Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Camp David golf hole near the Aspen Lodge - 1961

There is no golf course at Camp David.  There is a driving range near the helicopter landing zone and there is a single golf hole with multiple tees just outside the President's Aspen Lodge.

Wanting to enjoy his favorite game at Camp David, President Eisenhower asked golf architect Robert Trent Jones to design a golf hole modeled after greens at his favorites golf courses: Augusta National and Burning Tree.

This 1955 Sports Illustrated graphic shows four tees

Just about every source on the internet states that the golf hole has three tees.  However, I came across a Sports Illustrated article written in 1955 that describes a hole with four tees.  According to the article, Jones had about 140 yards to work with.  He built a green and created four tees: 
  • Tee #1: 100 yards distant and 15 feet above the level of the green 
  • Tee #2: 140 yards distant, 20 feet above
  • Tee #3: 120 yards distant, 20 feet below
  • Tee #4:   80 yards distant and 15 feet below

White House photographers took approximately 290,000 photos while President Ford was in office.  The Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library is in the process of digitizing all of the photo contact sheets.  So far, they have completed the year 1974.  Lucky for us, President Ford spent Labor Day Weekend at Camp David in 1974.  Here are some photos of him playing golf that weekend.

President Ford playing golf at Camp David on Labor Day Weekend - 1974

President Ford playing golf with Mike Ford at Camp David - June 1975

The McDonald Design Group of Jessup, MD lists the "Camp David Presidential Retreat" as one of their clients.  According to their website, the "Renovation of the short game practice facility" was completed in 1996.  That explains why the satellite image of the Camp David golf green shows a different layout than the one above pictured in Sports Illustrated.
Driving range is located in the helicopter landing zone 

President Eisenhower had a driving range built near the helicopter landing zone.  On the photo to the right, you can see the 250 yard marker in the left background.

The PEI Online Journal reports that New Jersey based Savage Associates were contracted to bury the above-ground fueling system near the Camp David helicopter landing zone because President Clinton kept hitting it with a golf ball.

Related post: I wrote about the tradition of driving golf carts around Camp David in another post.

President George W. Bush throwing a baseball in front of the Aspen golf hole - October 2001

Google Maps satellite view of the Camp David golf green

Google Maps satellite view of the driving range / helicopter landing area at Camp David

Sources:  John F. Kennedy Presidential Library; Eisenhower Presidential Library; Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library; Sports Illustrated; PEI Online Journal; McDonald Design Group; whitehouse.gov; Google Maps; National Archives


  1. Why doesn't Obama use the Camp David golf course? He can practice his swings and putts all he wants and it doesn't cost the American people millions of dollars; just a helicopter ride, then he could get right back to the WH and go back to work. That's a novel idea, isn't it?

    1. Of course, because "just a helicopter ride" for our president costs less than that, not to mention all of the preparations and staff that would need to be called up in order for the President to go to Camp David. Novel thinking, isn't it?

    2. Seems like a stupid question now that Trump is in office...lol

    3. How bout that Trump, eh? Spends every weekend at camp David....oh wait! No he doesn't! He spends millions of tax dollars every weekend while he and his wife and kid are ferried up and down the East Coast to golf courses, where he charges his Secret Service agents to rent golf carts so they can protect him. But something tells me those of you who b!tched about Obama golfing SUDDENLY don't care about presidential golf anymore.

  2. Looks like they have skeet and trap also. Looks like it would be a very nice weekend getaway.

    1. Let's keep Cheney away from the Skeet and Trap, shall we?