“What am I going to do in D.C. for two years…I can’t golf every day can I?”
It’s a question President Barack Obama playfully ponders in a skit video for the 2016 White House Correspondents Dinner. But as his final term as president comes to an end, Washington golfers have already begun to speculate about which country club Obama will choose to join — and apparently a historically Jewish club is the best bet.
Politico’s Mike Allen wrote that “the smart money” is on Woodmont Country Club in Rockville, Maryland. Allen wrote that other D.C. country clubs such as the Burning Tree Club and Chevy Chase Country Club are unlikely choices due to a history of discrimination and a “snooty” feel.
“How cool is it that the first African American president of the United States may well be joining a country club originally established because Jews couldn’t get in anywhere else?” asked Ronald Halber, the executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington, D.C.
Founded by members of D.C.’s German-Jewish community in 1913, the then-Town and Country Club moved to the site of the current National Library of Medicine in Bethesda, Maryland, after its membership grew too large for the District. Named the Woodmont Country Club in 1930 after a farm that used to sit on the land, it was the only club before the 1950s in the D.C.-area that would accept Jews as members, according to the now-defunct Gazette newspaper. By 1950, the club was pressured by the U.S. government to move so that it could expand the National Institutes of Health.
Today, the club sits on nearly 460 acres in Rockville, where members can golf, swim and play tennis after full member initiation fees of $80,000. And, according to its website, the Woodmont Country Club has won “Best Place for a Bar/Bat Mitzvah” in every Bethesda Magazine readers’ poll since 2011.
“We’d be honored to have the president at the club as a member,” Brian Pizzimenti, the CEO and general manager of Woodmont Country Club, told the Forward. “We’re glad to have offered [Obama] fun and relaxation.”
Obama is a well-known fan of the game, which is not news to his critics. Since he took office in 2008, Obama has played around 296 rounds of golf, according to a July White House pool report. CNN reported that Obama is the 15th of the last 18 presidents to play golf, and his love for the game rivals that of “avid golfer” President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
The president and his family will continue to live in the Washington, D.C., area while his youngest daughter, Sasha, finishes high school at the selective Sidwell Friends school.