Charity golf, CBRNE style

Secretly, who hasn't wanted to blow up at least one putting green? (Army photo by Walter Ham IV)

Secretly, who hasn’t wanted to blow up at least one putting green? (Army photo by Walter Ham IV)

How do you jazz up the standard golf fundraiser? Throw in some homemade bombs and a nuclear scare.

When Lt. Col. Charles Musante was asked to put on a golf tournament to raise funds for the annual CBRNE (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosives) Ball in October, he decided to rip out a page from the Spartan Run/Tough Mudder playbook, adding obstacles to spice up a traditional day on the course. The result: A nine-hole All Hazards Golf Tournament on Exton Golf Course at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, where 35 golfers on nine teams played through some CBRNE-inspired roadblocks.

One hole featured mock improvised explosive devices on the putting green. Another required golfers to don body armor before teeing off. Another, labeled “yellow cake,” seemed harmless, but after their first swing, golfers were informed that the area around their ball had been quarantined in response to a nuclear incident. As would be standard protocol in such links-based terrorism — one would assume, anyway — the balls were moved into the nearest sand trap as a precautionary measure.

Musante said he wanted “to figure out how to make it a little more fun than a standard golf tournament” and to bring a bit of attention to one of the few morale, welfare and recreation amenities in the area — the nine-hole course debuted in 1923. He serves as 20th CBRNE Command’s assistant chief of staff for personnel, and spends some time on the links, he said, but clearly doesn’t take his game too seriously.

This hazard could cost you a stroke. Among other things. (Army photo by Walter Ham IV)

This hazard could cost you a stroke. Among other things. (Army photo by Walter Ham IV)

One potential hazard may have misfired: Musante attempted to find a pair of goggles used by Army safety instructors to demonstrate the effects of alcohol as part of anti-drunk driving efforts, but couldn’t land any by Thursday’s tee time. Instead, he coated the inside of a pair of tactical goggles with bubble wrap and made them mandatory gear for drives on one of the course’s par-4 holes.

“Everyone said it was their best drive of the day,” Musante said. “They all wanted to keep the goggles.”

The event raised more than $500 to help offset the cost of soldier tickets to the upcoming ball. Musante said he hopes to make the tournament an annual contest and up the ante with more and better hazards next year.

When attempting to add an event to a unit’s yearly calendar, it never hurts to have some friends in high places. Folks like those in the winning foursome, for instance: 20th CBRNE’s commanding general, Brig. Gen. William King IV; senior enlisted leader Command Sgt. Maj. Harold Dunn IV; King’s aide, Capt. Bryan Sand; and Maj. James Scott, the unit’s plans officer.

The self-dubbed “Team Liberty” shot a 3-under-par 32 in the best-ball format and had four more strokes knocked off for not taking the easy way out of most of the hazards — instead of buying mulligans, golfers could donate a few extra bucks to avoid the CBRNE-themed obstacles.

“I think the word will spread,” Musante said, “because everyone had a great time.”


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