Friday, June 22, 2012

Taft's Golfing

Taft was quite the golfer and our first known golfing president!
The first president of the U.S. to openly admit playing golf, from the great state of Ohio, was President William Howard Taft, the 27th President of the United States.
We say the first to admit because it is suspected that President Theodore Roosevelt may have also played golf, but like other politicians of the day, decided to keep his golfing private, as at the time, it was considered a game for the rich only. Golf became an obsession with with President Taft who although played to a 20 handicap, was known to regularly shoot below 90.
President Taft, unlike Teddy Roosevelt, not only instructed his campaign people not to keep it private, but actually participated in golfing exhibitions. He played rounds with both good and bad, covered by the press, including American Golfer. He even partnered with Mr. Alan Lard in a match against American Golfer editor and former U.S. amateur champion Walter Travis teamed with Vice President James S. Sherman.

In another high profile match President Taft partnered with Mr. Walter Travis against Presidential aide Captain Archie Butt and Brigadier General Clarence R Edwards.

He was even in print on the subject!
The American Golfer
August 1911
President Taft says: "My advice to the middle-aged and older men, who have never played golf, is to take it up. It will be a rest and recreation from business cares, out of which they will get an immense amount of pleasure, and at the same time increase their physical vigor and capacity for work, as well as improve their health. This applies particularly to the government clerks, and I sincerely hope that the proposed public golf course will soon be opened, and that men and women of sedentary habits here will be enabled to get this splendid form of exercise."

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