By Richard Animam

On the campaign trail,     President Barack Obama was always trying to squeeze in a game of pickup basketball, but since he’s been in Washington, golf has become the first pastime.

According to Time Magazine’s Michael Scherer, Obama has played virtually every weekend this summer, sometimes with Vice President Joe Biden and other times with a collection of aides and friends. The stakes are low ($1 a hole) but the game is serious. No mulligans or long gimme putts, and the president will play out a hole until the bitter end, even if it means putting a 10 or an 11 on his card, according to one aide.

As in basketball, Obama is a trash-talk enthusiast who tries to get into the heads of his opponents and sucker them into taking more difficult shots. “He is very strategic about his use of it,” says Eugene Kang, the 25-year-old White House special-projects coordinator, who played with the President at Andrews Air Force Base in late June. “It’s always fun to make the putt and give him a nice little look at the end.”Time’s Scherer reports that estimates of Obama’s handicap range from 16 to 24, and he outlines the areas where Obama’s game needs work:  [Obama] is still struggling to master his new hybrid woods. He putts solidly and is working on his bunker shots, once an Achilles’ heel.


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