SOI 2017: Put him down for a par

By |  December 14, 2017 0 Comments

In what would be a roller coaster of a scorecard, 33 percent of Golfdom’s readers give President Trump a par.

This time last year, Golfdom was reacting to the news that multi-course owner Donald Trump would be the next president of the United States. At the time, we asked readers how they believed he would impact the industry (see graphic.)

Now that President Trump has been in office for almost a year, we asked readers to give the commander-in-chief a golf score. The Washington Post reported Trump’s approval rating at 37 percent, the lowest score since Harry S. Truman, who had a 22-percent approval rating at the same time in his presidency. But Golfdom readers were mixed — a par was the most popular score (33 percent, see graphic) and a double bogey was the next most popular choice. Almost 23 percent gave him a birdie or better.

Mike Keohan, superintendent at Brookville CC in Old Brookville, N.Y., was one of those who scored Trump with a double-bogey. One reason was personal — his son is training to be an Army Ranger, and he worries that the president is cavalier with threats to foreign countries. The other reason was professional — he believes Trump’s election had a negative impact on his ability to fully staff his crew this year.

“The Latino workforce was petrified by the language Trump was using, the fear of deportation was huge,” Keohan says. “We’re still seeing the effects on labor. If anyone tells you that Trump didn’t have a negative effect on our labor pool, they are kidding themselves.”

GCSAA CEO Rhett Evans summarizes Trump’s first 10 months in one word: “Interesting.”

“You never know where he’s going with some of the things he says,” Evans says. “He can be dynamic, then he can be polarizing. But I think he is a proponent of golf, he obviously understands that this is a business, and that has been beneficial.”

Evans points to the new direction the Environmental Protection Agency has taken under administrator Scott Pruitt. “The EPA is taking a look at things holistically, not just the viewpoint of the environmentalists,” Evans says. “That has been a refreshing change with this administration.”

Keohan got creative in order to fill his crew this year. He created a laminated flier, written in Spanish, that he posted in delis and bodegas in the area. It’s something he’ll do again next spring, he says.
At first reluctant to talk about Trump, once he gets going, Keohan can’t help but speak passionately on the topic. But he stresses one thing above all: He isn’t rooting against Trump, and he wants the new president to succeed.

“I’m an American, I definitely don’t want to see our president fail,” Keohan says. “If our president fails, then we all fail.”

To read other articles included in the 2018 State of the Industry Report, click here.

Photo: Trump: robert beck/sports illustrated/getty images

This article is tagged with and posted in Columns

About the Author: Seth Jones

Seth Jones, a 25-year veteran of the golf industry media, is Editor-in-Chief of Golfdom magazine and Athletic Turf. A graduate of the University of Kansas School of Journalism and Mass Communications, Jones began working for Golf Course Management in 1999 as an intern. In his professional career he has won numerous awards, including a Turf and Ornamental Communicators Association (TOCA) first place general feature writing award for his profile of World Golf Hall of Famer Greg Norman and a TOCA first place photography award for his work covering the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. In his career, Jones has accumulated an impressive list of interviews, including such names as George H.W. Bush, Samuel L. Jackson, Lance Armstrong and Charles Barkley. Jones has also done in-depth interviews with such golfing luminaries as Norman, Gary Player, Nick Price and Lorena Ochoa, to name only a few. Jones is a member of both the Golf Writers Association of America and the Turf and Ornamental Communicators Association. Jones can be reached at

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