Joe Biden takes to golf course for first time as US president

The 78-year-old commander-in-chief is listed as having a single-digit handicap

US president Joe Biden leaves his cart after a round of golf at Wilmington Country Club. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

US president Joe Biden leaves his cart after a round of golf at Wilmington Country Club. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

 

US president Joe Biden spent Saturday afternoon on the first golf outing of his presidency, playing at the Wilmington Country Club near his Delaware home.

Speaking to reporters after his round, Biden said “the course record is still intact.”

The president played a round with White House counselor Steve Ricchetti and Ron Olivere, father of his late son Beau Biden’s widow Hallie, the White House said.

Biden was ranked one of Washington’s best golfers a few years ago, sporting a single-digit handicap, but took a break during his 2020 campaign for the White House.

Like his most recent predecessors, Biden’s an avid golfer. Donald Trump played hundreds of rounds at his own clubs in Florida, New Jersey and Virginia, while Barack Obama frequently played at courses on military bases in the Washington area and in Hawaii during Christmas vacations.

Many other presidents, from William Howard Taft to George W Bush, have also played golf while in office.

While he was vice president, Biden occasionally played with Obama, including a 2011 round with two Republicans, then-house speaker John Boehner and John Kasich, then the governor of Ohio.

Kasich turned the experience into a punchline during a speech at the 2012 Republican National Convention.

“Joe Biden told me that he’s a good golfer and I can tell you that’s not true, as well as all the other things that he says,” Kasich said.

Biden has been reported to have memberships at Fieldstone Golf Club, which he lists as his home course, and Wilmington, a 36-hole facility that’s hosted several national amateur championships. Both are just a few miles from his home.

A US Secret Service sniper watches the course as Biden plays. Photo: Jim watson/AFP via Getty Images
A US Secret Service sniper watches the course as Biden plays. Photo: Jim watson/AFP via Getty Images

The course, busy with people playing and practicing, was visible to reporters when Biden’s motorcade pulled up. His visit wasn’t announced in advance, and club members were seen filming the event on mobile phones.

In 2014 Biden joked with Taoiseach Enda Kenny that being in presidential politics had affected his game. “I don’t know about you, but if you want to keep your handicap in golf, don’t run for president,” Biden said. “So I expect strokes when we play.”

In 2011, Golf Digest ranked Biden the 29th best golfer in Washington, with a handicap of six. Biden had a 6.7 handicap in the U.S. Golf Association’s GHIN database in 2018, when his most recent scores were posted.

Biden, 78, fractured a foot in November while playing with Major, one of his two dogs, although by February his doctor said it had fully healed. He’s expected to return to Washington on Sunday night.

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