BEDFORD - A man in golf gear stood near a nondescript SUV at the Omni Bedford Springs Resort golf course Thursday.
Holstered to his khakis was an automatic handgun; in his ear was a radio receiver.
He was a Secret Service agent sent to guard George W. Bush as the former president took in a round of golf at the Bedford County resort.
Mirror photo by Ryan Brown
Former President George W. Bush took a private jet Thursday morning from Texas to the Bedford County Airport, where Secret Service agents escorted him to Omni Bedford Springs Resort. Bush played a round of golf with three others.
The country's 43rd president took a private jet Thursday morning from Texas to the Bedford County Airport, where agents escorted him for an afternoon golf foursome.
"It's a beautiful part of the state," Bush said to a group of neighbors as he and three companions took turns swinging near Sweet Root Road.
Bush, an avid golfer, doffed his cap after a long drive down the fairway.
"How're you doing?" he asked each time a neighboring family turned out for a glimpse.
"We miss you," one neighbor shouted.
"I heard he was on his way to play a round of golf," said neighbor Wendy Logue, whose husband notified her of Bush's presence after a friend texted a photo with the ex-president. "I've been hanging around here all day."
Others welcomed him to the area. It was the former president's first visit to the resort, according to staff there.
Bush was watched by several resort security guards and at least two Secret Service agents, one of whom observed from across the street in a constantly running sedan.
The agents supervise every detail of an ex-presidential visit, leaving little information available about the nature or length of Bush's stay, resort staff said.
"We didn't know he was coming until yesterday," said Adrian Gonzalez, the resort's operations director. "They keep everything secret."
Gonzalez said he isn't sure whether Bush's family was present or whether he'd be staying the night.
He said the former president had planned to visit last year but canceled the day he was scheduled to arrive due to bad weather.
On Thursday, Gonzalez said, some resort guests took advantage of the sunshine to pose in photos with Bush.
"He's walking around, taking pictures," he said, noting that resort officers had already received word of guests "tagging" Facebook photos with the president.
Bush isn't the first U.S. president to visit Bedford Springs: James Polk stayed there in 1848, and nine more - including seven sitting presidents - have stopped by since, according to the resort's website.
Mirror Staff Writer Ryan Brown is at 946-7457.