If the rumors (again) are true (again), then we are to believe that for at least part of the year the Coachella Valley will be the home of a former president (again).
In the footsteps of Dwight Eisenhower and Gerald Ford, Barack Obama is said to have a home in mind in Rancho Mirage. It would not be a permanent home, as the Obamas are expected to live in Washington D.C. until their daughter Sasha finishes high school. And it is all still rumor, though we know that Obama has come to the desert a couple of times a year and made golf part of his agenda in between meeting world leaders. Or maybe the world leaders were fit in between rounds of golf.
But if the rumors are true, then the Coachella Valley is once again the Playground of the Presidents.
President Obama certainly doesn’t need any advice or tips about playing golf in the desert, something he’s likely to do whether or not the house rumors are true. Obama has played – along with some of his close friends from years and years ago – in the cool mornings of February and in the triple-digit summer afternoons. He knows he needs to hydrate, he knows the ball flies farther in the summer heat and he knows the grass in February is different than the grass in June or July.
And he probably knows that he is the continuation of a long line of presidents who have golfed in the desert. Yes, Eisenhower started it all by living at Eldorado Country Club during and after his presidency. Ford was as much a part of the desert golf scene as any president. But other presidents, from John Kennedy to Richard Nixon to Ronald Reagan to Bill Clinton, have played golf in the desert during or after their presidencies. Some presidents have become big parts of the valley’s golf history.
Heck, even President-elect Donald Trump has a golfing history in the desert, having played in the pro-am of the old Bob Hope tournament, now the CareerBuilder Challenge.
But Trump might be the end of sitting presidents playing golf in the desert for a while. After all, Trump has a string of his own golf courses to play in New Jersey or Florida or Scotland or Rancho Palos Verdes. Unless Trump comes to the desert for international summits like Obama did twice at Sunnylands in Rancho Mirage, it’s difficult to see him playing golf in the Coachella Valley while in office.
Where will Obama play when he and the family are in the desert? In the past he has played just three courses in the Coachella Valley, the intriguing courses at Sunnylands and Porcupine Creek, the latter owned by Larry Ellison, and the Stadium Course at PGA West.
If the Obamas have a house in the desert, you have to assume his golfing ventures will branch out to more than just three desert courses. Whether those are private courses (less private than Sunnylands and Porcupine Creek) or courses with some public access like the Stadium Course is certainly an intriguing question to be answered in the coming months and years.
But even if the rumor isn’t true and there is no official purchase of a house in the desert by the Obamas, you have to know that President Obama is going to come back to the desert to play with his close friends. In that regard, Obama is like millions of golfers through the years who have fallen in love with golf in the Coachella Valley.
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