Jewish Country Club Might Blackball Obama
Golf is so out of fashion that the only people who play it these days appear to be Presidents and billionaires. But what do Presidents and billionaires know, anyway?
From the New York Post:
By Daniel Halper January 10, 2017 | 9:49pm
President Obama’s clashes with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu may cost him a membership at an exclusive golf club, sources said.
Obama is looking to join the elite Woodmont Country Club in Maryland once he becomes a private citizen.
But members of the mostly Jewish club are at each other’s throats over whether to accept the golf-loving president, with many saying he deserves to be snubbed for not blocking an anti-Israel vote at the United Nations, according to the sources. …
“In light of the votes at the UN and the Kerry speech and everything else, there’s this major uproar with having him part of the club, and a significant portion of the club has opposed offering him membership,” a source told The Post.
Obama’s complimentary membership in the club — which charges regular members an $80,000 initiation fee — would have begun after he leaves the White House on Jan. 20, Inauguration Day.
The Obamas will continue to live in Washington, DC — and the Rockville club would offer a relaxing respite just miles from his new home. It would also offer a chance for Obama to hit the links on “two premiere golf courses . . . known across the country for their spectacular championship play and . . . rave reviews by golfers throughout the years,” according to the club’s Web site.
“It’s a very exclusive, high-end club,” a source said.
I’ve never heard of Woodmont’s golf courses, although it’s pretty common for Jewish clubs to be hyper-low profile. Back in the 1920s and 1930s, Jewish clubs frequently hosted major championships, but with the rise of civil rights consciousness, Jewish clubs largely stopped opening their courses up for tournaments with large numbers of spectators and media attention. To Woodmont’s credit, it holds local U.S. Open-qualifying annually.
Woodmont’s courses were designed by Alfred Tull, an obscure but competent golf course architect. It’s common for Jewish clubs to put more emphasis upon the dining room than the golf course. In general, Obama doesn’t have particularly discriminating taste in golf architecture, unlike Clinton or Trump, who both have refined their tastes considerably over the years. Washington DC isn’t a hotbed of great golf courses that way that, say, Philadelphia (Merion and Pine Valley) is.
In addition to the steep initiation fee, members must cough up $9,673 in annual dues.
“Originally, this was supposed to be a back-door thing to get this done and give him the membership — free of charge — and circumvent the rules,” said a source.
“But now, with the UN thing, they are not in position or likely to do it,” he added, saying the club is currently facing threats of potential lawsuits and litigation for breaching the bylaws to let Obama join.
Democrats and Republicans in the club both oppose waiving normal procedures for the soon-to-be ex-president, a source said.
While the club “probably skews more Republican than the Jewish community as a whole,” there are many prominent Democratic members, a number of whom supported Obama’s campaigns. But they might not support him now.
“Can you imagine how angry I would be if I had paid $80K to have to look at this guy who has done more to damage Israel than any president in American history?” an official in a Washington Jewish organization fumed to The Post.
“After the UN vote and attack on Israel, I think it probably hurts the club. If there is a club that excludes Jews, he would probably be more comfortable around those folks.”
Ironically, Woodmont was founded by the DC-area Jewish community in 1913 precisely because Jews were banned at other clubs.
Or perhaps Jews enjoyed the company of their fellow Jews and wished to facilitate their young marrying each other by providing a romantic country estate for socializing?
Obama first played there in September 2015 with aide Joe Paulson, former Deputy Secretary of State Tom Nides and John Shulman, head of the private equity firm Juggernaut Capital Partners.
From The Forward last summer:
Drew Gerber July 22, 2016
… 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, … 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.
When I researched the 21st Century Jewish obsession with hazily-remembered family stories of great-grandpa getting blackballed by country clubs, I discovered that many of those incidents actually involved old money German Jewish country clubs not letting in Al Czervik-like arriviste Russian Jews. Over the generations, the stories got retconned to blame gentiles.
… 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. …
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.