President Clinton pops in to Black Rock

November 28, 1999|By BRUCE HAMILTON

When he met President Bill Clinton at Black Rock Golf Course three years ago, Daniel Shaool posed for a picture with him.

The pair met again on Sunday under similar circumstances. The president ended his Thanksgiving weekend playing 18 holes at the course just outside Hagerstown. When Clinton finished, he stopped by the clubhouse to greet local well-wishers.

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Shaool, a 14-year-old freshman at Boonsboro High School, was waiting there with his photograph. Standing in the hallway where the picture was taken on the day after Thanksgiving 1996, the president signed it, "Best Wishes."

Several residents gathered at the golf course to catch Clinton on his way out, including many members of the Shaool family. Kathy Shaool said she lives across the street and saw the signs of the presidential presence.


Clinton drove from Camp David in nearby Thurmont, Md. accompanied by a group of security guards and Secret Service agents. Marian Dettman of Hagerstown was driving by when she noticed the motorcade.

A retired Department of Defense employee, she knew Clinton was nearby. "I thought, either he's going to the airport or he's playing golf." Dettman went home and returned with her camera. She got a picture with the president and his handshake.

It was Clinton's fifth time at Black Rock, according to Golf Director Darrell Whittington. Contacted at 8 a.m., he readied the course for a visit. But the president's entourage did most of the preparations, according to Whittington.

"They're pretty well-organized and we know the routine," he said.

Other golfers were surprised to find a celebrity in their midst. Terry Barnes of Greencastle, Pa. watched Clinton play briefly. "The one shot I saw, I was impressed with," she said.

Barnes said she offered the president a beer but he declined, saying, "maybe later."

White House spokesman Mike Hammer said Clinton spent the weekend at Camp David with his family, including Chelsea and the First Lady, neither of whom accompanied him to Black Rock.

Wearing a blue cap and maroon sweater, Clinton played with a group of seven. One of his partners was his brother, Roger Clinton, according to Whittington. They teed off at about 1:30 p.m. and finished after 5 p.m.

As spectators gathered on the porch, several carts circled the 18th hole in the dusky shadows. A deep orange sunset gleamed on the horizon as silhouettes made quick work of their final puts.

As he pulled up to the clubhouse, Clinton complained a little about his game. "I just wasted too many strokes on the front nine," he said. "I missed a 5-foot birdie." The warmth of the day had receded and he joked about the cold.

"Remember that old Beatles song, 'Norwegian Wood'? This is it." he said.

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