Letter from Teddy Roosevelt to William Howard Taft"It would seem incredible that anyone would care one way or the other about your playing golf, but I have received hundreds of letters from the West protesting it. I myself play tennis, but that game is a little more familiar; besides, you never saw a photograph of me playing tennis, I am careful about that; photographs of me on horseback, yes; tennis, no. And golf is fatal."
H.L. Mencken"If I had my way, no man guilty of golf would be eligible to hold any office of trust or profit under these United States, and all female golfers would be shipped to the white-slave corrals of the Argentine."
Golf Digest's Peter Andrews, on Dwight Eisenhower (1993)"Rank does have its privileges, and Eisenhower was not one to bend a fragile back to check his ball. At Burning Tree, outside Washington, D.C., where Ike played every Wednesday afternoon he could, he was famous for identifying his ball by rolling it over with his club until the logo appeared. If his lie was improved as a result, nobody minded very much. One afternoon, Eisenhower was thus maneuvering his equipment when the ball somehow darted up against a rock. 'What happened?' Ike asked, looking sternly at his caddie. 'Mr. President,' the caddie replied, 'I'm afraid you've over-identified your ball.'"
Ben Bradlee on John F. Kennedy's game:"He could hit it a ton ... but often had no idea where it was going."
A Golf Digest assessment of Richard Nixon's swing (1970)"His setup position is too round-shouldered and stiff-legged, as though he were staring down a copy of his next State of the Union address."
Jack Nicklaus, on Gerald Ford (1985)"He doesn't know he can't hit the ball through the trunk of a tree."
Raconteur Herb Graffis, on Ronald Reagan (1981)"Most people think he's not a golfer. The hell he isn't. He once did a picture for Warner Brothers with Jack Redmond, the old trick-shot artist, and Jane Wyman, whom he later married. It was called 'Shoot Yourself Some Golf.'"
Lee Trevino, assessing Reagan's golf game after playing a match with Reagan (given a "generous" handicap) against Tom Watson and Secretary of State George Shultz (1989)"I tell you what, the president's a big, strong man, and he hit some good shots. I asked him how he stayed in such great shape, and he claims it's chopping all that wood on his ranch."TOM WATSON, ON REAGAN (1989)"He knocked a putt up fairly close on one hole, and I was ready to give it to him, but he said, 'No, that's not right.' He wouldn't take anything outside the leather."
Golf Digest's Dan Jenkins, on playing golf with George H.W. Bush, the 41st president (1990)"Why is President Bush the best thing that's happened to golf lately? I'll tell you why. One, he is the only president of the United States who has ever known my name. Two, he is the only president of the United States who has ever confessed to reading my stuff. Three, he is the only president of the United States who has ever invited me to play a round of golf with him."
George W. Bush, the 43rd president, on how he and his father play golf (1989)"We're not out there throwing grass up in the air, testing the winds. We like to bang away."
Teaching professional Jack Lumpkin, on 41's visit to the Golf Digest Learning Center (1992):"He's the sort of guy whose idea of practice is hitting six balls, seeing an improvement, then saying, 'Let's go play.'"
The late U.S. Rep. Dan Rostenkowski (1997)"In the old days in Washington, those of us who were dedicated would head out at 5:30, 6 o'clock in the morning -- in the dark; tee off at daybreak -- to get in 18 at Congressional and still make it back to the floor for the first roll call at noon. Oh, geez. Bob Michel, Tip O'Neill, Marty Russo, Danny Rostenkowski, we always kept our clubs in the trunk because the locker room wasn't even open. The ticks were out then, and those gnats. Oh, they drove you crazy. It was wonderful."
Bill Clinton (2000)"Golf is like life in a lot of ways ... All the biggest wounds are self-inflicted."
Results of a golfdigest .com survey asking, "If you could have played golf with any president, who would it be?" (2005)Bill Clinton, 30 percent; John Kennedy, 24 percent; George W. Bush (43), 14 percent; Ronald Reagan, 11 percent; Dwight Eisenhower, 9 percent; George H.W. Bush (41), 5 percent; Franklin Roosevelt, 5 percent; Gerald Ford, 2 percent.
Marvin Nicholson, on a 2008 round with Barack Obama, shortly after Obama had clinched the Democratic nomination:"I can honestly say it was the worst round of golf in my life. By the fourth hole, I was getting kind of down. And on the tee box on the fifth hole, he came up to me, put his arm around me and said, 'Hey, man, you just have to remember, we're not on the campaign trail, we're not at a town-hall meeting. We're on a golf course, and we're playing golf!'"