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Ed Smoot sizes up his daughter's new boss's swing

President Obama waves to fellow golfers as he plays a round of golf in Martha's Vineyard last summer. (Reuters/Jason Reed)

So, how will incoming social secretary Julianna Smoot influence the White House? Maybe President Obama's golf game will improve.

The president took up golf in earnest last spring and spent almost every weekend working on his game. Now he has an in-house expert on call: Ed Smoot, Julianna's father and a retired golf pro.

The two men got to know each other during the campaign, and Obama called Smoot on Super Tuesday to wish him well before a triple bypass. Nine months later, Smoot was in Chicago. "He invited me to play the night he was elected," Smoot told us on Monday. "I said, 'Mr. President, whenever you want, give me a call.'."

As a club pro in Clinton, N.C., Smoot taught his three daughters to play the game -- although Julianna, the oldest, doesn't golf as well as her two younger sisters. ("She was more into tennis," said Dad.) Still, the new social secretary can be added to the very short list of administration women skilled enough to join a presidential foursome -- adviser Melody Barnes played with Obama in October.

Julianna Smoot in July 2007, when she was finance director of the Obama campaign. (Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post)

When he's in D.C., Smoot and middle daughter Sarah Feighery (mid-90s handicap) like the course at Hains Point and hope to someday play 18 holes at Congressional Country Club. "His short game is very good," said the Alexandria resident. "He's a really good teacher because he's really patient."

Smoot, 67, said he has been reading about Obama's game and admits he could probably pass on a few tips -- but only if asked. "He's got big hands, so I don't know if he has oversized grips or not. I'm real big on grip: If it's not right, you're not going to get a good shot."

By The Reliable Source  |  March 2, 2010; 1:03 AM ET
Categories:  44: Obama's Washington , Politics  
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I hope Sara Feighry does not have "mid 90's handicap". More likely she shoots in the mid 90's making her handicap in the mid 20's.

Posted by: wleffi | March 2, 2010 10:28 AM | Report abuse

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