The 45th President

Eight Reasons Why President Trump Shouldn't Apologize For Playing Golf

Donald Trump's affinity for golf was a known entity before he pursued the presidency. Where it gets complicated is that Trump, who has played six times since his inauguration, was among the most vocal critics of President Obama's frequent rounds when his predecessor was in office. So who's right? Actually, when it comes to playing golf, both are right. There are plenty of reasons why a Commander-in-Chief is wise to be spending time on the golf course, from physical and emotional wellness, to the game's role in fostering productive exchanges between leaders and adversaries. Here are eight factors that explain why President Trump shouldn't apologize for playing golf.


Golf is an underrated source of physical fitness

Golf is an underrated source of physical fitness
Given the strains of the job, a workout routine is important for presidents. One issue: like 50 percent of Americans, Trump doesn't exercise. At 70 years old, it's especially vital the 45th POTUS gets some type of physical activity, making golf the perfect conduit to fill this need. As Golf Digest's Ron Kaspriske noted in 2014, walking during a four-hour round can burn 1,500 calories. Moreover, according to Scotland's University of Edinburgh, research shows that the sport can improve your cardiovascular, respiratory and metabolic health, adding five years to your lifespan. "We know that the moderate physical activity that golf provides increased life expectancy," said Dr. Andrew Murray, head of Edinburgh's Golf & Health Project. "It can help prevent and treat more than 40 major chronic diseases such as heart attacks, stroke, diabetes, breast and colon cancer."

Golf can connect world leaders in an informal setting

Golf can connect world leaders in an informal setting
President Eisenhower saw golf as a way to foster goodwill and understanding among an international community. “Not only do I have a great love for the game of golf -- no matter how badly I play it," said Ike, "but I have also the belief that through every kind of meeting, through every kind of activity to which we can bring together more often and more intimately peoples of our several countries, by that measure we will do something to solve the difficulties and the tensions that this poor old world seems nowadays to so much endure.” It could also be used in domestic affairs as well, like when President Obama and Speaker of the House John Boehner -- in the midst of harsh political matchup -- set aside their party affiliations to take to the golf course to find common ground. When he was interviewed by David Feherty last summer, Trump said that while he wouldn't play much golf as president, he would use the sport as a way to connect with world leaders and Congress. This ideology has already been practiced by Trump, who played with Japan Prime Minister Shinzō Abe at Mar-a-Lago.

Presidents need an outlet

Presidents need an outlet
These guys aren't machines. Some R&R is essential for efficient output from a president. "Presidents need to rest their minds, not just their bodies," Clinton told Golf Digest in 2012. "They need the exercise, the fresh air. And they need to do something that, literally, takes them away from what they're doing."

Golf is important for improved sleep

Trump has said on multiple occasions he gets just three-to-four hours of sleep per night. At his age, with the toils of the nation weighing on his shoulders, he needs all the shuteye he can get. Believe it or not, there’s a case to be made that playing more golf would help in this regard. The University of Pennsylvania studied the sleep habits of almost half a million adults, asking how long they slept and what exercise they did. Golf, along with yoga and running, proved the best forms of exercise for encouraging good quality sleep.

Golf teaches humility

Humility is a bit of a paradox when it comes to the presidency. Clearly, one needs a healthy ego to believe they can be the leader of the free world. Conversely, modesty is key to building and improving bipartisan relationships across the globe, as well as meeting others halfway. Golf can deliver this much-needed slice of humble pie. After all, as P.G. Wodehouse wrote, "Golf acts as a corrective against sinful pride. I attribute the insane arrogance of the later Roman Emperors almost entirely to the fact that, never having played golf, they never knew that strange chastening humility which is engendered by a topped chip shot."

Golf provides stress relief

No matter the person in charge, the presidency is a polarizing, isolating role. Golf gives Trump the respite to clear his mind. An article from the European Institute of Golf Course Architects asserts golf's combination of fresh air, walking, social life and competition "releases endorphins, the natural mood-enhancing chemicals in your brain, which make you happy and relaxed."

Golf makes the President relatable

Some past presidents -- most notably, John F. Kennedy -- tried to distance or hide their affinity for golf, afraid the sport's elitist tones would rub the public the wrong way. However, that is an antiquated notion; 90 percent of golfers play at a public facility, showing it truly is a sport of the people. As such, many modern presidents have been ambassadors for golf. President Eisenhower's affair with the game helped popularize golf in post-war America. Gerald Ford was the USGA's first "Associates" member, helping promote a program that has almost four million participants. George H.W. Bush, whose grandfather and father were USGA presidents, was famous for his fast play, and played an integral role after his presidency in the First Tee program and USGA Museum and Archives council. Bill Clinton was an avid player during his tenure, and his foundation teamed up with the PGA Tour's former Bob Hope Classic (now known as the CareerBuilder Challenge) for charity. Sports often help bridge the White House to average Americans, and perhaps no sport has helped presidents achieve that goal more than golf.

Golf promotes happiness

Illustrated in our Happiness Issue, there's a correlation between high performance and enjoyment. "When the brain is negative, you split its resources between processing the action at hand and processing the negative thoughts," said Shawn Achor, Harvard researcher and author of The Happiness Advantage. "When you're positive, your brain can use all of its power to focus on learning and looking for opportunities." No matter who you voted for in the election, you want to see the President of the United States do the best they can. To achieve that, occasional diversions need to be had. For Trump, that pastime is golf.