On first full day in Hawaii, Obama hits the links with friends

(Image: Aaron Michael Tom/Facebook)
(Image: Aaron Michael Tom/Facebook)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)

KAILUA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Barack Obama kicked off his final Hawaii vacation as president Saturday with -- what else? -- a relaxing round of golf with friends.

Golf is among the president's favorite pastimes during his Christmas vacations in the islands, and this one is proving to be no exception. Obama spent four hours Saturday playing with friends at Kaneohe Klipper Golf Course inside Marine Corps Base Hawaii.

The first family landed in the islands just before 11 p.m. Friday, and are expected to remain in Hawaii through the new year.

Obama been coming to the islands for the holidays since before he was elected president, but the Hawaii native kept up the tradition even after being elected.

A sign that reads "Aloha Obama Ohana" hangs at the entrance of Kailuana Place where the first family will spend their final two-week Hawaii vacation before leaving the White House.

The presidential visit means tough security, and on Saturday that was on full display in Kailua Bay, where beachgoers were kept away from the first family's vacation rental home and even surfers were pushed westward.

"I think its an honor to have him here in Kailua," said Kailua resident Mark Kelliher. "I think we're probably the safest place on earth right now."

Hawaii visitors were also excited to know their vacation coincided with the president's.

"We're just a five-minute walk from here. We had no idea this stuff would be going on so it's pretty cool," said Seattle resident Bob Chevrette.

In addition to golfing, an Obama Christmas vacation typically also includes hiking, beach days, fine dining and, of course, the obligatory stop for shave ice.

"Whenever he comes, it's really cool, " said Julia Kelliher, of Kailua. "It's so cool because we know he's in one of those houses."

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