Joe Biden Joins the Ranks of Golfing U.S. Presidents but His Handicap Is Up for Debate

US President Joe Biden leaves his cart after a round of golf at Wilmington Country Club in Wilmington, Delaware, on April 17, 2021. - President Joe Biden played golf for the first time in his presidency Saturday, hitting the fairways in his home city of Wilmington. (Photo by JIM WATSON …
JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images

President Joe Biden is like his predecessor Donald Trump in one way: Both are avid golfers. But getting the facts about the presidential handicap is as difficult as some of the courses that test their skills.

The media is vigilant about covering presidential golf outings and, according to Golf Week, 16 of the past 19 president’s played golf to one extent of another.

The latest in the spotlight is Biden, who took his first trip to the fairways in his home state of Delaware and the Associated Press (AP) reported on the trip and included his alleged handicap: 

The president played with senior advisor Steve Ricchetti and Ron Olivere, father-in-law of Biden’s late son Beau, the White House said. Biden’s handicap index is just over 6, according to the United States Golf Association. But he has not logged a round since 2018.

That’s an impressive handicap, requiring consistent games in the high 70s or low 80s.

But the association, the governing body of golf for the U.S. and Mexico, could not confirm Biden’s handicap, but not because of his not logging in.

“As part of the modernization of the handicapping rules and adoption of the World Handicap System, we have put additional privacy measures in place to protect critical personal information while still permitting the vital handicapping process of peer review,” Beth Major, senior director of the association, told Breitbart News in an email. “As a result, we do not publicly share handicap indexes for individuals.”

But Biden’s golf game and handicap lore has persisted over the years.

In 2015 Golf Digest reported on Biden’s game as the world awaited the word on whether he would throw his hat in the presidential race ring:

Biden, meanwhile, is a legitimate player. According to Golf Digest’s most recent ranking of Washington’s Top 150 golfers, the Veep boasts a 6.3 handicap, which, should he become commander-in-chief, put him in the conversation with John F. Kennedy as the best golfing president in history. (JFK didn’t have an official handicap, but was said to break 80 on occasion).

Then again, not everyone has been bowled over by Biden’s game. In the aftermath of the infamous Golf Summit in which Biden and President Barack Obama played with their Republican counterparts former Speaker of the House John Boehner and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Kasich made remarks suggesting Biden’s handicap was embellished.

“Joe Biden told me that he was a good golfer, and I’ve played golf with Joe Biden,” Kasich was reported to say at at the 2012 Republican National Convention. “I can tell you that’s not true, as well as all of the other things that he says.”

Back in 2012 the Washington Post also reported on the golf summit and included some handicap data:

At the time, Biden boasted a handicap of 6.3, meaning he regularly shot in the high 70s, about six shots above par; Boehner had a 7.9 handicap and Obama had a 17. Kasich’s aides, at the time, said the governor had about an 8 handicap, meaning he would on average be a little worse than Biden. The vice president did not take up the game until his 50s, raising suspicions in some quarters about whether he could truly be that consistently good.

In October, prior to the 2020 election, the Morning Read reported on those who know about Biden’s golf game:

Though the presidential election won’t be decided until Nov. 3, at the earliest, it’s clear that President Donald Trump has a determined fight on his hands, not just for the title of “leader of the free world” but also for the claim of the nation’s “first golfer.”

“Oh, he loves the game, plays and respects it,” said golf architect Robert Trent Jones Jr., a Biden family friend and occasional Biden golf partner for decades. “He’s just not the self-promoter that our current White House occupant is.”

Biden, 77, is listed with membership at two courses in his native Delaware: Wilmington Country Club, a 36-hole facility with courses designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr. and Dick Wilson; and Fieldstone Golf Club, an Arthur Hills design in Greenville, which Biden lists as his home club. In the Delaware State Golf Association’s USGA GHIN handicap system, Biden is listed with a 6.7 handicap, but his last recorded round was in 2018.

After the election, the Golf News Network reported on Biden’s handicap and its validity:

President-elect Joe Biden has a USGA handicap index of 6.7. Is he a good golfer? Is he as good as he says he is? Does he cheat. If his handicap is true, and that’s in doubt since he hasn’t entered scores in two years, then he’s one of the better presidential golfers as he takes the oath of office on Jan. 20, 2021.

With his handicap index, Biden can be expected, on a good day, to hang around the high-70s or low-80s. On his best day, he can probably shoot right around 75 on the right golf course in the right conditions. However, Biden, as you might imagine, does not have a lot of recent scores. Instead, the reach of his handicap scores ends in 2018.

Biden has probably played more than the number of rounds he has entered, including during the campaign, so we don’t have a complete picture of his play. It’s likely Biden’s skills have diminished some while campaigning to become President. Were he to enter even his best rounds, his handicap index would likely go up substantially, closer to a 8 or 9 handicap.

During his presidency, Trump was regularly criticized by the media for how much time he spent golfing. Many have also questioned his claim to having a handicap under 3. But according to a 2017 article in Golf Digest, Trump might win in a match up against Biden.

Jaime Diaz, editor-in-chief of Golf World and a senior writer for Golf Digest, who golfed with Trump, wrote in the article:

Both our rounds came during openings of redesigns to his courses and were played casually, with plenty of putts inside five feet over-generously slapped away. But I certainly didn’t get the feeling that Trump shoots in the 70s only because he doesn’t putt the short ones. His ball-striking, from medium-length tees, made him a legitimate 4-handicap at the time. Today he’s officially a 2.8 in the United States Golf Association’s GHIN system, though he has posted only scores going back to 2009.

As a golfer, the 45th president is the real deal.

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