Obama the Golfer: Better Than His Bowling | NBC New York

Obama the Golfer: Better Than His Bowling

On a Hawaiian golf course, one observer offered a frank assessment of the president-elect.



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    Barack Obama smiles as he shakes hands with well wishers in a crowd gathered beside the 18th hole at a golf course in Kailua, Hawaii.

    KAILUA, Hawaii — Staying out of the public eye during an extended vacation doesn't mean staying away from the golf course for President-elect Barack Obama.

    Into the second week of a getaway in his native Hawaii, Obama and a group including friends and an aide on Monday visited a private golf club near his $9 million rented, beach-front vacation home.

    Obama drew applause and hollers when he walked up to the 18th green. Obama motioned for them to be quiet while others in his party finished their round, putting a finger to his lips.

    "That was pretty good, right?" Obama said to more cheers as he walked onto the green and joked about his 20-yard drive.

    A woman sitting on a nearby wall shouted: "Better than your bowling."

    The joke referenced Obama's disastrous bowling outing in Pennsylvania during the presidential campaign when he racked up a terrible score of 37 — with the assist during two frames from an 8-year-old.

    Obama has likewise struggled with his golf game while on this vacation, telling reporters during his first round that he wasn't that good and asking other patrons for tips on his second.

    Obama made quick small talk with about a hundred spectators who lined up along the edge of the private course. Some onlookers asked him to sign copies of his book.

    "I'll be late for my wife and then I'll be in trouble," he joked.

    It was Obama's third trip to a course while on holiday. Accompanying him were Bobby Titcomb, a friend from high school in Hawaii, friends Martin Nesbitt and Greg Orme, and aide Eugene Kang.

    Earlier in the day, Obama returned to a military gym where he has exercised every morning except Christmas since beginning his 12-day vacation on Dec. 20.

    Obama, his wife, Michelle, and Nesbitt visited Marine Corps Base Hawaii's Semper Fit Center. Obama did not speak with reporters, but greeted about two dozen visitors after his workout. He also posed for pictures.

    Obama has sought to stay out of the public eye while here, opting for private meals at his vacation home or at a friend's house. On Monday night, he made his first trip to a public restaurant with friends.

    On Sunday, the family took a two-hour scenic drive north up Oahu's windward coast to Titcomb's Mokuleia residence, where they spent nearly seven hours.

    Obama has no public schedule during his stay. Aides say he has been receiving national security briefings and speaking with transition officials.

    Obama, his wife and daughters are due to return to Chicago on Jan. 1.