How much does each of Donald Trump's golf rounds cost taxpayers?
Golf and Politics

How much does each of Donald Trump’s golf rounds cost taxpayers?


President Donald Trump has played golf or visited one of his 17 owned-or-operated golf properties on approximately 22 percent of the days he has been in office, dating back to Jan. 20, 2017.

All of those visits to his golf clubs -- be they Trump National in Bedminster, N.J.; Trump National D.C. in Ashburn, Va.; or Trump International Golf Club in Jupiter, Fla. -- not only increase the Trump golf count but also increase the bill to the American taxpayer. Every time Trump goes to one of his golf clubs, regardless of him playing golf or not, the tax payer has to pay to transport and protect him.

How much each of President Donald Trump's golf rounds cost taxpayers

Through October 2020, Donald Trump's golf rounds have cost an estimated $140 million to taxpayers. Of course, that's an estimate based on a variety of factors, but we can't give you an exact cost for each round. We don't have perfect information to tell you with certainty how much all of the factors cost together. We can estimate the cost per round, which is driven by Secret Service usage, transportation costs for motorcades and Air Force One, as well potential Coast Guard fees.

Trump's golf rounds cost the American taxpayer approximately $600,000 on average.

The most expensive rounds Trump plays are in Florida, followed by at Trump National Washington, D.C., in northern Virginia, then at Trump National Bedminster in New Jersey.

Each time Trump plays golf, the American taxpayer handles some cost. Each and every time, Trump is flanked by Secret Service, who not only protect him while he's on his golf properties but also secures the golf club in question to make sure no uninvited guests try to infiltrate the grounds. That costs money. However, it's unclear the all-in Secret Service cost of the manhours to protect and secure. We do know Secret Service agents are paid approximately $50 per hour, but we don't know how many agents there are on his detail at a golf club. However, these would be considered sunk costs anyhow, as these agents incur annual salaries regardless of where and when they're doing their routine work.

We know the Secret Service has racked up $765,000 in golf cart rental bills with contracts with private providers (Trump is NOT making money on those carts), with rolling contracts.

We know, through late 2017, the Secret Service has paid some $8,600 so far for portable toilets to use while on the ground of Trump's golf clubs. Ballistic glass is also needed, and the Secret Service has a mobile office, which costs money.

The Coast Guard is required to protect nearby waterways when Trump visits Trump International Golf Club in Jupiter vis a vis Mar-a-Lago and Trump National D.C., which fronts the Potomac River. The Coast Guard cost at Mar-a-Lago is estimated to be $236,000 per day. These costs would apply whether or not Trump plays golf when he's at Mar-a-Lago. The cost for Coast Guard at his Ashburn club is substantially lower and must be paid each time Trump goes there.

When Trump flies to these resorts, he uses Air Force One. (He uses a motorcade to go to Trump National in northern Virginia, which has its own cost.) The Congressional Research Service estimated in 2012 the hourly cost of the Presidential 747 (any plane the President is on becomes Air Force One) at $179,750. It is now estimated at $206,337 per hour, though there are classified costs the Government Accountability Office cannot reveal.

About the author

Ryan Ballengee

Ryan Ballengee is founder and editor of Golf News Net. He has been writing and broadcasting about golf for nearly 20 years. Ballengee lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his family. He is currently a +2.6 USGA handicap, and he has covered dozens of major championships and professional golf tournaments. He likes writing about golf and making it more accessible by answering the complex questions fans have about the pro game or who want to understand how to play golf better.

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