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Inside Barack Obama’s Hawaiian Golf Getaway: He’s ‘More Relaxed’ — And Selfie-Friendly

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MEGA

Former President Barack Obama‘s first visit back to a favorite Hawaiian golf club in three months revealed a few changes from his last trip there while still president.

“He was much more approachable and accessible to members and guests around the club,” Mid Pacific Country Club General Manager Jim Swieter tells PEOPLE.

“He seemed more relaxed and in parting he mentioned he’ll plan on spending more time over here,” Swieter continues, “and he wanted us to give him some membership information.”

Obama’s past golf outings were on the house, as per the club’s policy of giving the sitting president of the United States an honorary membership.

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When word got out that Obama, who grew up in Hawaii, had planned to golf Tuesday, a member pre-paid his fees.

“But now that he’s no longer sitting president,” says Swieter, “he’s very interested in becoming a member.”

He adds: “[Obama] seemed appreciative of the hospitality he always gets here, I think it’s a safe haven for him here, he loves the golf course.”

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Swieter noted the security detail had shrunk from Obama’s last visit in December, which included the Secret Service using about 30 golf carts to protect the then president.

On Tuesday, “it was basically five additional golf carts, very low-profile but still very secure,” Swieter says.

“He went out of his way to come into the club house and say hi” and asked Swieter to introduce him to the member who paid his golf fees to thank him.

Obama notably said no to selfies during his presidency, but on Tuesday he was quick to oblige when staff members asked him to pose for a group selfie.

The shot shows the the former president with a wide grin in the center of the group standing on a set of stairs, his arms draped around the shoulders of the women on each side of him. Says Swieter: “They enjoy the fact he comes.”