View from the Fairway

October 31, 2018

On Monday, September 24th, LAFRA hosted the Invitational Golf Tournament for the WODFF. Despite the traffic winding through the Sepulveda pass far below, the large turnout at the Mountain Gate Country Club indicated that this event was, indeed, a success for a very worthy cause. Congratulations to everyone who helped set this tournament up and to everyone who participated.

A partial list of the participants, both players, and volunteers, includes Steve Schultz, Steve “The Godfather” Ruda, Kelly Faulkner, Graham Everett, Glenn Prine, Doak Walker, John Keys (along with his bagpipes) and finally Larry “I used to work here” Hoerner.

This is not going to be an article about the finer points of the game of golf. You will not find a list of winner or losers. You will, however, find several of my observations about this game and its participants. It will be written in the style of the finest man to ever write a column for The Grapevine, the late Tony “Never let the facts get in the way of a good story” DiDomenico. Virtually none of you on the job today have ever heard of Tony. That’s a shame because he was one of the most gifted writers to have ever appeared on these pages.

The other person who was also an inspiration for this article is a man who will only be known as the late “Factual” Frank. I will not use his last name because I don’t want to besmirch him or his family. Some of his stories also bordered on the” never let facts get in the way of a good story” style of storytelling.

There have been many stories and jokes over the years about the clothing worn by golfers. I personally believe that most, if not all, of the stories are true. Or at least they are based in fact, similar to the Easter Bunny or Santa Claus.

Then there is Jesse Franco, in all his sartorial splendor, and he is real. If you have never seen a grown man wearing, on different occasions, a lime green tux or a purple tux you have missed something that closely resembles the Northern Lights. Where Jesse buys clothes like that still remains a mystery.

I will be the first to admit that I have never seen either the Easter Bunny or Santa Claus but I can’t swear that I have never seen flying saucers and little green men. But that was only after drinking a large bottle of Akadama wine in Japan many years ago.

But I digress . . .

Jesse, however, is absolutely real. There are many documented sightings of him and his Technicolor suits.

After attending the golf tournament, and seeing them with my own eyes, it’s very possible that at least some of those aforementioned things are, in fact, real. There is photographic evidence of this in two of the photographs accompanying this article.

Those photographs depict two guys that some of you work with: Mike “Chubby Fowler” Sailhamer (FS 21), and Frank Aguirre (FS 89). To say they would stand out in a crowd is like saying if you stand in front of a tsunami you may experience moisture. There is nothing wrong with their clothing, but they are certainly unusual. And more than somewhat colorful.

Something that was one of the most unusual things ever seen at a sporting event was what I could call “The Beer Line.” As seen in another photograph on these pages, there are two lines of beer cans with five cases of beer at the beginning of each line. The golfers took turns putting a ball between these two lines. After asking several participants what the object of this was, not one of them seemed to know. Whatever it was someone should have one of those cases of beer just for doing this in public. Maybe they already had a case and that’s why they didn’t know.

Early in this article Larry Hoerner’s name came up. For those of you who don’t know Larry, he is unusual for many reasons but mainly because he put in twenty years on the LAFD and then retired, and then put in 20 more years on the LACOFD. Now there is a rumor that he wants to come back to the LAFD. Good luck Larry!

For those of you who are history buffs look up a video of the late Robin Williams explanation of the history of this fine game of golf. But be warned, it is NSFW and it’s 4:48 long. It’s best to view this on your home computer. It is one of the funniest skits by Mr. Williams I have seen. You have been warned.

As always, this event is open to everyone. Whether you’re retired, active or someone who just enjoys swinging a club, you should come on out and enjoy the experience. So, remember to mark this event on your calendar for next year and join in on the fun and camaraderie.

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