Golf and the presidency have long been intertwined. Many of our strongest occupants of the Oval Office have carried a passion for playing and promoting the game, both during their time in the White House and beyond it.
For some, it’s the competition, while for others it’s an escape from the unimaginable pressures of leading the free world. Whatever the motivation, the sport has long been as significant to presidents as they have been to the game itself.
Some are judged by their proficiency at the sport, while others for their larger contributions to it. The really special ones have made a memorable imprint on both.
Among those is President John F. Kennedy, who by most accounts is the best golfer to have ever lived in the White House. On Nov. 22, the country will remember and mourn the 50th anniversary of Kennedy’s assassination. It will also celebrate the man who led us to the moon, successfully navigated the Cuban Missile Crisis, fought for civil rights and other social change, and uplifted a nation during difficult times.
It’s an appropriate time to remember just how good a golfer the 35th president was, and just how much he respected and enjoyed the game. It’s also an opportunity to acknowledge the short list of presidents who, to one extent or another, have left an indelible mark on the game.
In honor of Kennedy, a leader taken far too soon, here are the top presidential golfers who have had significant impacts on the sport.