President Obama talks politics the old-fashioned way — over golf

President Barack Obama is spending the early days of 2014 in Hawaii, partaking in one of his favorite pastimes — golf.

Cory Lum-Pool

 

President Barack Obama rounded up a new golf partner Thursday: New Zealand Prime Minister John Key.

The two leaders teed off on a sunny and breezy morning at a course at a military base on Oahu, the Hawaiian island where Obama is renting a vacation home. Key owns a home in Hawaii.

The golf outing put Key in rarified company. Obama is an avid golfer, but prefers to limit his playing partners to a close circle of friends and advisers. Among those who have also scored invitations to play with Obama in the past are former President Bill Clinton and House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio.

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Rounding out the foursome Thursday were Max Key, the prime minister’s teenage son, and Marvin Nicholson, Obama’s personal aide.

Media access to Obama’s rounds is typically restricted, though reporters and photographers were permitted to briefly watch the two leaders Thursday.

The foursome pulled up to the green on the second hole in two golf carts, with the president and prime minister driving together. Obama’s first putt was short of the hole and his second landed just wide. Rather than putt a third time, he opted for a gimme shot, where all players agree to count a shot as made rather than take another stroke.

After the younger Key sank his putt, Obama gave him a high-five and joked, "He’s doing it in front of the cameras, too."

Key has served as New Zealand’s prime minister since 2008.