Lieutenant Commander Worf of Star Trek fame comment on someone’s character could apply to President Donald Trump: “He has no honor.” Our commander-in-cheat, pardon me, I mean commander-in-chief cheats, lies, and bullies his way on the golf course. Golf is a game of honor where you really play against yourself to see how you can do better. Golfers of integrity, some of the greatest, routinely call shots against themselves that no observer could detect had been done incorrectly. Trump deflates his golf scores to unbelievable low levels while claiming wonderful victories that would be the envy of the golf world if they were true.
Trump likes golf because it not a team sport. As he has repeatedly demonstrated, he does not play nicely with others. He plays through other players without asking them. He has no respect for the green or other players as he damages the playing ground for others as he moves along in his golf cart. He will walk two steps out, hit the ball, and then go back to the cart to move again. Now the Secret Service agents along with his caddies help him cheat along the way.
Trump easily breaks promises and legal contracts when it suits him. He has been involved in more than 3500 lawsuits. He sues at the drop of a hat. He routinely pays 60% of what he has contracted to be paid. Many people who have done business with him find it is too expensive and too time-consuming to be in litigation with him.
Donald Trump is not a good neighbor. In Rancho Palos Verdes, California where he has Trump Los Angeles Golf Course, he sued the local school board of Rancho Palos Verde when it would not sell a $5 million property for one fifth the price and he had to pay full price when he lost. When he put up trees on his golf course that blocked the views that over 2500 local homeowners enjoyed and paid big bucks for these views, they went through the courts and the Rancho Palos Verdes City Council to make their case and won. Whenever a decision or ruling goes against him, he routinely claims he was treated unfairly. Needless to say, this community that voted overwhelmingly for George W. Bush, John McCain, and Mitch Romney voted overwhelmingly for Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in 2016.
Donald Trump tries to bully, lobby, and smooze the golf experts and journalists to elevate his golf courses to the top of the heap in their evaluations. None of his golf courses make the top ten in California, New Jersey, and Florida. As far he is concerned every one of the fifteen or so golf courses he owns or manages are the best in the world. He says people say his golf courses are the best and of course and the source of all these comments are from him.
As far as the presidential campaign was concerned, it was one huge info commercial for his hotels, golf course, and other enterprises. For Trump, there is no conflict of interest. “Before he entered office, LBJ put his radio and TV stations into a blind trust. Jimmy Carter sold his peanut farm. Both Clinton and Bush 43 put their businesses in blind trust. Obama took his entire stock portfolio and put it in Treasury bonds. Not Trump. He didn’t change a thing except to say that “Don and Eric and Ivanka will be running things.” As a result, every time Trump plays golf at his courses in West Palm Beach, Bedminster, or Washington, he’s putting money in his own pocket with free advertising, not to mention the cost of housing and feeding all the staff. “ (Page 228)
Above all, Trump is a sore loser. When he loses a wager no matter how small, he is extremely reluctant to pay up. When he lost a ten dollar bet, he offered the winner two five dollar bills that almost ripped in half when he did not let go. Another time, he claimed he had no cash and no checks to pay a fifty dollar bet. “ ‘That’s okay, I’ll take a bank draft. I’ll go get it.’ So, the guy gets in his car and gets a bank draft for $50, brings it back, and Trump signs it. Weeks later, Trump sees him, pissed off.
‘You cashed my check!’
‘Of course, I did.’
‘’Nobody cashes ever cashes my checks. They frame them!’” (Page 94)
Trump criticized Obama for playing an occasional game of golf and said he would not play the game at all if became president. Since he has become president, he has managed to play almost every day compared to Obama playing about once every nine or ten days. Trump tries to understate how often he plays but any sharp observer can see how he misrepresents what he actually does when you observe him wearing a golf glove at a photo op for example. Trump has even put playing a game of golf ahead of doing the nation’s business. Rick Kelly observes the biggest loser is Trump who does not really understand the joys of the game.
The reader should take care in perusing this book. The chapter on Trump’s shenanigans at the Trump Los Angele Golf Course at Rancho Palos Verdes was confusing because the author did not always make the connection clear in his story-telling. Also, I suspect here and there might be some factual errors. A big one is that Mar-a-Lago is located in the town of Palm Beach, not the city of Palm Beach. Despite these slight deficiencies, this book gives a good insight into our current leader.
If this book had been published much earlier, it might have changed the minds of a number of votes. If the man cheats at golf, can you trust him to manage the affairs of a nation? The way he plays the games personifies how he conducts his life and now that of the nation’s fate is in his hands.
’s business. Rick Kelly observes the biggest loser is Trump who does not really understand the joys of the game.
NYC Walks Blog 86 The First Golfer is a Sore Loser: Rick Reilly, Commander in Cheat: How Golf Explains Trump (New York: Hachette books, 2019) reviewed by Dr. Philip Ernest Schoenberg