Golf memorabilia belonging to George H.W. Bush and JFK sell for $30,000

Story highlights

Golf items of former US presidents up for auction

Memorabilia belonged to George H.W. Bush

John F. Kennedy golf ball up for sale

CNN  — 

If you spend $30,000 on a pair of shoes, you would expect to be purchasing the latest high-end fashion.

However, on the day the US decided to elect Donald Trump as its next president, a Boston-based auction house sold a collection of golfing memorabilia that once belonged to George H.W. Bush and John F. Kennedy – including a pair of the former’s well-worn golf shoes.

Playing golf is quite the pastime if you’re a US president. Barack Obama has played hundreds of rounds of golf since his 2008 election and all but three presidents since the start of the 20th century have regularly taken to the course during their time at the White House.

President-elect Trump is a golfing fanatic and owns a string of courses around the world.

READ: Turnberry rolls out red carpet for Trump

“Presidents play golf to relax,” Robert Livingstone, executive vice-president at RR Auction, told CNN.

“The stress of that office, to be able to go out … that’s the great thing about golf, isn’t it? You go out and you play for three hours or so and you can escape the pressures of being the commander in chief.”

george bush putter


Bush, who served from 1989 to 1993, was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in recognition of his “Lifetime Achievement,” such is his love for the sport.

His Titleist Scotty Cameron “Big Sur” chest putter – with “George Bush” engraved on the face in white text – was the highlight of the lot.

It also included a Callaway “Big Bertha” golf bag with a Cape Arundel Golf Club membership tag, engraved “President George H. W. Bush, Member” and several golf balls bearing his signature or presidential seal along with a golf ball used by JFK.

Read: Tiger Woods targets competitive return in December

“The presidents need to be playing golf, it’s one of those symbolic things that tells you the personality of a president,” Livingstone explains.

According to Livingstone, until a couple of years ago, Bush would throw himself out of an airplane and sky dive every year on his birthday.

“I don’t think of him as this athlete but he did play college baseball at Yale, so he was always an athletic man,” added Livingstone.

“So it’s another personal item that reflects that and elevates your understanding of a man’s personality – that’s what a golf archive does.”

Read: How golf took over the White House

jfk golf ball

A previous auction at RR also included a golf ball set which once belonged to JFK – it sold for more than $30,000 – and though Livingstone originally estimated the current collection would fetch a more modest sum of just over $5,000, it matched the previous sale almost to the dollar.

Read: ‘You’re either a champion or you’re nothing’

“Kennedy was such an avid golfer,” Livingstone says. “He would often practice on the White House lawn and we’ve had golf balls with John F. Kennedy’s name engraved on them … or sometimes his would just say ‘The President.’

“And so those are probably the most valuable golf-related items that we get, are the ones related to JFK.

Visit for more news and videos

“Some of them are actually scooped up by White House workers that would keep them as souvenirs because he would leave them on the lawn.”