Politics & GolfAugust 4, 2016

Donald Trump challenges Obama to a round of golf (but doesn't want to be seen with a club in his hand)

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President Obama’s golf passion has been a divisive topic throughout his two terms in office. A frequent target for his critics on the right, it was also recently the subject of an in-depth feature by the website The Undefeated, which discussed how an aging Obama has gravitated toward golf and away from his first love of basketball.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

Donald Trump, meanwhile, finds himself walking a razor-thin line. The Republican nominee is a low single-digit handicap, and would, by many accounts, be the best golfing president ever if he gained the White House. Compounding matters is that many of Trump's most high-profile properties are golf courses, including Trump Turnberry in Scotland, which re-opened recently to rave reviews.

Related: How Republicans and Democrats differ on the golf course

The tricky part is that Trump is leery of the optics that golf presents during a campaign, which explains why when he recently visited Turnberry, he declined to hit the ceremonial first shot.

“I do not want a picture of me holding a golf club -- not that there’s anything wrong with that, but I don’t want that picture,” Trump said at a rally on Wednesday in Daytona Beach, Fla. “So they say, ‘Mr. Trump, would you like to hit the first ball?’ No! Keep the club away from me. Keep it away. And I like to play golf. I’m a good golfer, believe it or not.”

In fact, Trump is so confident in his golf that he suggested the best way for him to secure the White House is to challenge President Obama to a round of golf. The President is believed to have improved considerably since taking office as a 17 handicap, but it's doubtful he's reached Trump's level.

“I should play Obama for the presidency,” Trump said. “I’ll do it. Then I’d be assured of winning, OK?”