Obama trades White House for clubhouse this weekend
February 16th, 2013
12:19 PM ET
2 years ago

Obama trades White House for clubhouse this weekend

Palm City, Florida (CNN) - President Barack Obama won't be hanging by the beach during his Florida vacation this weekend – unless he ends up stuck in a sand trap.

While his wife and daughters are in Colorado skiing, the president will hit the course at the Floridian golf club, an expansive resort in Palm City, Florida.

Obama worked on his swing with legendary golf teacher Butch Harmon, who coached Tiger Woods and “rode along with the president for a few holes in the afternoon,” according to White House spokesman Josh Earnest.

"I've played golf with Ike, Nixon, Ford and President Bush 41," Harmon told the publication Golf Digest. "I know the president is a real keen golfer. I'm looking forward to it. It should be fun," Harmon told Golf Digest.

"If I had the opportunity to give the president some help, I would advise him to make a better turn on his backswing, both with his hips and his shoulders," Harmon said in a separate Golf Digest interview.

Earnest told reporters, "The president is looking forward to spending President's Day weekend with some friends in Florida, and I'm sure they'll take advantage of the opportunity to play some golf."

Temperatures were in the 70s and skies were sunny Saturday morning. Obama arrived late Friday night to rain after wrapping up his State of the Union tour in his hometown of Chicago.

The remote golf club is obscured from roadside view by gates, trees and brush. It sits alongside the St. Lucie River.

Several members of the administration are traveling with the president, but the White House made it clear that this is a vacation weekend.

"The president of the United States is the president of the United States 24 hours a day, and will fulfill his responsibilities as president even while he's getting some well-deserved downtime with some friends this weekend. I don't think the American people will begrudge him that," Earnest said.

His golfing five-some included one member of the administration – U.S Trade Representative Ron Kirk. Jim Crane, a Democratic donor who owns the resort and Houston Astros, played as well, as did three friends of the president: Dr. Eric Whitaker, Tony Chase and Milton Carroll.

Obama will golf again with Crane on Sunday, according to the Major League Baseball website, which reported the president called him earlier this week.

“I got a call on the cell phone last week and (Obama) said, 'Hey, thanks for letting us come in,'" Crane said, according to MLB.com. "It's going to be a fun weekend. I hope he gets some rest and relaxes. It's kind of a quiet place, so hopefully he'll be able to do that."


Filed under: Florida • President Obama
soundoff (65 Responses)
  1. Scott

    It would. Be nice to actually. Have a average Joe like us have a real. Sit. Down. With this. Show. Him our. Actual pain this makes me sick I work. Every weekend and still can't. Afford. A golf. Ball must be nice

    February 16, 2013 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  2. empresstrudy

    Did he shoot 18 holes in one like his hero Kim Jong Il?

    February 16, 2013 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  3. Alaskan1st

    The trolls don't realize that Bush took WAY more vacations than any other Pres and personal expenses are paid out of pocket anyway.

    February 16, 2013 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  4. Tam

    Wow, the guy takes a break on the weekend and it's terrible? OK, folks, who has the comparison list of vacations and breaks taken by the last few Presidents? CNN, please post. Of course, even with the last Bush in the White House "working" - his supposed brain was still on vacation. Prove it was not so!

    February 16, 2013 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  5. Dean

    Obama taking golf lesson and playing golf in Florida while Michelle and the girls are skiing in Colorado. Isn't that special. The first family are trying to put people to work in the travel industry.

    February 16, 2013 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  6. Common Sense Blogger

    Dear Taxpayer,

    Thanks for the golf lessons.

    -Barack

    February 16, 2013 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  7. Dean

    Jane

    Aaand, cue the Republican sheep on this site (whose heroes are on yet another 10 day 'recess' with two weeks till Boehner's Sequestration)
    Jane wakeup. "While both parties are culpable for sequestration because the Budget Control Act passed Congress, the president proposed it originally and ultimately owns its outcome".

    February 16, 2013 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  8. Flatlander

    Some people just can't see what is happening to our country. Playboy goes of to lie some more and spend our money like we are all loaded. Which reminds me. Are the first lady and the girls paying their way to Colorado, or are we paying for that also.?

    February 16, 2013 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  9. Guest

    no surpise here. He is allergic to work.

    February 16, 2013 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  10. Hannah01

    And where is that good for nothing group in Congress? Ten day recess. And that's okay?

    February 16, 2013 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  11. Alaskan1st

    Personal expenses are paid by the President himself. Security is paid by the taxpayer. Due to hatred , this president needs more than most. Not his fault.

    February 16, 2013 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  12. Amanda

    Well deserved vacation time, Mr. President. I would also like to see you visit the citizens of Mississippi and Georgia who were recently hit by tornadoes, while you are in the neighborhood. I know that you feel the need to get out of the bubble every once in a while, but we are days away from major cuts in defense and other entities, this time by you and Congress would be better suited to work out a compromise plan. ALWAYS KEEP THE MAIN THING, THE MAIN THING!!!

    February 16, 2013 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  13. Glenn

    Way to go Mr. President. We're looking at some big cuts in the next couple of weeks and you just used Air Force 1 to take you to corruption/crime city USA to make a pitch and then another vacation with Air Force 1 to Florida. Thanks for helping us dig a bigger hole. Oh forgot–you'll go back to DC Sunday night and then blame the other party for not allowing you to spend more money until the end of the year. You're no different than the previous administrations–except you manage to get away with it. No body dares say anything else they would be called trolls, racists, ignorant, etc.

