President Obama on weekend 'golf buddies' trip in Florida

President Obama is on a weekend golf getaway in Florida at the resort where he once caused a stir by playing with Tiger Woods. Michelle, Sasha, and Malia Obama stayed at home. 

(AP Photo/Chris Carlson, File)
In 2009, President Barack Obama watches the ball after making a putt on the ninth green during his golf match at Mid-Pacific County Club in Kailua, Hawaii. Obama plans to spend this weekend golfing in Palm Springs, Calif.

President Barack Obama kicked off the spring season on Saturday with a weekend golf getaway in Florida at the resort where he once caused a stir by playing with Tiger Woods.

During his stay at the Floridian National Golf Club in Palm City, less than 50 miles up the coast from Palm Beach, Obama planned to be out of public view, with no official events scheduled.

Obama arrived mid-day Saturday and teed off with former NBA star Alonzo Mourning and former sportscaster Ahmad Rashad, and Cyrus Walker, a cousin of Obama's senior adviser Valerie Jarrett, the White House said.

First lady Michelle Obama and daughters Malia and Sasha were not on the trip.

Two years ago, Obama played 18 holes at the Floridian with Woods and practiced with Woods' former swing coach. This time, the president's partners were expected to be a few friends who are his frequent golf guests.

Obama flew to the airport in Fort Pierce before making the short trip to Palm City.

Word of Obama's golf game with Woods in 2013 came initially from a professional sports journalist who was on the course and tweeted about it, even though the White House had prohibited the traveling press corps from observing Obama on the course.

Like last time, the White House arranged for the reporters covering the president to wait at a separate location on the property where Obama won't be visible.

Previous administrations have allowed brief news media coverage during presidential rounds of golf. Obama's policy generally is not to allow reporters to observe him. He has made a few exceptions when he's golfed with prominent figures, including House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, former President Bill Clinton and the leaders of New Zealand and Malaysia.

Obama planned to return to the White House on Sunday evening.

As The Christian Science Monitor reported, Obama is a frequent golfer, but he's far from the first or the most enthusiastic president to spend a lot of time on the links.

Obama shoots in the mid-90s, a playing partner told Golf Digest in 2009. He’s got a smooth left-handed swing, and he plays a lot for a president – more than 200 rounds so far in his term-and-a-half. His critics complain about that frequency.

But he’s far from the best, or even the most enthusiastic, presidential golfer of all time.

Who was the real First Duffer? Taking the contenders chronologically, Franklin Delano Roosevelt was a keen player in his youth. But polio kept him from playing as president.

Dwight Eisenhower wore golf spikes into the White House. He put dents in the floor that subsequent presidents had to remove. He played over 800 times during his two terms in office.

John F. Kennedy loved golf too, but downplayed that because he felt it had become a political liability for Ike. His physical problems also kept him from playing as much as he would have liked.

Gerald Ford was a star football player at the University of Michigan and an under-appreciated athlete. He once out-drove Arnold Palmer off the tee at a charity event, though his shots could be wild.

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Reach Josh Lederman on Twitter at http://twitter.com/joshledermanAP

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