Eisenhower always enjoyed sports and the outdoors. At a 1958 press conference he said, “…there are three that I like all for the same reason, golf, fishing, and shooting, and I do because first, they take you into the fields. There is mild exercise, the kind that an older individual probably should have. And on top of it, it induces you to take at any one time 2 or 3 hours…where you are thinking of the bird or that ball or the wily trout.”
The Gettysburg farm allowed him to pursue his love of the outdoors, whether walking the farm fields or checking his Angus cattle. Ike hunted pheasant and quail in the fields. He honed his shooting skills at his skeet and trap range, regularly breaking 20 out of 25 clay birds. A fly fisherman, Ike often traveled from Gettysburg to a trout stream at nearby Camp David to pursue his hobby. He met his five brothers in Wisconsin for an annual fishing trip.
As President, Eisenhower popularized the game of golf. Whether practicing his skills on the putting greens at his farm or the White House, or playing a round at the Gettysburg Country Club, Burning Tree or Augusta National, Eisenhower thoroughly enjoyed the game. He played golf several times a week if his schedule permitted it. Like so many of Eisenhower’s leisure pursuits, golf gave him a chance to relax, even as he considered pressing problems.
Eisenhower was also an excellent student of the Battle of Gettysburg and enjoyed walking the battlefield. According to Mamie he knew “every rock out there.” As president, Ike gave battlefield tours to visiting world leaders and World War II associates, as well as family and friends. In retirement Eisenhower delivered the address for the ceremonies commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg and Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.