Marines might train to assault sandy beaches from large bodies of water, but they want their golf balls to stay clear of both.
Approximately 150 amateur golfers from across Oahu teed off in friendly competition as U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific, held its 4th annual “scramble” tournament at Kaneohe Klipper Golf Course here, June 1.
The afternoon golf outing gave MarForPac service members and civilian personnel a unique opportunity to build unit cohesion outside the workplace.
“(Marine Forces, Pacific) is a very busy, high-tempo organization,” said Lt. Col. John S. Turner, executive officer for Headquarters and Service Battalion, MarForPac. “We work very hard, so it’s important to pause, come together and share some camaraderie out here on the links.”
The scramble format gives all players a chance to compete and contribute to the team’s collective score, regardless of skill level. For every hole, each member of a four-person team hits the ball from the tee. The team selects the best shot, and all four players play their second stroke from that spot. This process continues for the third shot, and so on, until someone on the team sinks a putt.
“It usually gives everyone a chance to play from the fairway,” said Sgt. Michael J. Vitale, budget chief for the comptroller section, HqSvcBn. “It also requires teamwork, which is a big reason why we’re out here.”
Teamwork helped the winning team shoot a 61 over 18 holes, a commendable 11 shots under par. Master Gunnery Sgt. Robert “RC” Payne, senior technical control chief for the communications operations section at MarForPac, along with teammates Mr. Keoni Ward, Ms. Tonya Kucic and Ms. Meho Bridseye, placed first in the tournament.
Whether placing near the top of the pack, or closer to the bottom, there’s always room for good-natured trash-talking back at the office.
“It definitely keeps the mood in the office a little lighter,” said Gunnery Sgt. Mark A. Hudson, a technical control chief for MarForPac’s communication operations section. “I’m sure there will be a ton of it.”
Aside from establishing bragging rights and enhancing troop morale, some of the proceeds from the tournament will go toward offsetting the cost of tickets for junior service members at MarForPac’s Marine Corps birthday ball in November.