Presidents Play Golf Because They Are Powerful, Rich Men

tundNewsweek published this story under the headline of “The Sunny World of Palm Springs” on March 28, 1977. In light of recent events involving President Donald Trump and his 17-day working vacation at his golf club, Newsweek is republishing the story.

The little white golf ball plunked into a cup on the lush greens of the Indian Wells Country Club one recent noon-time. “Nice shot!” shouted retired sportsman Gerald Ford, 63, to his close fiend Fred Wilson a millionaire insurance executive. Then the foursome, which included two other wealthy insurance men from the Midwest, knocked off for char-broiled hamburgers delivered to their golf carts mid-course.

Gerald Ford is only nine weeks removed from the White House, but it might as well be light-years. The lush life of Palm Springs, a blooming oasis in the California desert, is one most Americans would die for. And the ex-president, operating out of a leased $375,000 hill-side home, spends his days lowering his golf score (now in the mid-80s) and finding partners who can match his relentless enthusiasm. “I can’t take it every day,” jokes former ambassador to Belgium Leonard K. Firestone another Ford friend and soon-to-be neighbor.

Palm Spring has been a winter vacation spot for every president since Dwight D. Eisenhower, and the fact that Jerry and Betty Ford have retired there is hardly surprising. While he can commute among the area’s 37 golf courses, she is free to let the hot, dry climate soothe her chronic arthritis. And since the town has long catered to celebrities, the Fords are expected to fit in easily. Nor should they have difficulty finding friends. Their neighbors, like them, are mostly older, conservative, sports-minded—and uniformly successful.

Showplace: What Palm Springs offers its 28,000 people is near-perfect weather, plenty of privacy and a leisurely pace. Only 100 miles east of Los Angeles—15 minutes by…

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