Clinton First Prez to Golf at Montauk Downs

Paul Brooke Jr.

Former President Bill Clinton became the first-ever United States president to visit the Montauk Downs Golf Course in the course's 87-year history when he played a round on Wednesday.

Mr. Clinton, who celebrated his 68th birthday the day before, and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are renting a house in Amagansett for August. They have spent the past several summers on the South Fork. 

The former president played with Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe and two of his brothers-in-law, according to Thomas Dess, the state parks superintendent in Montauk. Governor McAuliffe was also co-chairman of President Clinton's 1996 re-election campaign and chairman of Mrs. Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign. 

"I don't know of any other president who has played here," Mr. Dess said, adding that President Clinton had shown interest in golfing at the Downs in the past, but that it was his first time on the championship course.

Mr. Dess said the foursome kept a steady pace and didn't hold up golfers behind them, which included the men's league, composed of Montauk locals. Kevin Smith, the golf pro at the Downs, accompanied them as a caddy. They teed off at 11:45 a.m. and finished up at about 4:20 p.m. No word on how the president fared.

During his round, he wore a hat plugging his wife's new book, "Hard Choices." Mrs. Clinton signed copies of her book at BookHampton in East Hampton Village on Saturday for over 1,000 people. 

Flanked by Secret Service agents, he greeted about two dozen onlookers after he came off the 18th hole. In answer to someone's question, he said he though the course was "gorgeous" and the "perfect belated birthday gift." 

Paul Brooke Jr.
Paul Brooke Jr.
Paul Brooke Jr.
Paul Brooke Jr.