As of early September 2012, Barry Soetoro Obama has played golf 104 times since becoming president, according to Mark Knoller of CBS News.
In a rare moment of honesty with CBS News’ Harry Smith, B.S. Obama admitted he’s “terrible” at golf, but is drawn to the game just the same: “It’s the only time that for six hours, I’m outside…where you almost feel normal…. It feels as if…you’re out of the container.”
During George W. Bush’s presidency, the media incessantly carped about his golfing. But Mark Knoller points out that Bush played 24 rounds of golf during the first 2 years of his presidency, then decided to stop, six months into the war in Iraq. “I think playing golf during a war just sends the wrong signal,” he said in an interview in 2008 with Yahoo and Politico.com.
Knoller also makes this interesting observation:
“We don’t ever hear about Mr. Obama’s scores on the golf course. And only rarely does the White House permit the press to get a photograph of the president on the links. During the Clinton presidency, such photo ops were routine.”
All of which has piqued Kevin DuJan of Hillbuzz’s curiosity about the POS’s golfing and his golfing companions. DuJan asks on Oct. 1, 2012, “Who are Obama’s golfing buddies and at what clubs did he golf?“:
Today I’m digging up all articles I can find about Barack Obama’s golfing buddies and which clubs he’s golfed at as president. So far, I’ve identified the following men as regular members of Obama’s “foursome”:* Ben Finkenbinder (a staff member in the Press Office…)* David Katz (Department of Energy staff member)* Marvin Nicholson (WH trip director)
It’s such an odd group of (mostly) young men that I’m surprised Larry Sinclair wasn’t invited to “go golfing” too.
[...] the men that Bill Clinton golfed with regularly while he was President. I remember those guys being big power brokers like Vernon Jordan, professional golfers like Arnold Palmer, and big-wigs such as Senators and Governors and the like. Clinton didn’t head to the links with twenty-something male staffers he referred to as “The Finkmeister”. It’s just all so strange.
What were these guys really doing together? Obama’s such a terrible golfer…despite all that time supposedly “golfing”…and it’s bizarre to think random, young guys who are an odd fit for a President’s “friends” would be spending such ridiculous amounts of time together engaged in a activity such as “golfing”.
An article by Garret M. Graff in the August 2011 issue of The Washingtonian gives us more information on Obama’s three most frequent golf companions: Ben Finkenbinder, David Katz, and Marvin Nicholson. I’ve added photos of the three young men to Graff’s account. Finkenbinder’s pic is from Hillbuzz; I found Katz’s and Nicholson’s via Google Image search. Finding a photo of David Katz was very challenging.
Day Job: Assistant White House press secretary—a.k.a. press “wrangler,” who gathers reporters for events and trips. [He's returning to Chicago to work on the POS's reelection campaign.]
Parents: Son of David Finkenbinder, former executive vice president of the National Mining Association
Alma Mater: Macalester College
2004 Campaign Role: Knocked on Minnesota doors for John Kerry ’04.
Handicap (According to Golf Digest): 7
Golf Background: Played in college.
Fun Fact: On the ’08 presidential campaign, he arrived by 3 each morning to begin compiling news clips.
Day Job: Now White House senior policy adviser for manufacturing; formerly energy-efficiency adviser to Energy Secretary Steven Chu
Parents: Son of Lucinda Lee Katz, former director of University of Chicago Laboratory School, which Obama’s daughters attended pre–White House
Alma Mater: University of Michigan; Stanford (MBA)
2004 Campaign Role: Was Obama’s campaign photographer beginning with his US Senate run.
Handicap (According to Golf Digest): 1.8
Fun Fact: On election night 2008, Katz released 82 behind-the-scenes photos of the Obama family on Flickr.
Day Job: White House trip director, who runs every detail of the President’s movements
Parents: His American-born mother, Liz Beatty, and stepfather live in North Saanich, British Columbia.
Alma Mater: University of Western Ontario
2004 Campaign Role: Was Kerry’s “body man,” or personal aide.
Handicap (According to Golf Digest): 8
Golf Background: Has extensive caddying experience in Vancouver and at Augusta National.
Fun Fact: While working for Kerry, he carried business cards that proclaimed him “chief of stuff.
The golfing companions of previous U.S. presidents who golfed (Nixon, Ford, Clinton, George W.) were all age cohorts of the presidents. But 51-year-old B.S. Obama’s three most frequent golfing companions are 26, 29, and 39, respectively — that is, 12 to 25 years younger. All three young men are single.
As Hillbuzz’s Kevin DuJan remarked: “Hmmm….”