President Donald Trump didn't get to play much golf in the D.C. area last summer, and the 35-day partially federal government shutdown straddling 2018 and 2019 made it practically impossible for him to play golf anywhere and not get criticized (more than he already is) for it.
Apparently, President Trump has found a solution. Trump has installed a golf simulator in his White House living quarters, according to the Washington Post. Two sources told the Post of the "room-sized" simulator setup that has been installed in one of his available living rooms. The setup is estimated to cost $50,000, which is about right for an upscale golf simulator setup that includes the simulator system, projection screens, artificial turf mats, a potential launch monitor and related enclosures.
The American taxpayer is reportedly not on the hook for the simulator, as Trump has paid for it personally. Three of Trump's golf clubs have TrackMan simulators installed. The Post asked TrackMan to comment on potentially installing the White House simulator, but TrackMan didn't respond.
President Trump has scheduled frequent so-called "executive time," which is unstructured, free-flowing time during which the President can do what he wants, including taking and making phone calls, having impromptu meetings and, yes, tweeting and responding to news coverage he sees. According to a leaked set of the President's daily schedules provided to Axios, approximately 60 percent of Trump's schedule is slotted for "executive time," in part so he can keep certain meetings and conversations private from potential leakers. However, Trump typically shows up to the Oval Office around 11 a.m. each morning. Having a golf simulator in his living quarters will give him time to potentially play a virtual 18 holes by himself in 60 minutes.
One of the Post's sources for the story said Trump is yet to use the simulator. It's not known if the simulator has any of Trump's golf courses available for virtual play.
Thus far, Trump has spent 168 days at one of his private golf clubs during his presidency. While it's unclear exactly how many times Trump has played golf during those 168 days, he is presumed to have played golf during approximately 80 percent of those visits. However, during the 2018 midterm election cycle and the subsequent partial government shutdown, Trump went a record 69 days between visits to his golf properties, including the northern Virginia-based Trump National Golf Club, Washington D.C., where he frequents when in town.
Trump is not the first president to bring in his own personal sporting hobbies onto the White House grounds. Dwight Eisenhower put in a putting green. Richard Nixon had a bowling alley. Barack Obama converted an existing tennis court into a full basketball court and also had a golf simulator.
So far, Trump has played golf at nearly double the pace as Obama, who was a frequent Trump target for his propensity to hit the links. Trump is on pace to play more than twice as much as Obama's 333 rounds in eight years in office.