At some point in the last several weeks, President Trump bought a golf simulator for the White House, the Washington Post reported Wednesday. The $50,000 machine, which Trump reportedly paid for himself, allows the president to smack a golf ball into a projector screen displaying images of virtual golf courses, according to the Post. Bustle has reached out to the White House for comment.
The Post couldn't ascertain exactly which make or model of golf simulator Trump purchased, though the newspaper suggested based on the reported price that it could be a deluxe TrakMan model. In general, though, golf simulators involve the user teeing off in a small indoor enclosure, facing a movie theater-style screen with images of a golf course projected onto it. A device called a launch monitor tracks the speed, spin, direction and other qualities of the ball once it's hit, and the screen then shows a virtual ball sailing over the course.
One of the Post's sources told the newspaper that Trump hasn't used the golf simulator once since buying it.
It's not uncommon for presidents to have custom sports environment installed in the White House. Richard Nixon, an avid bowler, had a one-lane bowling alley built in a White House basement when he was president, while Dwight D. Eisenhower had a putting green installed in 1954.
By buying a golf simulator for the executive residence, Trump is following in the footsteps of Barack Obama, who according to the Post, also had a golf machine installed in the White House as president. Little is known about that simulator, but a former aide to Obama described it to the Post as "fairly unsophisticated." The Post reports that the new machine has replaced Obama's.
Trump, who often criticized Obama for playing golf as president, regularly plays golf as president. He doesn't always announce when he's doing so, making it impossible to say exactly how golf excursions he's taken, but the Trump Golf Count website estimates that Trump has hit the greens at least 156 times since taking office, while the Post puts that number at 139. The Presidential Golf Tracker reports that Trump golfs once every 4.2 days on average, more than twice as frequently as Obama.
Trump Golf Count has estimated that the president's golfing trips have cost taxpayers around $80 million, although the website's methodology has been questioned by the Washington Post.
On Jan. 31, the Post reported that Trump had recently gone over two months without playing golf at a physical course. This was significant given that, according to the Post, the president was averaging one round of golf every 4.6 days at the end of August 2018. Although it's unclear what caused this lapse in Trump's golfing, the Post noted that it occurred during the month-long government shutdown and the weeks leading up to it.
The Post reported Wednesday that Trump had the golf simulator installed "during the last few weeks," which would mean it was installed either during or shortly after the president's two-month break from going to real-life golf courses.