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Firemen heat up the Flying L

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Posted: Wednesday, October 10, 2018 2:09 pm


Why do we say important visitors are “visiting firemen?” And perhaps more relevant to this column, what does that have to do with golf? Have a seat and we’ll try to unravel these critical issues.

After exhaustive research (15 or so minutes on the internet, so proceed with caution) I have uncovered two competing explanations. Consensus opinion is that important visitors are called visiting firemen because firemen have a history of travelling to different cities to honor their fallen comrades. The first appearance of the “visiting firemen” label is in an 1855 newspaper story reporting on firemen from Rochester being received with honor by their Baltimore colleagues.

I’m sure we’ve all been impressed and moved by well-attended ceremonies and long funeral processions for first responders. Many of those in attendance do not know or work directly with the fallen heroes but come from other cities to pay their respects. When they make that trip they are accorded all due honor for their efforts, and “visiting firemen” has come to mean any visitor deserving of special respect and attention.

Others argue that the visiting firemen are not the firemen we assume them to be. Instead, they are Native American firekeepers, revered elders responsible for tending a tribe’s fires. Supporting evidence for this origin is hard to find and there is no explanation of why firekeepers might be traveling or visiting, but some folklorists favor it over the first responder theory.

So what does this have to do with golf? Not much, most of the time. But this October 3-4 at the Flying L it had a lot to do with golf. Thanks to the hard work and dedication of retired fireman and Flying L pro shop employee Doug Hood, the Flying L hosted the Firemen’s Fest Golf Tournament. Many competitors were active or retired firemen but all players—firemen, firekeepers, or just plain folks—were welcome. The event included more than just a golf tournament, and was highlighted by a bagpiper playing an emotional rendition of Amazing Grace on a cloudy gray morning.

The tournament was a 36-hole, two-person scramble and drew both local and out of town players. Zane Zenner and Jeff Neal won the first flight of the Firemen’s Fall Fest with a score of 135. Gary and Landon Josephson were next with 136, followed by Lee Axtens and Josh Setser with 140.

Flying L regulars swept the second flight. Charlie Thomas and Terry Peek teamed to take first place with 144. Larry Henson and Jim Martin won a scorecard playoff to take second place from Bob Bashaw and yours truly, Charlie Prokop. Both teams shot 148. Mark Johnson and J. T. Hooten won the third flight with 147. Jim Soller and Stan Ledbetter were second with 150. Jerry Odom and Steve Berry took third with 151.

October is the best month for golf here in the Texas Hill Country, and the next big event at the Flying L Golf Course will be the club championship the weekend of October 13-14. Players should sign up in the pro shop.

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