President Donald Trump loves golf. As Commander-in-Chief, how many times Trump has played golf while in office has been fodder for his opponents and a legitimate question of how much his hobby costs the American taxpayer.
However, before Trump ever got into politics, he played a lot of golf at the many clubs he owns or operates, as well at legendary Winged Foot Country Club. It’s the one club Trump has long wanted to be in because of its societal standing in New York, and he has been a member there for many years. However, it’s also the place where he got the nickname “Pele,” after the great Brazilian-born soccer player.
As Rick Reilly details in his new book, “Commander in Cheat: How Golf Explains Trump,” the caddies at Winged Foot gave Trump that nickname for a bad reason.
Trump is known to cheat on the golf course. That’s pretty well established at this point, with stories from a variety of celebrities and other public figures raising suspicion about the veracity of Trump’s scores and his handicap index. The Winged Foot caddies, in particular, were not impressed with how often Trump seemed to find himself with an exceptional lie after a particularly poor shot. In other words, the caddies at Winged Food believed Trump routinely kicked his ball away from bad spots and into better spots so he could hit shots more easily. Hence the name of the man with the golden leg, Pele.
Obviously that’s not a very flattering nickname, and it’s been said over the years that the membership of Winged Foot has been less-than-welcoming of Trump at Times. However, since becoming President, Trump hasn’t spent any time at the club, which hosts the 2020 US Open. He has spent almost all of his time playing golf while President on four of his golf courses: Trump National Golf Club, Washington, D.C., which is in northern Virginia; Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach, Fla., 15 minutes from Mar-a-Lago; Trump National Golf Club, Bedminster, N.J., which was really the club that started it all and where he vacations in the summer; and Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter, Fla., where Trump goes to play with professional golfers who are members there or live in that area.