The Corner


Golf Things

President Donald Trump at his golf resort in Turnberry, Scotland, on July 14, 2018 (Henry Nicholls / Reuters)

A story in the Washington Post caught my eye, both for golf reasons and for presidential reasons. Here’s the headline: “New Jersey man charged with doing ‘doughnuts’ on the greens at Trump’s Bedminster course.” Richard J. McEwan, the doughnut-maker, is a pretty busy guy.

Two weeks ago, McEwan was arrested in Rhode Island for allegedly breaking into pop superstar Taylor Swift’s beach home. The Westerly Sun newspaper in Rhode Island said that McEwan hopped a fence and broke a glass door to enter Swift’s home. He then took off his shoes.

“A pair of orange shoes were found at the doorway where he broke in. When officers asked him why he wasn’t wearing any, he told them, ‘I was always taught that when you go into someone’s home, you have to take your shoes off,’ ” Westerly Police Chief Shawn Lacey told the Sun. “He said he did it because it was polite.”

This story made me think of another one, back in the summer of ’17:

The President loves the game of golf, especially when he can play at his own properties. But during a recent round at his club in Bedminster, N.J., Donald Trump threw out the book of etiquette when he took his golf cart over one of his club’s greens.

A video posted to Twitter by guests at the club shows the president cruising across the green — a staunch no-no in golf decorum.

A colleague of mine thought this was pretty cool: owning your own golf course and doing whatever you wanted on it, including driving a cart on the green. But to golfers — most of them, I should say — the idea of doing this, whether you own the course or not, is . . . pretty ghastly. (This will sound prissy to some, obviously.)

Years ago, there was a T-shirt: It’s a Black Thing, You Wouldn’t Understand. One might speak of golf things, too.

Just about my favorite piece of journalism in all the Clinton era — and there were many — was by Byron York, in The American Spectator. Published in 1996, the piece was called “Bill’s Bad Lie.” And the subheading: “The way he plays golf tells you more about his character than any special prosecutor ever will.” More recently, Rick Reilly has published a book called “Commander in Cheat: How Golf Explains Trump.”

Back to golf carts — and doughnuts and other stunts. I worked at golf courses for five years. What some of the “cart operators” did (these were high-school-age employees) would curl your hair. We had one broken leg, that I know of — following a stunt on (or off) Cart Operator Hill, as they had named it. And we had one cart at the bottom of the pond in front of 17 green — one that I know of.

I would like to write a novel of golf-course life, and if I were less lazy and more creative, I would . . .

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