President George W Bush
Hail To The ... Golfer
By KorryFranke on 2/13/08
It begins and ends with great fanfare. The media covers it from every angle and analyzes the results for years on end. Most participants practice for years before getting a real shot at winning it. Endurance, vision, concentration, and even some practicality are required. There are plenty of tough calls and tough shots. Sometimes, things don't go as planned. There are ups and downs and huge momentum swings. Still, it's almost always a stunning fight to the finish.

So what is it? Well, it could easily be the Masters, but this great quadrennial event is the one that seems to take up every second of cable news as of late- the campaign for US President!! Criss-crossing the nation on a daily basis must be incredibly exhausting. I can only hope that this year's candidates find some time on the campaign trail to relax a bit, break out their sticks, and enjoy a nice round of golf. I mean, let's face it- golf is basically the Presidential pastime! At least it has been for all but 3 U.S. Presidents in the past 100 years!!

Why the popularity? Well, as Bill Clinton told PGA Tour's Don Van Natta, Jr. in an interview, "Most presidents lead busy, crowded, packed lives. They don't get to go outside. They don't have time to go out to Wyoming and ride horses every day. They don't have time to walk in the Adirondack Mountains every day. So you are outside, you are in trees, you are in beautiful surroundings. And it takes time. One of the reasons I always liked golf is because the rest of my life is going at breakneck speed and everything had to be done fast and this is the place where I had to slow down."

Of course, some Presidents enjoyed the game more than others. President Taft was known to cut phone calls with foreign dignitaries short so as to not miss his afternoon tee time. Dwight Eisenhower enjoyed the game so much that he had a putting green and sand trap installed just outside the Oval Office (and while it was moved in 1996, it's still on the White House grounds... great for George W when he wants to work on his 15 handicap short game). Kennedy was probably the best of the Presidential golfers, but it was his VP turned President, Lyndon Johnson, who used the game as a way to cajole congressmen and senators to support important legislation such as the civil rights bill of 1964. Bill Clinton even made famous a new golf expression: the "Billigan", a term that basically equated to multiple muligans... just don't start using that approach when entering your scores on oob!!

I'm not sure if this year's candidates truly enjoy the game or not. History, however, says presidential candidates who don't hit the links do so at their own peril. Just ask John Kerry, Al Gore, Bob Dole, Michael Dukakis, and Walter Mondale. None of them were big on golf. And none of them ever won their presidential campaigns either. Mr. Obama, Mrs. Clinton, and Mr. McCain, guess you better dust of those clubs and hit the range. Our nation's future... and your campaign... depends on it!

And so begins the 2008 PGA season... and another season for oobgolf's "Know the Game" column. If you have a question about the game we love, send me an email and I'll find you the answer.

Email Korry your questions at

Korry Franke is a Boeing 757 and 767 pilot for Continental Airlines where he flies out of Newark, NJ to destinations across the US and around the globe. He lives in Bethlehem, PA where he spends most of his time on days off at the driving range or out on the golf course giving his game the practice it so desperately needs.

[ comments ]
Kickntrue says:
Awesome article Korry. Welcome back.
Thorre says:
I really enjoy your columns. Keep up the great work.
[ post comment ]
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