It was, by our count, the 85th day of his 435-day-old presidency that Trump has spent time playing golf. By now it’s background noise to point out that Trump insisted repeatedly on the campaign trail that he would rarely, if ever, play golf once he became president. That he’s played on average once every 5.1 days seems to undercut that particular bit of rhetoric. (Since it is invariably asked how that rate of play compares with Barack Obama, who Trump regularly maligned for the frequency of his golf outings: Obama played once every 8.8 days while president. Meaning that over the course of 500 days, Obama would have played 57 times and Trump 98.)
As president, Trump has played only once at a course that wasn’t owned by the Trump Organization. That was in November, when Prime Minister Shinzo Abe took him out for a round in Japan. The 84 other rounds have been at Trump properties, which he’s visited on all or part of 138 days of his presidency. (That’s a rate of once every 3.1 days.)
With Trump’s sojourns to the links so well established, we got to wondering: What was Trump doing on the weekend days that he didn’t play golf? How many were there? Why didn’t he go out to Trump International or, if he was in Washington, the Trump course in Sterling, Va.? What could have kept him away?
The top-line numbers are these:
- There have been 124 weekend days in Trump’s presidency.
- He has played golf on at least 64 of those, or just over half.
- There is one day on which he may have played golf; more on that below.
So what of those 60 days when he didn’t play? They break down like this:
- On 13 days, he was in Washington but it was too cold to play. (We define “too cold” as being below 50 degrees. He played in Sterling earlier this month when it was 50 degrees.) Four of those days were the first four weekend days of his presidency.
- On nine days, it was raining, which probably prompted him to decide against playing.
- On four days, he went to the golf course but didn’t play, because there was a tournament going on or because he had meetings.
- On 10 days, he was at Camp David having meetings or, on one weekend, relaxing. There’s no golf course at Camp David.
- On 14 days, he was overseas or had political obligations that prevented his playing. That includes when he decided against playing on the weekend after the Parkland, Fla., mass shooting (even though he was at Mar-a-Lago).
- On one day — last April 16 — it was Easter.
That leaves nine other days. On one, May 7, 2017, Trump was at his private club in Bedminster, N.J., where it’s harder to know whether he’s playing or not. (At Mar-a-Lago and from the White House, he has to travel out of the compound, allowing the media to know what he’s doing.)
On eight of those days, highlighted below, the weather was good enough to play golf and Trump’s calendar was free but — he didn’t play.
On those days, he tweeted a combined 56 times.