Donald Trump's golf handicap just went down with a 68 posted to his GHIN account
Golf and Politics

Donald Trump’s golf handicap just went down with a 68 posted to his GHIN account

Donald Trump and Shinzo Abe at Trump International in Florida.

Donald Trump has played a lot of golf as President of the United States. By our Donald Trump golf count, he's been on the golf course some 188 days since taking office in January 2017.

However, Donald Trump's golf handicap hasn't changed much at all since he's been at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, and that's because he doesn't post his golf scores to his GHIN (Golf Handicap and Information Network) account. That's a system developed and maintained by the United States Golf Association to help golfers track their scores and tell them their handicap index, which is a measure of how skilled they are. The lower the handicap, generally, the better the golfer.

A golfer's handicap index, though, is based on their 10 best scores against their index in their last 20 rounds posted. A golfer can maintain an artificially low (in Trump's case) or artificially high (a lot of other golfers, called sandbaggers) handicap index by simply not posting scoring or by posting only the scores that will help them in the direction they want their index to go. Trump has a vanity handicap, meaning he's not as good as his scores seem to indicate. If he posted some of his scores while in office, perhaps we would have a better sense of his talent. That, though, would come with the political cost of again reinforcing how frequently he plays golf, particularly since he was so critical of President Barack Obama's estimated 333 rounds of golf in eight years in office.

So, when a score is posted to Trump's GHIN account, it seems like a big deal. That's why the presence of the first score of 2019 on his GHIN account may have seemed like news. First, it was a 68, posted in April on a course with a slope rating of 139, meaning the course is pretty difficult. With a course rating of 75.3, Trump would be clobbering his expected round by nearly six shots. Trump would say he comfortably shoots in the high 70s, which is still very good.

However, there's also another score previously undisclosed, and that's from October 2018. That one is a 96 on an easy golf course with a course rating of 68.8. There's no way Trump would post that score and potentially jack up his vanity handicap.

In fact, it's likely neither of these scores were shot by Trump, posted by him or posted on his behalf by someone he trusts. There's very little security related to GHIN accounts and handicap entry in general. Pretty much anyone could have posted that score to Trump's account, either on purpose as a joke or with malice in mind, or by accident in entering the wrong account info. Someone who loved Trump could have posted the 68 on a hard golf course, and someone who loathes Trump could have posted the 96 without his permission to make him look bad.

Another 68 was posted to Trump's GHIN account in October 2017, raising eyebrows and leaving golf researchers to guess as to where Trump had played. Soon enough, that score had been deleted.

It wouldn't be surprising to see these scores deleted in due time, as Trump is clearly intent on not entering his golf scores until he leaves office.

About the author

Ryan Ballengee

Ryan Ballengee is founder and editor of Golf News Net. He has been writing and broadcasting about golf for nearly 20 years. Ballengee lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his family. He is currently a +2.6 USGA handicap, and he has covered dozens of major championships and professional golf tournaments. He likes writing about golf and making it more accessible by answering the complex questions fans have about the pro game or who want to understand how to play golf better.

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