If you've grown a bit weary of the 2016 election cycle/circus like we have, you've probably found that golf is even more on your mind than ever. It's a great escape, after all, from constant coverage of debates, gaffes, primaries and electioneering.
In this year's race, the golfing talent seems to be concentrated on the Republican side, with the top two New Hampshire Primary finishers - businessman and prolific golf developer Donald Trump and Ohio Governor and recent "Morning Drive" guest John Kasich - both carrying single-digit handicaps and professing a great love for the game.
The intersection of golf and politics is no great secret, but what you may not know is the extent to which the office of the "Leader of the Free World" is invoked on golf courses throughout America.
Not surprisingly, the majority of political-named golf courses lie in and around Washington, D.C. The most famous of all is Congressional Country Club, host to three U.S. Opens. But it's a private club, and it takes more than a letter to your Representative to get a tee time. The same goes for Robert Trent Jones Golf Club, original and many-times host to professional golf's Presidents Cup.
A course you can play, however, is Lake Presidential Golf Club. Located in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, about 30 miles east of the White House, Lake Presidential was developed by the same company, Landmark, that developed the likes of PGA WEST and Kiawah Island. It's not a Pete Dye design, but Landmark's team paid Dye homage with the layout.
Heading south and east, just outside of Nashville, Tennessee, you'll find the President's Reserve Course at Hermitage Golf Course and its sister General's Retreat layout. The home of seventh President Andrew Jackson, for which the facility is named, is just down the street. If you care to combine some Presidential history with a golf trip, you may be interested to know that the course is building eight cottages on-site for visiting groups.
Let's not forget about the Presidency's most ardent (and least-skilled) players, Dwight Eisenhower, and his own mark on the game. In addition to the famous tree at Augusta, no fewer than three separate facilities are named for our 35th President: Eisenhower Golf Course in Ann Arundel County, Maryland; Eisenhower Golf Course at the Air Force Academy in Colorado; and at Eisenhower Park on Long Island, New York.
Perhaps our favorite course with Presidential ties, though, is Cape Arundel Golf Course in Kennebunkport, Maine. A charming Walter Travis design that dates back to 1896, it has been the summer home course of the Bush family, with both President George H.W. (41) Bush and President George W. Bush (43) having played many rounds there. In fact, Prescott Bush, father of George H.W. Bush and former U.S. Senator, once held the Cape Arundel course record. Presidents Nixon and Clinton have also teed it up there over the years, earning the course decided bipartisan support.
Sensing both these connections and the spirit of the season, the Omni chain of hotels and resorts has developed some Presidential-themed golf packages. Here are a couple of our favorites:
Where: Omni ChampionsGate Resort - Orlando, Florida
Details: The "Presidential Stay & Play" package includes breakfast, golf and optional rental clubs daily, plus a $45 credit to use at the golf clubhouse's Piper's Grille or on the on-course roving beverage cart. In addition, based on availability, upgrades to the Omni ChampionsGate's Presidential Suite are available for $300 per night. Finally, as a nod to Florida's pivotal role in past elections, guests are welcomed into their rooms by a bucket of Presidente Beer and "Left & Right Wings."
Where: Omni Tucson National Resort
Details: The "Running Mates" package is straightforward, but solid: golf for two each day at either the Catalina or Sonoran Courses, plus complimentary breakfast buffet each morning, and a "VIP Amenity" upon arrival - we're guessing it's similar to the ChampionsGate arrival gift.
Where: Omni Barton Creek Resort - Austin, Texas
Details: Barton Creek is offering a "Father-Son Presidential Promotion," rolling back green fees to $100 - the price during the 90s, when both Presidents Bush were frequent visitors. In addition, golfers are being given sleeves of American flag-pogoes golf balls, and the housekeeping staff is leaving cards with quotes from well-known past guests as part of nightly turndown services.
Other Omni Resorts are participating with their own similar packages. For more on these, visit omnihotels.com/golf.