Five Star Golf – Newport Country Club and President Eisenhower

“There were few more closely guarded secrets during the eight years of the Eisenhower Administration than the President’s golf scores,” Norman Palmer write in Five Star Golf.  Norman was the golf professional at Newport Country Club in Rhode Island and hosted the President during his summer visits to Newport in 1957 and 1958. Ike setup his summer White House at the Newport Naval Base, partially so he could be close to Newport Country Club.

Ike played forty-five times with Palmer over the two year span. Members of the press were present every time the President teed off but were never told his score. As Palmer states, “One reason frequently cited was that he was worried the public would think he was playing too much golf if every score was recorded. This obviously, was false.” The last sentence is outstanding. The fact is Ike played over 400 rounds of golf while he was President or about fifty rounds of golf per year, which is a pretty big number for someone with a full time job!

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The fact is Ike was a good player, during his rounds at Newport he shot between 86 and 90. His best round was in 1954 at Cherry Hills Country Club in Denver when he shot a 77. He also shot a 79 at Augusta, Burning Tree and Gettysburg and an 84 at Cypress Point. The book has extensive pictures of Eisenhower playing at Newport and Palmer gives insights into the pressures of playing with the President with the Secret Service omnipresent and the media following every move.

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