President Trump's relationship with golf

Before he was president, Donald Trump more than once tweeted criticism of then-President Barack Obama's love for golf, suggesting he should be working instead. 

Still, President Trump has spent all or part of 96 days at a golf club so far as president, according to CBS News White House Correspondent Mark Knoller, although the White House often does not confirm whether he is playing. Obama would eventually play 333 rounds of golf as president, but only 26 by the end of his first year in office, according to Knoller's count.

As CBS News Chief White House Correspondent Major Garrett pointed out Tuesday, after Mr. Trump golfed each day at his club Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, for the holidays, Mr. Trump has handled his golf game a little differently than past presidents. Mr. Trump may be one of the most skilled presidents when it comes to golf, Garrett said. But the president has insisted he "couldn't care less about golf."

The president's golf game is sometimes kept secret for reasons the White House declines to discuss. Oftentimes, the president's motorcade travels to one of Mr. Trump's golf courses, press pool in tow, without the White House even acknowledging he is golfing, let alone sharing with whom he was golfing or allow for photos. Obama and former President George W. Bush, on the other hand, often told the press where they were golfing, with whom, and occasionally allowed photographs, Garrett noted. 

"Frequently we have no idea whether or not the president is playing golf or taking meetings or doing some combination of the two. This is a much less transparent administration when it comes to what the president is doing at his own golf clubs," Garrett said. 

In Florida over the holidays, the White House shared when Mr. Trump played with some pro golfers and invited members of the U.S. Coast Guard to one of the president's golf courses. But during the same trip, a white truck was positioned in a way that obscured the media's view of the course and the president. 

Sometimes, the only images of the president golfing are from members of his private clubs who post to Instagram. 

Asked what the White House's issue is with releasing information about his golf game on Tuesday during the daily press briefing, Sanders pointed back to the press.

"I think it's the press that has an issue with his time on the course," Sanders said. "The president is extremely proud of the accomplishments we had during 2017. I don't think anyone can argue it was probably one of the most successful first years in office: Passed major legislation, reworked the court system, and got a Supreme Court justice nominated and approved and on the bench in the first year; a booming economy; massive gains against the war on ISIS. I think we've had an extremely successful 2017, and some of that is due to the relationship-building that he was able to do there."

Sanders added that the White House will "provide information when it's pertinent to the day, and we'll continue to do that." 

The president's greatest success from time spent golfing in 2017 came in the form of improved relationships with members of Congress, Sanders said. 

"I think it would certainly be developing deeper and better relationships with members of Congress in which those relationships have helped push forward the president's agenda, specifically when it comes to helping get the tax reform and tax cuts passed," Sanders said. "A lot of that, I think, and the success of that came from the strong relationships that the president has. And he's played golf with a number of senators and used that time, certainly, to accomplish that."

Mr. Trump has played golf with Senators Rand Paul, Lindsey Graham and Bob Corker, as well as other politicians.

— CBS News' Mark Knoller and Kathryn Watson contributed to this report