

President No.  5 - This presidential golfer hosted all-night poker games in the White House, gambled on the links, drank scotch and soda every fourth hole (during prohibition) and had a trophy named after him by the USGA for advancing the popularity of the game. (Hint: He signed the Congressional Resolution to end World War I while playing a round of golf.)

President No. 6 - This president has the distinction of being called the worst golfer who ever lived. Not only were his scores awful, but he never wore the proper golfing attire of the day and never used etiquette on the course. He presided over the opening of the Congressional Country Club, but never returned to play a round. (Hint: The only positive thing he did for golf was to proclaim the First Father’s Day, which has become one of the most popular golfing holidays.)

President No. 7 - This president is known as the most golfing commander-in-chief in U.S. history. During his two terms in office he played an estimated 800 rounds of golf and also had a putting green installed on the White House grounds. (Hint: He was war hero.)

President No. 8 - This president was so bad at the game of golf he would take mulligans on the tee, on the fairway and on the green. His true score often approached 300, but his official score was much better. (Hint: He held up his pet beagle by his ears.)

President No. 9 - This president scored a hole in one at the Bel-Air Country Club in 1961, long before he was elected to office. After leaving office at the age of 61, he claimed to have broken 80, fulfilling a lifelong dream.  Historians disagree. (Hint: Just like on a golf course, the word 'water' was a hazard to him.)

President No. 10 - This president played less than 20 rounds of golf in his eight year tenure. One day, while playing at Augusta National Golf Course, a gunman took two White House aides hostage in the pro shop, but no one was harmed. (Hint: He rode horses on his ranch and wore a cowboy hat.)

Answers: 1. Grant 2. McKinley 3. Taft 4. Wilson 5. Harding 6. Coolidge 7. Eisenhower 8. Johnson 9. Nixon 10. Reagan

Scoring: If you got 100 points, you need to stop watching The History Channel and go play more golf!

For more Delmarva golf course images and fine art photos go to genebleilephotography.com

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