Former President Obama joins private golf club in Virginia

Posted at 6:38 PM, May 15, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-15 18:38:02-04

WASHINGTON — Former President Barack Obama has a new home — for his golf clubs.

He’s apparently joined the Robert Trent Jones Golf Club in Gainesville, Virginia, about a 45-minute drive from Washington, according to two current members.

Think about the terms “golf” and “President” these days, and the mind likely goes to President Donald Trump’s penchant for spending weekends at one of his Trump-branded courses — which he has done 15 times since taking office, for those keeping track.

He’s swung his clubs everywhere from Mar-a-Lago in Florida to New Jersey’s Bedminster to Virginia, where he spent Mother’s Day hitting a few at the Trump National Golf Club in Sterling.

However, while the new POTUS grabs golfing headlines, the former commander in chief is himself still playing plenty. Obama’s selection of a private course comes after months of speculation as to where he would take his game, now that he can no longer play his favored local course at Andrews Air Force Base.

According to CBS News’ Mark Knoller, a prolific keeper of Obama’s golf outings while he was in office, Obama played Andrews more than 100 of the 300+ times he played golf as president.

Obama also played the course at Woodmont Country Club in Rockville, Maryland, a handful of times during his last two years in the White House, and the private club was rumored to be the front-runner for Obama’s membership post-White House.

But some members of the club, which is noted for being mostly Jewish in demographic, protested Obama’s joining, politicizing the issue by saying he wasn’t a big enough supporter of Israel while in office. It caused a rift among members, but Woodmont ultimately offered Obama a gratis membership, and an open invitation to join. He apparently didn’t take them up on the offer.

Robert Trent Jones Golf Club, however, is an upscale, golf-only, private club, with a par-72 course on the shores of Lake Manassas. One member, speaking on condition of anonymity, says annual membership fees and dues total about $15,000, though another source indicated every former president has an honorary membership, and fees are waived.

A spokesperson for Obama declined to comment.

Obama played at the club at least once as President, in 2014, but he has at least a tangential relationship with Robert Trent Jones Jr. who in 1995, at the request of then-President Bill Clinton, installed a new putting green on the White House’s South Lawn, just yards from the Oval Office.

Jones’ father, Robert Trent Jones Sr., built the original White House putting green for Dwight Eisenhower in 1954.

Here’s Clinton and his dog, Buddy, in 1998, playing on the putting green:

Robert Trent Jones Golf Club’s general manager did not wish to confirm or comment on whether Obama has joined, citing club policy prohibiting discussion of any members or guests.