William Howard Taft, Golfer

William Howard Taft Golfing
William Howard Taft, golfer

William Howard Taft was our first presidential golfer. I found this photo in the Library of Congress archives. It dates to 1909, and is on an unidentified course. The course might be the Chevy Chase Country Club, which Taft frequented.

Pictured are (left to right)

James Sherman, Taft’s Vice President. Sherman holds the unenviable distinction of being the last vice president to die in office.

Archibald Butt, a military aide to both presidents Taft and Theodore Roosevelt. He holds the unenviable distinction of having gone down with the Titanic.

Clarence Ransom Edwards, a career military officer who at that point was serving as chief of the Bureau of Insular Affairs. He survived WWI, and died in 1931 of natural causes.

Finally, on the far right is Taft. Taft was defeated in the 1912 election by Woodrow Wilson. He was named to the Supreme Court in 1921 by fellow Ohioan Warren G. Harding.

Taft apparently played to a 20 handicap. At one point, he played in a match with Alan Lard against Walter Travis and Sherman. On another occasion, he teamed with Travis against Butt and Edwards.

Taft served as honorary chairman of the 1913 U.S. Open, in which Francis Ouimet stunned the golf world with his victory at Brookline Country Club. You can see an actor portraying Taft in the movie, The Greatest Game Ever Played.

Taft Golfing
Taft Golfing
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