During the Bush administration, if you were watching MSNBC or CNN, you were bombarded with stories about an irresponsible president who spent most of his time golfing. In reality, our previous commander in chief suspended his golf outings in 2003, claiming that golf during wartime was unseemly. Recently, CBS radio made waves by reporting that the sitting president has hit the links 32 times during his first year in office, while George Bush managed just 24 rounds in his entire eight-year tenure. “I don’t want some mom whose son may have recently died to see the commander in chief playing golf,” Bush once told Politico.com, “I feel I owe it to the families to be as—to be in solidarity as best as I can with them. And I think playing golf during a war just sends the wrong signal.”
Fortunately, Barack Obama has no such qualms about the hurt feelings of grieving mothers.
While many on the right are calling Obama’s near-weekly golf outings gratuitous, in reality it’s the most tangible thing he’s done to stimulate our nation’s battered economy. In his never-ending struggle to increase the impossible-to-prove number of jobs he’s “created or saved,” golf may be the president’s greatest ally.
According to the Golf Channel, the average municipal golf course employs thirteen full time employees and generates almost a million dollars annually. Private courses like the Mink Meadows Golf Club, where Obama played during his Martha’s Vineyard vacation, often boast a larger staff and greater revenues. Greens fees at public courses run about $36 per person, cart included, while private rates generally start around a hundred. Since no one likes to golf alone, we can reasonable multiply these fees fourfold.
Speaking of carts, a good two-seater can run anywhere from $5,000 to $8,000. A foursome would require two such carts, and the companies that manufacture them employ hundreds, if not thousands of people.
Equipment for the greatest game can be astronomically expensive. However, since the president wouldn’t want to look like he’s in the midst of some golf-addicted spend-a-thon, it’s best to err on the side of caution when putting a price tag on his clubs. If Obama is being financially conscientious, his putter, drivers, and irons (he’s been photographed with a set of Titleist DCIs) probably cost somewhere in the neighborhood of seven or eight hundred dollars. This figure does not include the bag, balls, glove, club covers, and clothing that complete the presidential golfing ensemble. These items are likely produced by separate companies, in separate factories, each of which would easily employ hundreds of people. Since courses require that each golfer have his own clubs, each member of Obama’s party would need a complete set.
Of course, a love of the game is worthless if you can’t get to the course. Obama has played in some spectacular locations, from the aforementioned Martha’s Vineyard to the gorgeous Kaneohe Klipper course in Hawaii. Many of these outings have required the use of Air Force One and all of them necessitate some form of presidential motorcade. The cost of the vehicles and fuel is nigh on incalculable, while employees of the companies involved in their construction, maintenance, and operation number in the hundreds of thousands.
When defending his billion-dollar economic stimulus program, President Obama always begins with the notion that any job touched by federal funds, no matter how tangentially, was “created or saved.” If we apply that same precept to his golf game, the benefits of his favorite pastime become clear.
Obama’s “laser-like focus” on the livelihoods of America’s greens keepers has “created or saved” hundreds of thousands of jobs, throughout multiple industries, while pumping millions of dollars into our economy. If this all sounds ridiculous, remember, the administration claims that it has “created or saved” over a million U.S. jobs during Obama’s freshman year – all while jobless rates continue to climb. Their math is just a fuzzy, their assertion just as impossible to prove or disprove, yet Americans are supposed to accept their numbers as the almighty truth.
Hindsight is 20/20, but as we’ve come to find out, George Bush’s decision to quit the game was perhaps the most fiscally irresponsible of his entire Presidency. The problem with the previous administration wasn’t that the Commander in Chief spent too much time on the links; it was that he played too little. Had Bush followed Obama’s path and wisely disregarded the anguish of distraught parents – he would almost certainly have golfed more. One can only assume that, using Obama’s math, doing so would have “created or saved” enough jobs to avoid the current economic crisis.
Lesson learned. Golf on, Mr. Obama. A grateful nation offers its gratitude.
Robert Laurie writes a daily political commentary blog, The Robalution. Robert holds a degree in English from Wayne State University, and has worked in advertising as a graphic designer and copy writer.