RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. » President Barack Obama is spending the holiday weekend working on his golf game in Southern California.
Obama arrived in the desert resort area of Palm Springs on Saturday morning after a short flight from San Francisco and went straight to the golf course on the grounds of the Sunnylands retreat in nearby Rancho Mirage.
He played several rounds on the nine-hole course with Bobby Titcomb and Greg Orme, childhood friends from Hawaii who flew in to meet the president. Marty Nesbitt, one of Obama’s friends from Chicago, rounded out the foursome, the White House said.
The president had no public events scheduled during his weekend getaway from the White House. He was expected to spend most of his daylight hours swinging golf clubs in the desert heat, as he has done on visits to the area in each of the past two years.
Obama departed Sunnylands after about five and a half hours and retired to the nearby home of interior designer Michael Smith, where Obama is staying during the weekend. Smith redecorated the Oval Office for Obama. Smith’s partner, James Costos, is the U.S. ambassador to Spain.
Obama is becoming a regular at Sunnylands retreat.
Saturday’s visit was his fourth to the sprawling estate once owned by the late publishing tycoon Walter Annenberg since 2013, when Obama first visited after inviting Chinese President Xi Jinping there for two days of talks.
The timing of Obama’s golf vacation couldn’t have been better. He stepped off of Air Force One into 80-degree, blue-sky weather as the District of Columbia region endured a Valentine’s Day blast of bitter cold air, powerful winds and snow.
Obama traveled to Southern California without his wife, Michelle, or their daughters, Malia and Sasha.
At the end of Saturday’s weekly address, Obama wished his wife a happy Valentine’s Day, and she tweeted a similar message and photograph to him later in the day. There was no word from the White House on how the first lady was spending the weekend.
Obama has been in California since Thursday. On Friday, he addressed a White House summit on cybersecurity and consumer protection at Stanford University. He also courted Democratic Party donors in San Francisco and joined friends and senior aides for a restaurant dinner.
Obama is scheduled to return to Washington on Monday — Presidents Day, a federal holiday.
On Wednesday and Thursday, Obama will participate in the second White House summit in as many weeks — this one dedicated to countering violent extremism. He also plans a quick trip back home to Chicago on Thursday to dedicate a national monument followed by an address Friday at the Democratic National Committee’s annual winter meeting in Washington.