Donald Trump Installs Room-Sized Golf Simulator In The White House, At A Cost Of $50,000

The system allows him to play virtual golf at courses all over the world.

This is a stock photo of Donald Trump.
Leon Neal / Getty Images

The system allows him to play virtual golf at courses all over the world.

Donald Trump has installed a room-sized, computerized golf simulator at the White House, allowing him to virtually play golf at hundreds of golf courses around the world, without ever leaving the comfort of the White House private quarters.

As the Washington Post reports, an anonymous White House official, speaking on condition of anonymity, says that Trump paid approximately $50,000 of his own money for the system, one which he had installed in one of the private rooms of the White House reserved for the first family. Trump’s new system replaces an earlier, less-sophisticated virtual indoor golf system that had been installed by Barack Obama during his administration.

How does virtual golf work?

According to TruGolf, which itself installs and sells indoor virtual golf systems, most systems use basically the same setup. Standing on a patch of carpet or turf, and facing a screen onto which the system’s projector has projected an image of the hole the player is playing, the player tees up, swings the club, and launches the ball towards the screen. The screen, for what it’s worth, is made of cloth — which will absorb the impact of the ball and allow it to fall harmlessly to the floor.

A series of cameras above the player (more sophisticated systems have more cameras in more places) analyze the player’s club swing, as well as the direction and trajectory of the ball after the player strikes it. The computer then calculates where the ball would land, and projects a new image, simulating the ball’s drop and allowing the player to continue play from there.

The prices of the systems can vary from as little as a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars. The price is largely dependent on the number of cameras, the computer’s processing power, the size of the screen, whether the system is portable or permanently installed, and a host of other factors.

Trump’s golfing and “executive time.”

Washington Post writers David A. Fahrenthold and Josh Dawsey point out that Trump has devoted quite a bit of his presidency to both golf, and to what he calls “executive time.”

Specifically, they point out that Trump has played golf 139 times as president, mostly at courses he owns. Further, they note that Trump’s schedule is about 60 percent “executive time,” which is unstructured time in which he has nothing on his schedule and instead tweets, watches TV, or holds impromptu meetings.

Trump has not used his new golf simulator during his “executive time,” says the White House aide.