Donald Trump spends a lot of time on the golf course. A LOT of time. Trump’s trips to play golf cost Americans millions in tax dollars. In 2018 the secret service was paid over $33 million protecting Trump and his family on trips to Mar-a-Largo and golf courses.
According to the website, Trumpgolfcount.com Trump has played golf 165 times since taking office at a cost of $95,000,000 to taxpayers.
Rick Reilly, an author, whose new book “Commander In Cheat: How Golf Explains Trump” has documented his experience golfing with Trump as well as the experience of dozens of other people, including celebrities and sports stars. Reilly is a former Sports Illustrated journalist. His book hits bookstores on Tuesday.
“To say Donald Trump cheats’ is like saying ‘Michael Phelps swims.;” Reilly wrote in his new book.
“He cheats at the highest level. He cheats when people are watching and he cheats when they aren’t. He cheats whether you like it or not. He cheats because that’s how he plays golf … if you’re playing golf with him, he’s going to cheat.”
Reilly writes that Trump has professed his golfing handicap to be 2.8. The lower the handicap, the better the player. Jack Nicklaus, one of the greatest golfers of all times, had a handicap of 3.4.
“If Trump is a 2.8,” writes Reilly, “Queen Elizabeth is a pole vaulter.”
Reilly shares that not long after Trump became president, he played golf with Tiger Woods. You would think he’d be on his best behavior playing one of the greats, but that didn’t happen.
On one hole, Trump hit a shot that landed in a lake. Woods was not paying attention so Trump moved to the green and dropped another ball, which he soon after also hit into the water as well.
Trump once played a round of golf with actor Samuel L. Jackson,
“We clearly saw him hook a ball into a lake at Trump National [Bedminster, New Jersey],” Jackson says, “and his caddie told him he found it!”
LPGA player Suzann Pettersen told Reilly that she is convinced Trump’s caddie facilitates his cheating, saying, “no matter how far into the woods [Trump] hits the ball, it’s in the middle of the fairway when we get there.”
Trump has also moved his fellow players’ balls to give himself an advantage. Former ESPN football announcer Mike Trico recalls hitting one of the best shots of his life that landed close to the green but says when he got there the ball was over 50 feet away and in a bunker.
“Trump’s caddie came up to me and said, ‘You know that shot you hit on the par 5? It was about 10 feet from the hole. Trump threw it in the bunker. I watched him do it.’”
Boxer Oscar de la Hoya and musician Alice Cooper also are cited as celebrity witnesses to presidential fairway chicanery.
Trump is also well known for driving his golf cart onto the putting green, which Reilly says is like “hanging your laundry in the Sistine Chapel.”
Trump, Reilly writes, has no respect for the game’s rules of etiquette either. He refuses to remove his cap while shaking hands or inside the clubhouse. It is believed to be because he doesn’t want anyone to see what 18 sweaty holes of golf did to his hair or spray tanner.
Even Trump’s golf courses lie. He owns 14 golf clubs and has his name on another five, Trump’s clubs, according to Reilly, been known to wildly exaggerate their standing in course rankings.
Trump lies about other things connected to his golf courses as well. Between the 14th and 15th hole at Trump’s Washington at Lowe’s Island course rests a Civil War statue bearing Trump’s name that reminds golfers how many soldiers died on that spot, Civil War experts have confirmed that no battle ever took place there.
At Trump’s Bedminster course there is a plaque with a quote from the renowned course architect Tom Fazio. It reads: “This is the best design I have ever done. TOM FAZIO.”
“I don’t believe I said it exactly like that,” Fazio told Reilly.
As to why Reilly thinks Trump feels the need to cheat, he writes, “Golf is like bicycle shorts. It reveals a lot about a man.”