Golfer-in-chief: Trump's spent more time golfing, tweeting than briefings

Donald Trump and Rory McIlroy played a round on Sunday (ClearSports / Twitter)
Donald Trump and Rory McIlroy played a round on Sunday (ClearSports / Twitter)

As a candidate, Donald Trump said he'd be so busy as president that he wouldn't have time to play golf - one of his favourite sports.

But in the month he's been President, Mr Trump's estimated to have been on the golf course at least six times.

The Washington Post has broken down his first month in office - all 744 hours of it - and estimated he spent 25 hours playing golf and 13 hours tweeting.

That's in stark contrast to the mere six hours he spent in intelligence briefings and the 21 hours conducting foreign relations.

In December, Mr Trump said he didn't need intelligence briefings every day, saying he's a "smart person". However, his Vice President Mike Pence was receiving the daily briefings.

But the news outlet admits its calculations, based on time between when media are told by the White House to turn up in the morning to when they're released in the evening, are "imprecise".

They say it doesn't take into account any after-hours meetings or reviewing important documents which is "impossible" to determine.

His latest round of golf was on Sunday (local time) with professional golfer and World Number Three Rory McIlroy at his Trump International course in south Florida.

McIlroy, four-time major winner, complimented the President's skill, saying he was pretty good for - his age.

"He probably shot around 80. He's a decent player for a guy in his 70s," he told golfing website No Laying Up.

Though there's some dispute about how much golf Mr Trump played that day. McIlroy said they'd played a full 18 holes, but a spokesperson for Mr Trump said he'd only "played a couple". 

On February 11, he practiced some 'golf diplomacy' with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe who was on an official visit to the US.

In a phone interview with Westwood One Sports Radio on February 5, Mr Trump said he preferred to do his talking on the green, rather than while eating greens.

"That's the one thing about golf - you get to know somebody better on a golf course than you will over lunch."

Asked if he thought the Prime Minister was a good golfer, Mr Trump said he wasn't sure.

"I know he loves the game, and we're going to have a lot of fun.  It won't matter.  I'll just make sure he's my partner."

And the golf session seems to have found favour with the Japanese population with a poll published by Yomiuri newspaper showing two thirds of respondents thought the visit went well.

It even increased support Mr Abe's government, with the same poll giving them a 5 percent bump to 66 percent - almost the same level as when he took office in 2012, the Japan Times reports.

But the estimated 25 hours he's spent on the golf course since taking office is in stark contrast to what he said he'd be doing on the campaign trail.

"I'm going to be working for you, I'm not going to have enough time to play golf," he said at a Virginia rally on August 2 last year.

At this rate, Mr Trump could take the title of 'Golfer-in-chief' from Mr Obama who played 306 rounds during his presidency.

He played with many a politician and celebrity, including former New Zealand Prime Minister John Key.

Mr Obama's penchant for putting was also an easy target for opponents to criticise his work ethic.

That included Mr Trump.

Mr Obama's predecessor, George W. Bush, defended him in a 2013 interview with the Golf Channel.

"I know the pressures of the job, and to be able to get outside and play golf with some of your pals is important for the president. It does give you an outlet," Mr Bush said.

Mr Bush himself stopped playing golf altogether during the first year of the Iraq War, having played just 24 times while in office.

"I don't want some mum whose son may have recently died to see the commander-in-chief playing golf," he said in a 2008 interview.

Donald Trump at the opening of Red Tiger Golf Course at Trump National Doral in January 2015 (Getty)
Donald Trump at the opening of Red Tiger Golf Course at Trump National Doral in January 2015 (Getty)

The Trump Organisation owns 17 golf courses around the world.