English Golf Courses

'On the tee… President Obama!'

The world’s most powerful man goes for a knock at The Grove with the PM - and loses his Pro V1

By Martin Inglis

It's not every day the world’s most powerful man drops by your local course for a knock - but that’s exactly what happened at The Grove recently when President Obama rocked up to play with Prime Minister David Cameron.

Obama, who is said to have a handicap of around 17, took on the PM at this year’s British Masters host venue, with players on the course at the time shell-shocked at what was happening.

“The course officials had asked us to move to the back nine, but I’d refused, as no one wants to start on the tenth, do they?” Jonathan Purr, who was playing in a three-ball, said in an online blog for The Grove. “I’d noticed a bit more security than normal but it was very discreet until Obama and Cameron turned up - then all hell broke loose!


“The fourball we were playing behind was a bit slow and we were being told by the marshals we’d have to speed up. Finally, on the 13th, we were asked very respectfully if we’d mind letting them through - so of course we said yes and the group in front stopped as well.

“What was amazing was that Mr Obama bounded out of the buggy and came over to us, thanked us so much and apologised for disturbing our game. He said it was great to meet us and organised a photographer to take pictures of us all together. What an experience.”

Ben Thompson, a member of The Grove’s operations team, described the President’s visit as a bit ‘surreal’.

“It was a great experience working with the President’s team to prepare for his visit,” he said. “He’s a very cool person to meet, probably the most famous person you’ll ever get to meet! Even after the game, he was so obliging, taking the time to say hello and speak to the staff. It was a very surreal experience.”


And have you seen the President’s golf ball? Naturally, it’s a Titleist Pro V1 marked ‘POTUS’ and the number ‘44’, indicating that he is the 44th man to hold the highest office in the US. He left one ball to a team member of The Grove, while he reportedly left another in the rough, which staff are looking for.

As for who won, details are sketchy, although some members of the press reported the encounter went Obama’s way. “President Obama was a left-hander and generated a really decent strike,” says Jonathan Purr. “But the PM had more of a textbook swing.”

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