MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan — The golfer stepped onto the green and positioned himself as he looked over the grassy, textured field.From behind a yellow line, his teammates cheered him on and gave him encouragement.They were counting on him to drive the 1.62-ounce ball as far down the line as he could in order to take home first place.
He exhaled, extended his club all the way above his shoulders and behind his head, then in one quick motion, he swung the golf club as hard as he could, whacking the ball a great distance from where it lay stationary just moments before.
Within seconds, the ball disappeared from sight and everyone clapped at a shot well driven.
Local Marines and sailors came together to compete in the second monthly event of the annual Commander’s Cup Challenge, The Longest Yard, at the Torii Pines Golf Course here Feb. 12.
The Longest Yard gave service members from each unit the chance to put their golf-swing techniques to the test.
Each unit was given the task to form a team of up to five members to compete. However, one service member was allowed to represent his unit individually if he felt that his skills were up to par.
“All five members on the team did not have to show up,” said Barbara Roman, fitness coordinator here.“So if they only had two members on the team and they hit the farthest shot out, they’re the unit that was going to win,” she said.
Each member on each team was given five tries, allowing a total of up to 25 chances to each unit, to hit the ball as far as they could down range, and whoever hit the ball the farthest won the challenge.
“Whoever hits the longest yard out of the whole five members is the one that counts,” said Roman.
“So the unit with the longest yard wins,” she said.
The first place winner of the Commander’s Cup Challenge event, Sgt. Ryan Chilson of Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron, was awarded $100 toward the H&HS unit party fund and 30 points toward the Commander’s Cup as well as a trophy for a 323-yard drive.
Second place, Lance Cpl. Greggory DiToro of Marine Wing Support Squadron 171, was awarded $75 toward the MWSS-171 unit party fund along with a trophy and 27 points toward the cup. DiToro drove a 314-yard ball.
Third place was not far behind. Staff Sgt. Christopher Rio of Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 12 drove the ball a total of 313 yards, earning his unit 25 points toward the Commander’s Cup.
“Getting together and having everyone compete together is pretty cool,” said DiToro. “It was fun,” he said.
“There were a lot of higher ups competing, and we were all pulling for each other.”
Female service members are highly encouraged to participate in any Commander’s Cup Challenge event.
Unlike few events throughout the year that require units to have at least one female participant on their team in order to avoid being deducted points, this event did not have such requirements.
“I wanted to get more females involved this year, because they also have their strengths,” said Roman.
There will be three events throughout the year that will require a female participant or the unit will be disqualified from the event.
The next Commander’s Cup Challenge event, Basketball Shootout, is scheduled to take place at the IronWorks Gym basketball court March 19.
It will allow service members to show of their free-throw techniques and another chance at first-place recognition throughout the air station.
Units also have a chance to earn bonus points in between monthly events by participating in weekly Tuesday Tune Up at the Crossroads Mall during lunch hours from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Information, goodies, free cholesterol screenings and body fat assessments are scheduled to be available.
For more information about the Commander’s Cup Challenge or Tuesday Tune Up, call Health Promotions at 253-3696.
Originally published: Marines.mil