If he spends time on his game, could Barack Obama become a better golfer than avid-playing presidents George W. Bush or Bill Clinton?
Yes he can!
One of the nice things about golf is that people reveal their personalities during a round. There’s no place to hide your true self on the course, so when I saw this footage of Obama’s golf swing taken during his Hawaiian vacation, I couldn’t resist the urge to play armchair analyst.
Take a look at Obama’s swing in the video player below. (Footage from KGMB-9 TV in Hawaii; his swing starts around the one-minute mark.)
First, check out his setup. It looks like a well-trained address position. Obama is square to the target, with good posture and alignment. This is a well-prepared setup, the kind you’d expect from a Harvard Law School graduate. He looks ready to hit a good shot.
His backswing move is very compact and cautious. Obama’s backswing is the opposite of wild: it’s controlled and focused on avoiding mistakes. You can see this trait in his meticulously planned campaign as well.
Coming down he’s pretty good. He’s got his weight moving in the right direction and makes good contact. The funny thing is that even though he aims down the middle, his shots fly to the left. Hmmmmm.
Obama needs to be a little more aggressive through impact and really go for the jugular. That would get rid of his miss left. Should he get more aggressive on the campaign trail? I can’t really say, but if Obama does win, he’ll be our fifth-consecutive president who plays golf. Right now, Obama has the swing of an athletic guy who plays just a few times a year. His swing actually looks like a good right-handed player swinging left-handed. Everything is in the right place, but the result is not all the way there. Lots of potential though.
Obama’s swing reminds me of President Clinton, another left-handed player. Interestingly, of our last five presidents, only George W. Bush is right-handed. Not that Obama has an advantage there. John McCain’s a southpaw, too. Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Brady Riggs teaches at Woodley Lakes Golf Club in Van Nuys, Calif.