America: Quit Electing Golfers to the Presidency Already

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(Photo credit should read Andy Buchanan/AFP/GettyImages)

It’s time for Americans to admit that we have an addiction to golfers-in-chief. Sixteen of the last 19 Presidents have been golfers, and we need to take a hard look at how that’s affecting our executive branch. We’ve all seen the hot water that our current president keeps dunking himself into as a result of his love of the sport. Most recently, he has taken to tweeting slams of a major American city’s mayor and his own secretary of state while on a weekend golf vacation that included stopping by a golf tournament and holding a golf trophy.

I have a modest proposal: Let’s stop electing golfers. I don’t mean to imply that Truman, Hoover, and Carter were our best presidents because they kept off the greens, but I think our executives could perform better if they avoided this hobby. Let me explain.

First, golf takes too long. Playing 18 holes takes an average of four hours, and that’s a long damn time. It’s a sixth of a day, or half of a season of Stranger Things. Time is a president’s rarest resource, and it could probably be better spent than knocking a ball around for two Lord-of-the-Rings-movies-worth of time. Other than that one story about LBJ locking up the votes for the 1964 Civil Rights Act on a golf course, I’m not convinced golf is facilitating meaningful interactions beyond general networking, either. And can’t that relationship building happen elsewhere, like while working on policy together? Everybody loves working on policy together.

Golf is also expensive. Clubs cost a couple hundred dollars, a round at a course is $50-ish, and the sport involves a mountain of incidental items from balls, to tees, to shoes, to clothes. This means that the game excludes a vast swath of Americans who are unable to afford to play. Our recent habit of electing golfer-presidents only reinforces that we’re drawing our leaders from a very narrow demographic.

And golf is terrible for the environment. Courses take up a massive amount of real estate and water. Audubon International estimates that the average course uses 312,000 gallons of water a day, which is about the same daily usage as 780 families of four. And the energy required to terraform diverse climates to resemble rainy Scotland is staggering. Why should a state like California be using so much water to maintain green courses in literal deserts? The degradation of our planet is one of the biggest crises governments face today. Perhaps we should elect someone with less environmentally detrimental hobbies.

I’m not saying that golf is a bad sport, per se. And presidents should have hobbies. They need to have time that is their own so they don’t lose themselves completely in a grueling and difficult job, or launch our entire arsenal of nuclear weapons at once in a fit of overwork-induced pique. We need residents of the Oval Office to be able to destress and unwind. But in 2020, when we have a chance to vote again for a president, maybe let’s not put another links-lover in the White House.