Maryland golf club aspires to become Obama's go-to golf spot

Obama hits the links on vacation
Obama hits the links on vacation

    JUST WATCHED

    Obama hits the links on vacation

MUST WATCH

Obama hits the links on vacation 03:10

Story highlights

  • Rockville, Maryland's Woodmont Country Club will extend an invitation to Obama
  • The former president golfed at Woodmont multiple times during his presidency

(CNN)A Washington-area country club is set to offer former President Barack Obama a membership, in hopes of becoming his go-to golf destination.

Woodmont Country Club President Barry Forman told members that the club's executive committee has decided to extend an invitation to the Obamas, in a letter obtained by CNN.
"I am pleased to report that the executive committee has overwhelmingly authorized a communication to Mr. and Mrs. Obama that we would welcome their application to Woodmont under our 'special membership' category," Forman wrote.
Under that category, which is reserved for "very senior level government officials," the initiation fee is waived, although the Obamas would have to pay regular dues and assessments.
To become a member at the exclusive Rockville, Maryland, country club, a current member must provide a sponsorship.
Woodmont member John Shulman golfed the Woodmont courses multiple times with Obama, and indicated he would be willing to officially support his membership.
"If he expresses an interest in joining the club, I would be fully supportive of his application," Shulman told CNN over email.
But Obama, who has been spotted on vacation in the Caribbean this week, has not yet put a formal application into the club, a source with knowledge told CNN Tuesday.
"Barack Obama can play golf anywhere he wants to play," the source said, adding that he's not in a rush to formally lock down a membership. "I don't think he's spent any time on this."
The club was originally founded in 1913 by a group of Jewish men who had been turned away from other Washington-area country clubs. A "vast majority" of the club's members now are Jewish, per a member.
In the letter, Forman acknowledged some reported tension within the club community due to Obama's stance on Israel, noting that political views have "never been a part of our membership criteria."
"The club's leadership has considered this issue in the context of our over 100-year history as a welcoming place for people who were excluded elsewhere because of their beliefs," Forman wrote.
He continued: "In the current deeply polarized political environment, it is all the more important that Woodmont be a place where people of varying views and beliefs can enjoy fellowship and recreation in a relaxed environment. We are proud of our Jewish heritage, and we are also proud that our membership is now more diverse, which reflects significant changes in our society in recent years. Given our legacy, it is regrettable that we have now been widely portrayed as unwelcoming and intolerant, because that is not who we are."
Woodmont underwent a multi-million dollar renovation in 2015, including dining rooms, a ballroom, and a fitness and wellness center. Members can enjoy an Olympic-size swimming pool and kiddie pool, card rooms, indoor and outdoor tennis courts, men's and ladies' locker rooms, the Library Bar, and a golf shop, per the club website.
Members gather for Seafood Night the first Friday of the month, children build ice cream sundaes in the dining room, ladies play bridge on weekdays and the pool fills up with families through the summer.
But for Obama, whose golf habit was well-documented throughout his eight years in Washington, the main draw would be the club's two 18-hole golf courses, golf hitting bays, driving range, GPS-equipped golf cars, and indoor and outdoor putting greens.
Beside the golf, another indication the club made a good impression on Obama: Woodmont staff and members were kind to him, and especially to his staff, per a source familiar.
The then-President played Woodmont's courses multiple times while in office: Obama golfed at the club with John Shulman, Tom Nides and Joe Paulsen in late October of 2015. He came back again in February 2016.
In June 2016, he joined staffers Joe Paulsen, Marvin Nicholson and Luke Rosa. The traveling press loaded into the motorcade to depart after over four hours at the club, only to get out again.
"We are told POTUS has decided to play another round!" the pool report read at the time.
He also played a round with Barry Forman, the club's president, and Shulman in late October 2016.
With limited traffic, the club is just more than a 30-minute drive from the Obamas' rental home in Washington's Kalorama neighborhood, where they will live through daughter Sasha's graduation. The former president will not have the large motorcade he enjoyed as president, but will instead move through town in a smaller convoy, adhering to traffic laws.