News: H&HS swing long drive for tee-shot win
Story by Lance Cpl. Jennifer Pirante
IWAKUNI, Japan - Marines and sailors spent their lunch hour putting their best tee-shot in play during the Commander’s Cup Longest Yard competition at the Torii Pines Golf Course here Friday.
The competition was sponsored by Marine Corps Community Services, which provided scorekeeping and awarded trophies.
Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron took home first place. Combat Logistics Company 36 took home second place and Marine Wing Support Squadron 171 took home third.
Master Sgt. Louis Starnes, H&HS competitor, accepted the first place trophy on behalf of his unit. It was his first time participating in the Commander’s Cup Longest Yard competition even though he identifies himself as an avid golfer who likes to play golf on a regular, daily basis.
“Whether you’re an avid golfer or not, you can come out, have fun and enjoy yourself with other Marines and sailors who come out,” said Starnes. “It’s just a great time.”
The object of the competition was simple. Units picked five participants to represent their command.
Each participant was given five chances to drive a golf ball as far down the green as they could and whichever service member hit the ball the farthest earned the win for their unit.
During the competition, service members faced two major challenges: wind and a soggy field.
Competitors battled against wind pull, which often stole the ball and carried it far left and out of bounds. The Marines and sailors quickly learned to adjust their positions accordingly.
The rain, which fell during the week prior to the competition, left many water puddles and a slew of muddy terrain, creating a disadvantage for short-driven balls.
“We saw a lot of really short distances because no one was getting any roll,” said Lt. Cmdr. Keith Applegate, H&HS competitor. “Normally, you hit a ball and if you get enough spin, it will hit, it will bounce and it will roll. That’s where a lot of people get their distance. There’s no carry because the balls are sticking in the mud.”
Although competitive, the atsmosphere between the service members was anything but tense.
In between turns, Marines and sailors kept everyone entertained with jokes and friendly banter.
Applegate, rocked his lucky, cheetah-patterned Hello-Kitty onesie, equipped with a hood to keep the sun off his head.
“Anyone who knows me knows I’m all about the jokes,” said Applegate. “We’re all military.
So, naturally, we all have a very competitive spirit, but we’re also just out here for fun.”
With each swing, service members cheered each other on whether competitors were on their team or not.
“The [service members] looked like they were having a lot of fun joking around with each other,” said Paul Hahn, Torii Pines Golf Course manager. “It created a little camaraderie between them and gave them something to take back to the office.”
MCCS and the Semper Fit fitness department are slated to host the next Commander’s Cup Ultimate Frisbee competition at the Penny Lake fields here June 10.