LITTLE ROCK (AP) — Former President George W. Bush said Friday that he doesn’t miss much about being president, but he does miss being commander in chief.
Bush spoke at a private event in Little Rock marking the 10th anniversary of The First Tee of Central Arkansas, a non-profit organization that gives youth free access to golf courses, equipment and instruction.
"They ask me, ‘Do I miss much about being president?’" Bush said. "I had to stop at some traffic lights coming here today and Air Force One is a nice way to travel. I really don’t miss much. But I miss being the commander in chief of the United States military."
Bush’s visit comes a decade after his father, former President George H.W. Bush, visited Little Rock in 2001 when the Jack Stephens Youth Golf Academy was dedicated.
"I’m following in my father’s footsteps," Bush said. "Again."
The elder Bush’s visit came to honor Warren Stephens’ father, the late Jack Stephens, who died in 2005. Since then, Warren and Harriet Stephens have been the driving force behind The First Tee of Central Arkansas.
The 43rd president now serves as the national organization’s honorary chairman, succeeding his father, who held that position since The First Tee’s inception in 1997.
"Somebody said, ‘Why do you want to be involved with the first tee? Well, first, I’m retired and looking for something to do," Bush said.
He added that the program has a positive impact on young people’s lives through golf.
"Golf’s an interesting sport," he said. "It requires a lot of practice, a lot of skill. It requires never giving up. Golf demands honesty with yourself and personal responsibility. So like, when you hit a lousy shot, you’re the only person to blame."
Eleven-year-old Rebekah Walker hit a tee shot to close the event before she met with the former president.
"He said that I did a really good job and he told me his middle name" — Walker, the little girl said.
Bush has kept a low profile since he left office in 2009 and moved to Dallas with his wife, Laura.
He has made a few media appearances to promote his book, "Decision Points," including one at Wal-Mart Stores Inc. headquarters in Bentonville, Ark., in November.
But otherwise, he and his wife have stayed largely out of the public eye.