the introduction to their book, 'Presidential Lies', Shepherd Campbell
and Peter Landau, (MacMillan, 1996 Benay Enterprises), suggest why golf is the
game of presidents. As they offer in the book, "is it because of the
British saying, 'golf is a game of busy men?', or perhaps the popular wise
crack, 'my worst day on the golf course beats my best day in office?'!
They go on, that 'There is one near-constant at work in the White House: Golf
was more often than not the incumbent's primary form of recreation and
Of the 16 presidents beginning with the first golfing president -William Howard
Taft, 'at the turn of the century, thirteen of those next sixteen presidents
played golf with some degree of seriousness.' The three who did not play
are Herbert Hoover, Harry Truman, and Jimmy Carter. Those presidents who
did play golf were Taft, Woodrow Wilson, Warren G. Harding, Calvin Coolidge,
Franklin D. Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson,
Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George Bush Sr., and now Jr. and Bill
Dick Kelley was the father-in-law and often playing partner of former President
Bill Clinton. I got to meet Dick, who was playing in a pro am at a Buy.com
event in Hot Springs Arkansas -former President Bill Clintons home town.
The following day Dick played golf at the Hot Springs Country Club with the ex
pres who was in town for a fund raiser. CaddyByes interviewed Dick, and he
related this 'Caddy Story' about playing one unique and special round of golf
with President Clinton while he was still in the White House!
CaddyBytes.com - How about your play with
President Clinton? Golf in the White House, has almost as long and storied
a history as the game itself!
Dick Kelley -He played
once in a while and played golf as a form of relaxation for him. I'm Bill
Clintons stepfather I was married to his mother Virginia. When I married
his mother, Bill was Attorney General of Arkansas. He loved to play golf
and didn't' get to play much early on, but played more in the White House, when
he had the opportunity. "He really enjoys the game. He'll maybe
make fun of your stroke, but then he'll try to teach you what's right.
one of your favorite golfing stories about President Clinton?
Dick Kelley - I
checked into the White House one Thursday afternoon, and he says to me,
"Dick, guess who we're gonna play golf with?!" I said,
"I have no idea?" He says, "Corey Pavin!" I
said, "Oh, you're kidding me!?" "No, I'm not kidding you!?
"Then I said, 'How are we going to do that, he's playing in the Kemper this
week, (PGA event in Washington, D.C. that week)?!"
"Well, he's got his family with him, and they're all going to come to the
White House and we're going to entertain them, and he tees off at 8:00 in the
morning, so we're going to play with him in the afternoon."
"So that afternoon, we go to the Army Country Club out there, and on the
first tee, the President, is telling Corey, "Corey you probably don't want
to use a driver here, and Corey listens and hits the shot, that he
advises." So on every hole there on he's telling Corey, now this is
what you've got to do here...." This goes on all the way around for
nine holes with Corey listening to the presidential advice and making the plays
accordingly. "Well, we get to the 10th tee at the Army Country Club,
and it's about 225 yds. straight out and then the second shot doglegs right 180
yds. to the green.
And there's' a row of tall pine trees down the right side blocking any tee shot
cutting the corner off to the green. "Corey looks down the fairway
after asking for the presidents advice, and then says, "Well, just
where is the green?" And, Bill tells him -it's way up behind those
tall pine trees and stuff. "you need to shoot down here, (pointing
straightaway)." Well, Corey didn't say anything, got up and
instead of hitting it down here he hit it up over the trees, (motioning), and
knocked it just short of the front of the green!" And then we all
laughed and carried on and told him what a great shot he'd hit!"
"Here' s a guy who was one of the top players in golf -we enjoyed it so
much, and then come Sunday, Corey just missed winning the tournament at Kemper
losing in a playoff on the first extra hole. But thereafter went on
to win the U.S. Open. So after he won the Open the next week, we're
telling everyone, "see we taught him some things!"
Corey came over to the White House with his family
to visit and play golf after making the cut after Fridays morning round of golf
at the Kemper Open in Bethesda there in 1995. After losing in a playoff
two days after playing that round of golf with President Bill Clinton and Dick
Kelley, he did indeed win the U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills, on Long Island the
next week, with a spectacular second shot on the 18th hole!
-The Caddybytes Pro Shop -it is a
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The Virtual Golf Tours are great visual golf tours of some famous courses...
Bethpage Black - U.S. Open 2002
Royal County Down - Senior British Open 2002
Cypress Point Golf Club - formerly part of the three courses played during the Bing Crosby/Pebble Beach Pro-Am
Pebble Beach - great views of the
8th and 9th holes!
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