Obama on friendly confines of golf course as vacation starts

HONOLULU Sat Dec 21, 2013 11:28pm EST

1 of 2. U.S. President Barack Obama departs his vacation home in Kailua, Hawaii December 21, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

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HONOLULU (Reuters) - President Barack Obama, hopeful of some rest and relaxation after a bruising year in politics, wasted little time getting his golf game in gear on the first full day of a two-week end-of-year family vacation to his home state of Hawaii.

The first golfer hit the links early Saturday afternoon at a Marine Base course on the Mokapu Peninsula, a golf-club shaped piece of land jutting into the Pacific Ocean not far from the Obamas' rented holiday house.

Onlookers lined up along the road to catch a glimpse of the president's motorcade en route to the links. A smiling Obama was spotted in his SUV wearing a tan baseball cap, white golf shirt, and sunglasses.

Obama's foursome comprised Bobby Titcomb, a long-time friend; Marvin Nicholson, one of the president's schedulers; and Sam Kass, a White House chef who is executive director of the Lets Move! program, First Lady Michelle Obama's fitness initiative.

Titcomb, who attended school with Obama in the 1970s, was arrested in 2011 in an undercover prostitution sting, and later pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge.

There was no immediate word on the president's golf score. Obama is an avid golfer who plays off a respectable handicap of 16 or 17, and is estimated to have logged more than 150 rounds since being elected president.

(Reporting by Ikaika Hussey; Writing by Ros Krasny; Editing by Eric Walsh)

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