According to the US Golf Association, Trump shot a 68 in April 2019. That’s a remarkable score for anyone who isn’t a professional golfer but a truly outstanding achievement for a 72-year-old man who also happens to be the President of the United States.
(Sidebar: It’s hard to pinpoint what exact date Trump shot the 68; he played twice at his club in West Palm Beach over Easter weekend — including a round with conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh and LPGA star Lexi Thompson — and four times at his club in Sterling, Virginia, according to CNN’s Betsy Klein.)

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That 68 appears to be Trump’s best round ever — or certainly within the last eight years. (Golf.com says Trump has never reported a score in the 60s before.) Trump, like most golfers, reports a chunk of his scores to the US Golf Association to maintain an official handicap (how many shots you, typically, shoot over par on a golf course.) The most recent score he reported before the April round of his life was in October 2018 when he shot a 96, which is, uh, less good.
In fact, of the last 20 rounds — dating back to 2011 — Trump has recorded with the USGA, his last two are the lowest and highest he has shot. Other than the 68 and the 96, Trump had 11 rounds in the 70s and 7 rounds in the 80s. His current handicap is 1.8, which is very, very good. Trump’s 1.8 handicap put him in the top 4% of all golfers who report handicap information, according, again, to the USGA.
The question everyone will ask — did Trump really shoot a 68 at age 72???? — is one that is impossible to answer since, well, I wasn’t part of his foursome on the day the deed was done.
There are two competing fact sets to think about when trying to make an educated guess on that question, though: 1) Trump is, by all accounts, a very good golfer and 2) Trump is a legendary cheater at golf.
On No. 1, there are lots of firsthand accounts of golf pros testifying to Trump’s skill at golf. Wrote Jaime Diaz, the former editor-in-chief of Golf World and senior writer at Golf Digest, of playing rounds with Trump in 2013 and 2014:
“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.”
Trump’s quotes to Diaz about his self-taught golf swing are epic. “I think of golf as a very natural game,” Trump told Diaz. “I never really wanted to know a lot about my technique. I really trust instinct a lot, in golf and a lot of things.”
But then there is this counter-factual: Longtime sportswriter Rick Reilly has recently written an entire book about Trump’s golf-course cheating, titled: “Commander in Cheat: How Golf Explains Trump.”
Of Trump’s golfing, Reilly recently told CNN: “He cheats like a mafia accountant. He cheats crazy. He cheats whether you’re watching or not. He cheats whether you like it or not.” Reilly also told CNN that Trump hit two balls in the water when he played with Tiger Woods and then claimed to have almost beaten the pro.
To Reilly, Trump’s approach to golf is a window into his broader approach to life: He breaks all the rules and then denies, denies, denies. Whether or not you put that much stock in what golf can reveal about Trump, it’s clear that the President loves the sport and is — compared to other men his age — very good at it.
Is he “68” good? Uh…