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Video footage offers rare behind-the-scenes look at Trump on the golf course

January 2, 2018

UPDATE: On Tuesday afternoon the video cited in this article was made unavailable. 

In a vlog posted to his YouTube page, professional golfer Taylor Funk gave a rare behind-the-scenes look into a round with President Trump. He also came away impressed with Trump’s game.

Although the president has faced criticism in some camps for his holiday golf — after tweeting on Christmas that it was time to get “back to work,” he took to the course the next seven days — he continues to find high approval ratings in the professional golf world.

His game certainly showed promise to Funk, who noted that the president shot a “legit” even-par 36 on the front nine before tiring slightly on the second nine.

“He actually played well; I was very surprised,” Funk told CNN on Tuesday morning. “He shot even par on the front and played decent on the back, too. He’s definitely a lot better than I thought he was going to be.” Funk continued: “He’s a good player, he’s a lot of fun to play with. Just very engaging, and really I don’t have a bad thing to say about our round. It was amazing.”

Funk also sent out a picture on Twitter just after his round on Jan. 1 with the caption “#maga.”

The footage was particularly noteworthy because despite Trump’s frequent golf outings, the White House often declines to provide information about the president’s playing partners or whether he is even playing golf. Last week, a large box truck attempted to prevent CNN cameras from capturing footage of Trump on the course, and trees were later planted to make it more difficult to see onto the course in that spot.

But Funk seemed able to record video fairly freely. Despite a shot early in the vlog where Trump appears to tell Funk not to film him inside, Taylor continued to capture footage throughout the round, including two videos of Trump’s swing.

The group played in a fivesome at Trump International, the president’s course in West Palm Beach, Fla. In their match, Trump teamed up with Taylor’s father, eight-time PGA Tour winner Fred Funk. Taylor’s partners included 13-year-old Allan Kournikova, whose older sister Anna Kournikova was a high-profile tennis pro, and Richard Levine, a longtime friend and frequent golf partner of the president.

Trump seemed impressed with the game of the younger Funk, who played at the University of Texas and is early in his pro career. “So I’m hitting a 4-iron and he’s hitting a sand wedge, there’s something not good about that,” Trump says in the video.

Funk summarized his experience at the end of the video with a grin. “Amazing day, Amazing guy very engaging, very thoughtful. Asked a lot of questions, wanted to know how he could be a better golfer, a better president.”