After cancelling a trip to his Florida resort on account of the government shutdown, President Trump will head to Mar-a-lago over the weekend, CBS 12 reports. This means that Trump's Presidents Day weekend plans will likely involve golfing, one of his favorite presidential pastimes.
NBC News reports that Trump has visited his own golf courses at least 227 times since taking office, and has spent 82 days at Mar-a-lago in particular. Golf News Net puts the number significantly lower, claiming that he's visited his golf courses 169 times as president.
The precise number of occasions in which Trump has played golf as president is the subject of much uncertainty, study, and debate. The White House generally doesn't disclose when he golfs, and sometimes even takes steps to obscure his golf outings. The Independent reported on one occasion in 2017 wherein the White House said Trump was in meetings, only for photos to surface showing him at a golf course the same day. CNN's Noah Gray reported the the same year that, after photographers spent two days snapping shots of Trump playing golf from a public sidewalk, an enormous unmarked truck appeared on the third day, inconveniently blocking the reporters' line of sight (The Secret Service subsequently denied having any role in this).
That said, several efforts have been made to track the frequency of the president's golfing. According to the website Trump Golf Count, he's played the game at least 72 times since his inauguration, while the folks behind the Presidential Golf Tracker claim that he's played 136 rounds.
The cost of Trump's many visits to Mar-a-lago add up. According to a study from the Government Accountability Office released in February, taxpayers spent $13.6 million in just one month in 2017 to pay for four trips that Trump made to his Florida resort. Trump Golf Count estimates that in total, Trump's visits to Mar-a-lago as president have cost $87 million as president; the Washington Post's Philip Bump estimates that the number is a bit lower, and that Trump has cost taxpayers a mere $64 million with his trips to Mar-a-lago.
This is of note, in part, because Trump regularly criticized Barack Obama for playing golf as president, and claimed during his campaign that he would stop playing golf if elected president. At a New Hampshire rally days before the election, Trump claimed that Obama has "played more golf than most people in the PGA Tour," while he said in a Michigan speech months earlier that "Obama ought to get off the golf course."
“I’m going to be working for you," Trump said at a Virginia campaign rally in August 2016. "I’m not going to have time to go play golf." According to the Post, Trump also criticized Obama no fewer than 38 times on Twitter for golfing as the commander-in-chief.
Although Trump will be spending Presidents Day at a golf course, he no longer needs to leave his room to play the game: The Washington Post reported earlier in the week that the president has had a golf simulation machine installed in his personal quarters in the White House.