Trying to Reason with Hurricane Season
Hurricane season always brings to mind Eddie Flom.
Though Eddie passed in 2013, he remains a South Tampa treasure. The “Mayor of South Tampa” had a beautiful personality, was well read, and he accrued more than his share of life experiences, including 18 holes in the aftermath of Hurricane Elena 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 a round. (Insert Carl Spackler here: "I'd keep playing. I don't think the heavy stuff's going to come down for quite a while.")
The long drive of the day occurred on No. 14, a 422-yard par 4 from the blue tees. 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 approximately 6-foot-6, 230 pounds, could hit the ball a long way, too. Just not on No. 18 (479-yard par 5), which parallels No. 14 but runs south. Hitting into the wind made him feel like a lightweight.
“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. Thirty-day suspensions followed. And legends were born.
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