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  • Bill Chastain

Hurricane Round…

The late, great, Eddie Flom remains a South Tampa treasure. The “Mayor of South Tampa” had a beautiful personality, and he accrued plenty of antics in his bag of life experiences, including 18 holes in the aftermath of Hurricane Elana in 1985.

Seems Eddie, along with younger brother Mark, felt a round would be in order.

“After hearing my Grandmother Ruth’s entire joke repertoire, we decided it was time to go to Palma Ceia,” Eddie told me several years ago. “We were just going to see how far we could hit our drivers.”

Instead, the course conditions were conducive for giving a round a go.

The long drive of the day occurred on No. 14, a 422-yard par 4 from the blue tees at the time. The hole pointed directly north, which allowed tee shots to receive the maximum in wind support.

“Mark hit about a 380-yard drive,” Eddie said. “He had a little sand wedge to the green.”

Eddie, who stood about 6-foot-6, 230 pounds, hit the ball a long way. But when he came to No. 18 (479-yard par 5), which parallels No. 14 but heads south, he felt like a light weight.

“Back then I was about a 9 handicap, so I was hitting the ball pretty well,” Eddie said. “I was actually playing good there in the storm. [On 18] I had to hit driver, 2-iron, 5-iron to reach the green. I parred the hole to win the bet. I don’t know what I shot, but it was respectable.”

Mark and Eddie each received a letter from Palma Ceia’s board of directors.

“The letter was a classic,” Eddie said. “Dear Mr. Flom, Your brother and you were observed playing golf during Hurricane Elena …”

The letter summoned the brothers to make an appearance in front of the board. While 30-day suspensions were issued, a legend was born.

Nobel winner Malala Yousafzai got accepted to Oxford University, prompting Jimmy Fallon to observe about the 20-year old: “When she puts her Nobel Prize on the shelf, her roommate will quietly put away all her youth-soccer trophies.”