Golf Digest RankingsJanuary 1, 2017

Donald Trump tops ranking of golfing presidents

The new commander-in-chief immediately takes over the No. 1 spot in our Golf Digest ranking
Donald Trump
Courtesy of the Trump Organization

President Donald Trump will be the 16th of the past 19 American presidents to play golf. And immediately upon entering office he will be the best player of the group, thanks to his current 2.8 Handicap Index and his 19 club championship victories. According to our Jaime Diaz, who twice played golf with Trump in recent years, the best part of his game is his ball-striking, although Trump himself says it's his putting.

Trump knocks John F. Kennedy from the No. 1 spot in our previous ranking of the best golf presidents. Here's how our ranking shakes out, with an assist from Don Van Natta Jr., author of the book, First Off the Tee: Presidential Hackers, Duffers, and Cheaters from Taft to Bush.

  1. Donald Trump
    Known for his bombastic statements, his boast of winning 19 club championships isn't one of them

  2. John F. Kennedy
    Despite chronic back pain, averaged 80

  3. Dwight D. Eisenhower
    Installed a green outside the Oval Office; member at Augusta National

  4. Gerald R. Ford
    Despite a clumsy image, a legitimate 80s-shooter

  5. Franklin D. Roosevelt
    At 39, polio robbed him of a powerful golf swing

  6. George W. Bush
    His handicap dipped under 10, post-presidency

  7. George H.W. Bush
    Once got his handicap down to 11

  8. Bill Clinton
    Can break 90, especially using his "Billigans"

  9. Barack Obama
    The lefty plays hoops and golf, more than 330 rounds during his two terms.

  10. Ronald Reagan
    Didn't play often or well (best was low 90s)

  11. Warren G. Harding
    Struggled to break 95

  12. William Howard Taft
    As hapless a golfer as he was a chief executive

  13. Woodrow Wilson
    Played more than Ike but almost never broke 100

  14. Richard M. Nixon
    He shot 79 once and quit the game

  15. Lyndon B. Johnson
    Played with senators to secure votes for the Civil Rights Act of 1964

  16. Calvin Coolidge
    When he vacated the White House, he left his clubs behind

RELATED: Ike & The Game: Eisenhower and his time at Augusta National

RELATED: Learn more about Golf Digest's special issue "Donald Trump: Golfer-In-Chief"

WATCH: GOLF DIGEST VIDEOS

Donald Trump talks golf