Title

Don’t Ask What I Shot: How Eisenhower’s Love of Golf Helped Shape 1950s America

Department

History & Philosophy

Document Type

Book

Publication Date

2007

Abstract

“Golf . . . is a sport in which the whole American family can participate--fathers and mothers, sons and daughters alike. It offers healthy respite from daily toil, refreshment of body and mind.”
--President Dwight D. Eisenhower

On January 24, 1953, four days after his inauguration, the New York Times reported that President Dwight D. Eisenhower had been spotted on the White House lawn practicing his short irons in the direction of the Washington Monument. This image of “The Golfing General” was one that the American public quickly became accustomed to, as Eisenhower is said to have played nearly 800 rounds during the course of his two-term presidency. He befriended the game's most beloved players, including Arnold Palmer, Ben Hogan, and Byron Nelson, and was the subject of hundreds of golf jokes and cartoons.

The public's awareness of Eisenhower's obsession with golf led directly to the sport's mid-century surge in popularity. In Don't Ask What I Shot, noted historian Catherine M. Lewis offers a unique alternate portrait of Ike and this watershed period in American history.