US Presidential Golfing Moments in Ireland & Scotland

Golf is a wonderful worldwide sport for building diplomacy between nations. To celebrate the Presidents Cup – taking place Sept. 26 – Oct. 1 at Liberty National Golf Club just outside New York City —we wanted to highlight some of our favorite presidential moments in Ireland and Scotland.

William Howard TheftWilliam Howard Taft (1909 – 1913) was the first U.S. president who was an avid golfer. Since Taft, only three presidents – Herbert Hoover, Harry Truman and Jimmy Carter – didn’t play while in office. So, it’s not surprising many American presidents have journeyed to Ireland and Scotland to play and / or watch golf. Keep reading for our top three presidential moments.


Bill Clinton Statue at Ballybunion










Bill Clinton is immortalized with a statue in the center of the town of Ballybunion. Clinton played the dramatic links by the same name in 1998 with the former deputy prime minister of Ireland, Dick Spring, Irish finance minister Charlie McCreevy, club captain Brian McCarthy and Irish golfing legend Christy O’Connor. He lists The Old Course at Ballybunion Golf Club as his favorite in the world.


George Bush and Michael Jordan

George H.W. Bush chats with Michael Jordan at the 2006 Ryder Cup at the K Club in County Kildare, Ireland. A golf fanatic, Bush is a regular at Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup matches. The 36th edition of the Ryder Cup marked the first time the tournament was held in Ireland. Europe defeated the U.S. by a score of 18 ½ to 9 ½ points.


Barack Obama St. AndrewsBarack Obama kicks off his first visit to Scotland with a round on The Old Course at St Andrews. An impressive crowd gathered to watch the former president play, but he didn’t let that faze him. Obama also had the opportunity to hold the Claret Jug while visiting St Andrews.


Honorable Mention: Although Joe Biden was a vice president, we thought his round with Taoiseach Enda Kenny at Castlebar Golf Club deserved a mention. Biden and Kenny were joined by Biden’s brother Jim and club captain Frank Murray. When asked how his golf game was going, Biden replied “It’s going. Fortunately, politics is going better.”