Benefield: Critics love to slam President for golf hobby (w/video)

  • President Barack Obama follows through on a swing while golfing at Farm Neck Golf Club, in Oak Bluffs, Mass., on the island of Martha's Vineyard, Sunday, Aug. 10, 2014. President Obama fled Washington for his familiar spot on Martha's Vineyard for a two-week summer vacation. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

Why couldn’t he have just gone for a swim?

President Obama has been lambasted in recent days for his penchant for playing golf. The world is seemingly burning and the President of the United States is playing golf on Martha’s Vineyard.

Clearly it was the timing of it, with the murder of journalist James Foley, unrest in Ferguson, Mo., as well as in Syria and the Middle East. It was Obama’s “Now watch this drive moment.” Just after condemning the murder of Foley, the president was seen grinning and gripping his golf club.

But does the game itself inspire some of the disdain? Critics didn’t say Obama was simply vacationing, they said he was golfing — the derision palpable.

To the chagrin of coaches and enthusiasts here, people love to hate golf.

Obama, a guy who loves to play basketball, doesn’t get hammered for hitting the hardwood. It’s when he hits the links that people go nuts.

One doesn’t have to be paying too close attention to know he has tee’d it up nine times while on vacation. There is a Facebook page dedicated to his golf game. His virtual caddy has a Twitter account. His game has a hashtag dedicated to it.

It’s hard to imagine such vitriol if the president were an avid swimmer.

Area coaches get some of it but are left shaking their head most of the time. Why is a game that promotes discipline, fair play, etiquette, focus and precision so derided?

“Even though those of us in the game know it’s not true, some think of golf as an elitist sport,” said Chris Philbrick, head coach of the Ukiah girls’ squad.

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