Obamas`s Golf Handicap: 16

That`s Barack Obama`s golf handicap, according to Golf Digest`s new list of the top 200 golfers in Washington. A 16 puts him 123rd on the list, but in pretty good shape among elected officials. That`s because the top end of the list is dominated by lobbyists, such as #8, Jeff Becker, president of the Beer Institute and a 2.2 handicap, suggesting he does a lot of Beer Institute business on the golf course, and then in the 19th hole after his round. He is a man, I would guess, who feels that he has found his calling in life.

Among elected officials, Obama is tied for 37th, and tied for 15th among Democrats. His handicap is without a decimal place, so it`s not USGA official. In other words, bet on super-lobbyist Vernon Jordan with an official 16.1 handicap rather than Barack Obama with a fuzzy “estimated” 16. Still, a 16 is a good handicap, saying you ought to be shooting in the 80s on a good day, and have a chance at the 70s once in a blue moon.

Obama is well-positioned to succeed George W. Bush, who is a 15. Neither McCain nor either Clinton show up on the list. Bill Clinton claimed to be around a 12 handicap, but was notorious for not following the precise Rules of Golf. Clinton played so much golf as President that his handicap improved while he was in office (or perhaps the playing partners writing down his score became more fawning).

Eisenhower averaged just under 100 days per year as President in which he teed off. I recall reading that Clinton`s ambition was to break what he had heard was Eisenhower`s record of 103 rounds in one year during 2000, his final year in office. I don`t know if he accomplished this.

In case you are wondering, among the 27 elected officials on the Top 100 (handicap index of 13.5 or better) are 15 Republicans and 12 Democrats.

The top woman on the list is Republican pollster Linda Divall at an outstanding 1.9. Second best woman is former NJ governor Christine Todd Whitman at 15.5. Condoleeza Rice is a 22.

T best name for a lobbyist on the list is AT&T`s “federal relations” guy, Lyndon Boozer (15.0)