, Salem, MA

Local News

October 19, 2012

Heard Around Town: Golf course controversy for police, firefighters

SALEM — Flatfoots versus Nozzleheads.

The annual golf tournament between Salem police and firefighters takes place every fall at Kernwood Country Club. It’s roughly 20 cops against 20 firefighters.

And every year, or almost every year, the firefighters win.

Police like to say the firefighters are better golfers because they have more free time. The truth, of course, is the firefighters are probably just better golfers.

At stake is the uncoveted Loser’s Trophy, which the losing team must shamefully display at its headquarters. Usually, you can find it at the police station on Margin Street, which is where it sits this year.

However, there is a twist to this year’s tournament, which took place Monday. This year, the golf was followed by controversy, possibly scandal.

It surfaced during the post-tournament party at The Tin Whistle, a local watering hole. A retired and wily cop, George Canney, thought he spotted a “ringer” among the Salem firefighters, a man he had seen often at The Meadow, Peabody’s municipal golf course. It turned out to be a Peabody firefighter.

This Peabody firefighter somehow wound up on the Salem firefighters’ golf team, the cops allege. That wouldn’t have been such a problem, except he was a pretty good golfer.

When the ruse was exposed at the cookout, all hell broke loose.

“This is unacceptable,” boomed police Lt. James Walker, a mild-mannered duffer of unimpeachable character. Other cops joined in the chorus of denunciations. A folding chair or two might have been tossed.

It was, of course, all in good fun. But the controversy will live on for years to come, and no doubt become one more club with which police will try to beat their friendly foes, the firefighters,

But, from what we are told, it will take more than Peabodygate for the poor-putting police to finally procure this prize.

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