Who plays more golf: Donald Trump or Barack Obama?
This post was updated May 18, 2018.
For years, President Donald Trump criticized his predecessor Barack Obama for playing golf while on the job.
"Can you believe that, with all of the problems and difficulties facing the U.S., President Obama spent the day playing golf," he tweeted Oct. 13, 2014.
But since taking office, Trump has been a regular visitor at his own golf clubs in Florida and Virginia. In his first year as president, Trump outpaced Obama in the amount of time he spent on the green, our Trump Golf Tracker shows.
We decided to track Trump’s golf course visits because he so routinely criticized his predecessor for the practice.
The numbers suggest something of a flip-flop for Trump: As of May 18, 2018, the score of confirmed golf outings is Trump 56, Obama 37.
Our tally of Trump’s time on the green is likely an undercount. Here’s why.
The White House has on several occasions declined to confirm he played golf while spending the day at his golf club. So in some cases, we have to rely on reporters’ observations and those of private citizens who spotted Trump on the course and posted pictures on social media.
For example, on May 12, Trump was spotted golfing at Trump National Golf Club in Potomac Falls, Va., by another person also playing golf.
"Just a run of the mill day playing golf with the President @ Trump National in DC. @realDonaldTrump," it said.
The New York Times and NBC News are tracking Trump’s visits to his properties instead of the number of times he’s played golf. According to both groups’ count, Trump has visited his four golf courses more than 100 times since he took office. Whether Trump actually played a round golf on every single visit is hard to determine, but the tally indicates Trump has probably played golf more than we know.
The Trump administration has confirmed outings at Trump’s golf club in West Palm Beach, Fla. And on Thanksgiving Day, Trump tweeted that he was playing a round with golf with Tiger Woods and the top-ranked golfer in the world, Dustin Johnson.
The White House also confirmed Trump went golfing with Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., at Trump International Golf Club on Dec. 10.
Obama’s first game as president was April 26, 2009. He went on to play 333 times total over his eight years, according to CBS White House correspondent Mark Knoller, who tracked Obama’s games.
During the campaign, Trump said he would play golf smarter than Obama, using the game to bolster achievements. Asked how golf enabled success in 2017, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders pointed to his relationships with senators that "helped pushed forward the president’s agenda, specifically when it comes to helping get the tax reform and tax cuts passed."