FOR the average Joe to play a round of golf with Tiger Woods, it would cost their life savings.
But don’t think it’s any cheaper for the President of the United States, with reports Barack Obama once billed US taxpayers nearly $AU5 million for a golfing getaway.
In February 2013, President Obama enjoyed a four-day excursion to an exclusive resort near West Palm Beach, Florida to play a round with the 14-time Major champion. Houston Astros owner Jim Crane, US trade representative Ron Kirk and fundraiser Tony Chase joined Obama on the trip.
While he was at the ultra-private Floridian Yacht and Golf Club, Obama also had golf lessons with renowned instructor Butch Harmon and his son Claude Harmon III.
The total cost of the trip, according to Government Accountability Office (GAO) filings, was $US 3.6 million.
Findings in the audit said the whopping bill primarily came from the $200,000-an-hour operation of Air Force One, the necessary convoy of “supporting aircraft and US Coast Guard small boats,” and daily costs – as well as the travel expenses for Pentagon and Homeland Security staff.
After delivering a speech in Chicago on Friday, February 15, Obama chartered Air Force One to Florida. The getaway also involved six additional military transport planes flying eight missions with at least 22 total flight legs, involving 14 commercial airports and Air Force bases. Meanwhile, the Coast Guard spent about $586,000 to provide support for the President’s trip. Obama returned to Washington on Monday, February 18.
Of the $US 3.6 million ($AU4,744,614), the Pentagon spent at least $2.8 million, while the Homeland Security Department contributed $767,000, which included about $180,000 for the Secret Service.
“According to White House officials, to be able to communicate instantly with the US military, the President flies on military aircraft whenever he travels — whether for official, political, or other non-official reasons,” GAO said.
Wyoming Republican senator John Barrasso requested the audit and slammed the President for the costly sojourn.
“At a time when the government was tightening its belt to prepare for sequestration, President Obama had such little disregard for the taxpayer that he spent millions of dollars to play golf with Tiger Woods,” Mr Barrasso said. “This arrogance is par for the course for the Obama administration.”