President Obama golfs at Mink Meadows – no kidding

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The White House has gone to some lengths to portray President Obama’s vacation in Martha’s Vineyard as a relaxing, low-key affair and not as a luxurious trip to a wealthy enclave.

“His desire in Martha's Vineyard is to get a little break. He certainly appreciates the hospitality of the folks who are here. But his desire here is to relax and spend time with the family,” Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton said at Monday’s briefing on the island.

But there is no hiding the island’s upscale image. Tuesday morning the president went golfing at a nine-hole, semi-private course called Mink Meadows Golf Club . Not exactly a name that calls forth an average American golfing spot. The course in Vineyard Haven is not far from the multi-acre farm where the first family is staying.

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According to a pool report by Christi Parsons of the Los Angeles Times, at about 9:30 a.m. the president climbed out of his armored limo and headed for the links to play golf. The presidential foursome Tuesday included perennial golf buddy Marvin Nicholson who is White House trip director, Michael Ruemmler of the White House advance team, and Sam Kass, who works in the White House kitchen.

The course is in a secluded spot on the island surrounded by woods. The clubhouse is a gray-shingled, gracefully weatherbeaten two-story country house with a shaded porch that looks out onto the course. A procession of at least five golf carts took off from the clubhouse shortly after the president's party arrived.

According to the Mink Meadows website, the course features rolling terrain with ocean views over Vineyard Sound to Woods Hole and the Elizabeth Islands. Osprey and hawks regularly nest in the woods bordering the course. Deer and other wildlife sightings are a common occurance.

You don’t have to belong to play. Non-members -- like Barack Obama -- can make tee times two days in advance.

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It may be vacation time for the First Family and members of Congress but politics never stops. Roundly defeated last year, the GOP is looking to rebuild for 2010 and beyond. Who will save the GOP?
The drive to revive and rebrand the Republican Party from the inside is stirring a new generation of young politicians. For an inside look, check out Linda Feldman's in-depth report on up-and-comers and where they might take the party.

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