According to an analysis by NBC News, President Trump has spent 35 days at golf courses over the course of his young presidency, which amounts to over 21 percent of his total days as president. Trump, who pledged during the campaign not to go golfing as president, has visited golf courses more frequently than any of his three predecessors had at this point in their terms.
It's difficult to precisely tally how many times he has actually played golf as president. Although Trump takes frequent trips to golf courses that he owns, the White House doesn't always reveal what he is doing during these trips, and his staff has sometimes blurred the lines between golfing excursions and official business.
"On a couple of occasions, he’s actually conducted meetings [on the golf course]," White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said. "On a couple of occasions, he’s actually conducted meetings there, he’s actually had phone calls. So, just because he heads there, it doesn’t mean that [golf is] what’s happening.”
After one of his recent trips to the links, the White House refused to say whether or not Trump had actually played golf during his visit, although video of the trip showed him driving around the course in a golf cart. Because of these and ambiguities, NBC News' list includes only verified instances in which Trump visited a golf course.
Prior to becoming president, Trump frequently criticized President Obama for golfing too much. In a 2014 tweet, he lamented that "with all of the problems and difficulties facing the U.S., President Obama spent the day playing golf," and later alleged on the campaign trail that "Obama plays more golf than professional players in the PGA tour." But according to US News & World Report, Obama had only golfed on eight occasions at this point in his presidency, less than one fourth the number of times that Trump has gone to a golf course.
As a candidate, Trump said that he wouldn't play golf if elected president.
"I'm going to be working for you," Trump said in a Virginia speech in August 2016. "I'm not gonna have time to go play golf." At a New Hampshire town hall meeting in February, Trump said that "I'm not gonna play much golf, because there's a lot of work to be done."
"There won't be time to go on vacations," Trump told MSNBC in 2015. "There won't be time to go golfing all the time."
It was reported in April that taxpayers had spent approximately $35,000 so far on golf cart rentals for Trump's Secret Service agents.