Biden and Trump Debated Their Golf Handicaps on National TV for Some Reason

Biden said that his handicap was a six, and Trump said that was his "biggest lie" of the night.


Jun. 28 2024, Published 10:38 a.m. ET

Donald Trump and Joe Biden debating in June of 2024.
Source: Getty Images

The first 2024 presidential debate was not exactly the most fun thing to watch. Whatever your political beliefs might be, almost everyone seems to agree that the debate was a low moment for American democracy. Among the many lowlights, though, one in particular caught some viewers' attention.

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It came near the end of the debate, when Joe Biden and Donald Trump spent a fairly extended amount of time debating their golf handicaps with one another. That section understandably left those unfamiliar with golf baffled, and even those who like the sport wondering why it might matter in the context of a presidential debate.

Donald Trump in the middle of a golf swing.
Source: Getty Images
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Why did Trump and Biden debate their golf handicaps?

The short answer here is that no one knows. The longer answer is that both candidates were asked whether they felt they would be physically fit to do the job of president for the next four years. Biden discussed his record, but Trump discussed his physical fitness, saying that he had recently won several golf tournaments and suggesting that Biden could not hit a golf ball more than 50 yards.

Trump said that he had won two club championships.

“Two regular club championships," he said. "To do that, you have to be quite smart, and you have to be able to hit the ball a long way. He doesn’t do it. He can’t hit a ball 50 yards. He challenged me to a golf match; he can’t hit a ball 50 yards.”

Biden then responded by saying that he thought he would be able to take Trump down.

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“I’d be happy to have a driving contest. I got my handicap when I was vice president down to a six," he said. "By the way, I told you before, I’m happy to play golf with you if you carry your own bag. Think you can do it?”

“That’s the biggest lie—that he was a six handicap—of all," Trump said, suggesting that Biden had lied about many things, but lying about his golf handicap was the worst.

Source: YouTube
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What is a 6 handicap in golf?

Golf handicaps are used to adjust players' scores so that people with different levels of ability can fairly compete against one another. In essence, a players' handicap is the number of strokes that a player is expected to hit above a course's par, or the expected number of strokes it should take for the player to complete the entire course. You want your handicap to be as low as possible, because a lower handicap means you have more skill.

Biden's last recorded handicap was indeed 6.7, but it was recorded back in 2018. Trump, meanwhile, is famous for cheating in golf with some regularity, so it's unclear who would actually win this hypothetical match. What we can definitely not be grateful for, though, is that both candidates took some of their precious time during the debate to argue the issue in public. Whatever their handicaps might be, maybe they could have argued about that another time.

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