    February 16, 2013 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  14. Larry L

    @Flatlander

    Some people just can't see what is happening to our country. Playboy goes of to lie some more and spend our money like we are all loaded. Which reminds me. Are the first lady and the girls paying their way to Colorado, or are we paying for that also.?
    ============================================
    Bush vacationed far more. Did you complain? Bush started two wars with false data – 4500 died. Did you complain? Bush left us the recession and over 8 million jobs lost. Did you complain?

    February 16, 2013 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  15. BBadger

    ThinkAgain
    The truth is, these same trolls don't have the stones to admit that all of the GOP's economic, military and foreign policies are all PROVEN FAILURES and the Repubs are still doing everything they can to bring our country down.

    ---------

    Yeah, because Obama's policies of big government that chronically hemorrhages money is the bees knees. No, I see your point; that's really working out great for us. Republicans can go for the assist, but Obama is star of the show.

    February 16, 2013 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  16. Larry L

    @Dean

    Jane

    Aaand, cue the Republican sheep on this site (whose heroes are on yet another 10 day 'recess' with two weeks till Boehner's Sequestration)
    Jane wakeup. "While both parties are culpable for sequestration because the Budget Control Act passed Congress, the president proposed it originally and ultimately owns its outcome".
    ==========================================
    What were the other options? Tea Party Republicans wanted to default on our obligations! They did and still do want to destroy the federal government. They held us option previously resulting the lowering of our S&P rating. Wake up yourself!

    February 16, 2013 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  17. Larry L

    @Dale

    17 Trillion dollars in debt and our president spends 1,00s of dollars to play golf in Florida with millionaires. Where are the 99%ers protesting action?
    ==================================
    The President pays for his own golf. He is a millionaire. He takes far fewer vacations than Reagan or Bush (the all-time leader). Protestors can't accomplish what you actually want... he'd still be an African American after the protest. Get over it.

    February 16, 2013 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  18. mk1

    And I am sure these people who complain about President Obama complained just as much about President Bush who spent one third of his entire presidency on vacation. Yeah, that will be the day. As I remember, not a word was uttered from the right about that.

    February 16, 2013 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  19. mk1

    One more point, President Obama has not even spent 100 days yet on vacation, the former president had spent over 400 days on vacation by the end of his first term.

    February 16, 2013 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  20. GK

    He's been a second term president for just a few weeks, and he's already on vacation. Wow.

    February 16, 2013 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  21. hal

    I think the reason it seems like Obama is always going on vacation is due to where he is vacationing at the time. Bush always went back to his ranch in Texas. I think that is why people didn't get so upset by it.....I don't know....it's just my 2 cents!!

    February 16, 2013 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  22. Kaylee Smith

    Wow – another vacation? Didn't he just return from one in Hawaii. Oh wait a minute, he is the only president to take so many vacations each year. Nice job Obama and everyone that voted for the creep!

    February 16, 2013 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  23. Donna

    Air Force one costs $180,000 AN HOUR to operate. Hundreds of support personnel must accompany Obama, his two limosines must be flown down. And then there is the Air Force or National Guard flying overhead protecting him. These "golf lessons" are costing the US taxpayers MILLIONS and MILLIONS. And we are also paying for Michelle's and the kids seperate vacation in Colorado. How much for that? We need to pass laws restricting this sort of extravagant government spending while the country is going broke. This is insane.

    February 16, 2013 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  24. Monomachos

    How long ago was the Hawaii vacation? Six or seven weeks ago? To Alaskan1st: thanks – nothing is permitted to be written about Pres Obama without a Bush comparison. Also, reimbursing the "personal" expenses means that the vacation will cost the taxpayer a few thousand less than the hundreds of thousands of dollars that we are contributing to the president's golf lessons. When is the spring break vacation? Next month?

    February 16, 2013 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  25. geggyg

    People on here are complaining about Pres Obamas vactions and the costs , lets compare some figures
    -Pres GW Bush spent 487 days at Camp David , 490 days at his Grawford hobby farm , trips to Kennebunkport . Maine increased his total to 1020 days in eight years . The Crawford hobby farm was renovated to include a communication centre, and was fully staffed by Secret Service and other staff for the eight years even when Bush wasnt in attendendance , also there was a no fly zone there for all that time which increased in size when Bush was there.
    – Pres Obama has spent 131 days on vacation in either Hawaii, Chicago, Marthas Vineyard etc and Camp David . On his non camp David vactions , he uses a secure mobile communication centre or Air Force One communication centre , staff and security go ahead by about a week to set up temp offices and communications .
    -Pres Reagon spent 484 days at his Santa Monica Ranch , plus time at Camp David
    in his eight years
    – Pres Carter spent 79 days on vacation in his 4 years , possibly the shortest vacation of any President
    -Pres Clinton spent 175 days on vacation mainly at Marthas Vineyard and the Hamptons , plus time at Camp David, he didnt have a permanent presidential vacation compound .
    If you look at the figures recent democrat presidents have been rather sparse with their vacation time

    February 16, 2013 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
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