Jack Abramoff in Washington earlier this month. (Jewel Samad/Getty Images)

He’s done his time for the crime — but will Jack Abramoff ever play golf in this town again?

A bid by the disgraced superlobbyist to join Manor Country Club of Rockville has some members up in arms over the prospect of welcoming a felon into their midst.

Club President Timothy Dec would not address the controversy but confirmed Abramoff’s application was at an early phase, not yet subject to a full review.

But never mind all that: Abramoff told us Tuesday he’s not interested anymore anyway. He said he put his name in at the urging of a friend trying to help with the club’s ongoing membership drive.

A golfer tees off at Manor Country Club in Rockville. (Courtesy of Michael Dyer)

“I’ve rethought it and decided against it,” Abramoff said, though he hasn’t yet formally withdrawn his application. “The fees are steeper than I thought. And I just don’t have time to play golf anymore.”

Golf, of course, was part of the seductive backdrop of the Capitol Hill corruption scandal that centered around Abramoff, whose lobbying team curried favor with lawmakers and staffers via elaborate golf outings, including trips to Scottish fairways. Closer to home, Abramoff allegedly set up an influential aide with free rounds of golf at Woodmore Country Club in Mitchellville, where he was a member. Abramoff, who has been busy promoting a memoir and making the lecture rounds, said he’s not currently a member at any country club.

So beyond the multi-million-dollar restitution bill hanging over his head — has it been hard for Abramoff to reenter his old world? Can you ever regain your social niche after prison?

“Probably not,” he said. “It’s very difficult for felons to live in society. Some people will think there’s not enough punishment someone can get. I’m not alone in experiencing that. Sometimes it hurts when it’s something important — and sometimes when it’s something like this, it’s, whatever.”

No slight intended to Manor Country Club, he added. It’s just that “I can’t afford to be a member of a golf course.”

Read earlier: Jack Abramoff book party: Who shows up for that?, 11/16/11

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