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Trump hasn't let the presidency get in the way of his golf game

President Donald Trump, after years of slamming former President Barack Obama for golfing, comes to the end of a year in office having spent close to 100 days at a golf club that bears his name.

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Dan Merica (CNN)
WASHINGTON (CNN) — President Donald Trump, after years of slamming former President Barack Obama for golfing, comes to the end of a year in office having spent close to 100 days at a golf club that bears his name.

The President's favorite haunts are International Golf Club in Palm Beach County, Florida, Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Virginia, and Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey -- spending 95 days in his first year as President at one of his signature golf clubs. In total, Trump has also spent 120 days while in office -- nearly one-third of the time -- at a property he owns, including Trump Tower in New York and his hotel blocks from the White House.

All presidents take vacations and almost all over the last century golfed during their time in office. What makes Trump unique, however, is the fact that as a private citizen he regularly slammed Obama for hitting the links while president.

"Can you believe that, with all of the problems and difficulties facing the U.S., President Obama spent the day playing golf," Trump tweeted in 2014. "Worse than Carter."

Trump also used golf as a way to attack Obama during his 2016 campaign.

"I'm going to be working for you. I'm not going to have time to go play golf," Trump said in August 2016 on the campaign trail.

To date, though, Trump is on track to surpass Obama's golf total. According to CBS News' Mark Knoller, who covered Obama and tracked his golf habits, the 44th president played 333 rounds of golf as president.

It's not golf - it's work?

Though it isn't clear how many rounds Trump has played -- his staff rarely confirms whether the commander in chief is golfing and some have gone to great lengths to obscure the President's golf game -- it is possible Trump could surpass that total in his first term as President.

Trump also criticized Obama for not using the golf course as a way to build relationships with lawmakers in Washington, including Republicans.

"I don't mind that @BarackObama plays a lot of golf," Trump tweeted in 2012. "I just wish he used it productively to make deals with Congress!"

Though Trump has used his golf game to foster relationships with other lawmakers, the majority of his outings have been more personal the professional.

Of the 95 times Trump has visited a golf course that bears his name, he has golfed at least 7 times with a member of the United States Senate: twice with Sen. Rand Paul, thrice with Sen. Lindsey Graham, once with Sen. Bob Corker and once with Sen. David Perdue.

All are Republicans. It doesn't appear that Trump golfed with a Democratic lawmaker during his first year in office.

The White House has declined to provide reporters with a readout of people Trump has golfed with.

It is also unclear how much Trump's frequent visits to the golf courses cost, especially visits to Mar-a-Lago and Trump International Golf Club in Florida.

A group of Democratic senators asked the Government Accountability Office to review security and site-related travel expenses to Trump's visits earlier this year. The organization, according to spokesman Charles Young, plans to release that information this spring.

Favorite spots

Trump is again expected to travel this weekend to Mar-a-Lago, his private club in Palm Beach, Florida, where he regularly visits his nearby golf club. Trump has spent 49 days as President at his private Florida club, where friends and advisers say the businessman-turned-politician feels most comfortable and at home.

When the weather in South Florida turned hot and muggy over the summer, Trump ventured north to the familiar confines of his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey. Trump spent a total of 40 days at the club, including a number of work-filled days in August when he held meetings with cabinet officials and called world leaders.

Closer to the White House, Trump has visited Trump National Golf Club in Northern Virginia 23 times and has made frequent trips to Trump International Hotel, his recently opened property just blocks from the White House on Pennsylvania Avenue.

Critics have slammed Trump's frequent visits to his properties, arguing they allow the businessman to boost the bottom line at The Trump Organization and give his properties a presidential stamp of approval. Though Trump transferred his businesses holdings to a trust run by his sons before taking office in 2017, he stopped short of selling off his holdings and still could benefit from money flowing into his properties.

"The President's incessant exploitation of his office to promote his properties is unprecedented in American history," said Norm Eisen, the chair of the left-leaning Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and a CNN contributor. CREW and other organizations have sued Trump on a host of issues pertaining to his visits to properties that bear his name.

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