You can learn a lot about a man by how he plays golf. It’s a sport that requires self-discipline, control and personal honesty. And it just happens to be one of President Donald Trump’s favorite pastimes.
Trump has spent 50 days as president at a golf property that bears his name, according to CNN’s count. Trump said during the 2016 campaign that he would have little time to golf and slammed former President Barack Obama for hitting the links as president, but according to CNN’s count Trump has visited one of his golf properties around 25% of his days as president.
Trump is in the middle of a 17-day “working vacation” at his own Trump National Golf Club in Bedminister, New Jersey. He’s spending part of the time out on the course – and how he plays might explain a lot about his personality.
Those who have hit the links with Trump say that, like his presidency, he plays the game on his own terms.
Former ESPN columnist Rick Reilly recalled his experience watching Trump play many years ago. In a conversation with CNN’s Brianna Keilar, Reilly said he’d never seen anything like it before.
Here are a few things we can learn from Trump from his golf style:
Trump moves fast, and details aren’t important
“Most people give you a putt within the leather. That means the length of the leather grip on your putter. He takes putts within (the length of a) driver, like those long drivers.” Reilly said. “He just rakes everything, everything’s good and it’s all happening quickly and you’re like ‘that can’t have been good’ but he’s gone, and he’s in his golf cart by himself.”
He’s in charge
“He drives across greens. He drives and parks on tees,” Reilly said. “When you drive on a putting green, it’s like parking on the steps of a church. It’s like bringing your own ham to a great restaurant. It’s just not done, it’s the worst thing you can do. …When you ask him why, he says, ‘Hey, it’s my course.’ And that’s the worst part. It’s like he thinks he owns golf.”
Trump doesn’t care much for traditions
“This guy cheats from start to finish,” Reilly said. “It was just one free mulligan after another.”
So why do people put up with it? Because Trump’s entertaining. It’s fun.
“He’s a gracious host. He buys everything. Everything’s free, so when he drives across the green … you’re just like, it’s a day with Trump,” Reilly said. “Playing with Trump is fun, kind of in the way going to the circus is fun.”
CNN’s Dan Merica contributed to this report