News & Politics

Who Does Obama Golf With?

Here’s a guide to Obama’s three most frequent golf companions

This summer, President Obama (estimated handicap: 17) is losing a regular golfing partner: White House staffer Ben Finkenbinder is returning to Chicago to work on the reelection campaign. Never heard of him? The First Duffer’s preferred foursome is filled out by lower-level administration staffers, people not known much beyond the Andrews Air Force Base links.


Day Job:

Assistant White House press secretary—a.k.a. press “wrangler,” who gathers reporters for events and trips
Salary: $50,000
Age: 26
Parents: Son of David Finkenbinder, former executive vice president of the National Mining Association
Hometown: Bethesda
Alma Mater: Macalester College
2004 Campaign Role: Knocked on Minnesota doors for John Kerry ’04.
Handicap (According to Golf Digest): 7
Golf Background: Played in college.
Fun Fact: On the ’08 presidential campaign, he arrived by 3 each morning to begin compiling news clips.



Day Job: Now White House senior policy adviser for manufacturing; formerly energy-efficiency adviser to Energy Secretary Steven Chu
Salary: $92,001
Age: 29
Parents: Son of Lucinda Lee Katz, former director of University of Chicago Laboratory School, which Obama’s daughters attended pre–White House
Hometown: Chicago
Alma Mater: University of Michigan; Stanford (MBA)
2004 Campaign Role: Was Obama’s campaign photographer beginning with his US Senate run.
Handicap (According to Golf Digest): 1.8
Fun Fact: On election night 2008, Katz released 82 behind-the-scenes photos of the Obama family on Flickr.

See Also:

Learn to Golf: Seven Great Courses and the Equipment You Need

Golf Instructors in Washington



Day Job:
White House trip director, who runs every detail of the President’s movements
Salery: $130,000
Age: 39
Parents: His American-born mother, Liz Beatty, and stepfather live in North Saanich, British Columbia.
Hometown: Toronto
Alma Mater: University of Western Ontario
2004 Campaign Role: Was Kerry’s “body man,” or personal aide.
Handicap (According to Golf Digest): 8
Golf Background: Has extensive caddying experience in Vancouver and at Augusta National.
Fun Fact: While working for Kerry, he carried business cards that proclaimed him “chief of stuff.

This article appears in the August 2011 issue of The Washingtonian.

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