Santino & Marines Win "Longest Golf Drive" Contest, Prep Tons of Donated Golf Gear for 6,000 Mile Trip to Overseas Troops

Hempstead Town Supervisor Anthony J. Santino, along with some U.S. Marines, definitely won the “longest golf drive” contest today as they prepped tons of donated golf gear for a 6,000 mile journey to U.S. troops serving in Baghdad. Joining Santino to pack-up the golf gear were Senior Councilwoman Dorothy Goosby, Councilman Anthony D’Esposito, Councilman Dennis Dunne Sr., Town Clerk Nasrin Ahmad and U.S. Marines from the First Marine Corps District in Garden City. 

Last month, Hempstead Town Supervisor Anthony J. Santino announced the town’s partnership with “Bunkers in Baghdad,” a not-for-profit charity that collects and sends used golf balls, clubs and equipment to our troops around the world. Not long thereafter, both the Merrick Golf Course and Lido Golf Club were flooded with gifts from residents wanting to donate their extra golf equipment to a great cause. Today, the Supervisor waved goodbye to a gigantic 5,250 pound care package containing over ten thousand golf balls, seventy-five golf bags and thousands of clubs that run the gamut from putters to drivers.

“Our town residents never cease to amaze me when it comes to kindhearted gestures and rallying behind a wonderful cause,” said Santino. “When I announced this initiative last month, I was positive it would be a ‘hole-in-one’ success story. Nevertheless, the response from our generous community has been nothing short of overwhelming. We’re sending over two and a half tons of golf gear to our troops.”

Indeed, Hempstead Town has collected a huge truck full of golf balls, clubs and equipment that will be well on their way to Buffalo, New York, the base of operations for “Bunkers in Baghdad.” From there, the charity will send the massive care package to our troops stationed overseas, prioritizing the men and women currently serving in combat zones. “Bunkers in Baghdad” was founded in 2008 when charity president Joe Hanna learned that stationed soldiers created makeshift driving ranges in the desert as a form of relief from the stress of war. Since their initial shipment, “Bunkers in Baghdad” has donated over 8 million golf balls and over 600,000 clubs to troops in Afghanistan and 64 other countries. The charity has been praised numerous times by scores of deployed units for providing soldiers with a positive recreational outlet and a “slice” of home.

“I was blown away by the sheer amount of golf balls and equipment donated by residents to support our troops,” said Goosby. “I am proud to serve such an incredible community and I applaud Supervisor Santino for this kind gesture.”

Loading a truck to the brim with two tons of golf paraphernalia is a daunting task, luckily Hempstead Town received some help from friendly souls who are forever faithful. The town’s care package has been prepared by some Marines from the 1st Marine Corps District in Garden City.

“We are always on the lookout for any extra opportunity to support our troops” said D’Esposito. “With the Supervisor’s tenacity and the community’s involvement, we will be providing much needed stress relief and recreation to our heroes overseas.”

“We can never thank our troops enough,” said Dunne. “I am glad that our community was eager to part with extra golf equipment in order to raise morale and promote camaraderie in combat zones.”

“A very special thank you to the generous residents of Hempstead Town who have donated to our program,” concluded Santino. “Hempstead Town is proud to support our troops in any way possible and look forward to sending additional care packages in the future to ‘Bunkers in Baghdad.’”

Hempstead Town operates two stunning public courses. Merrick Golf Course, a 9-hole, par 36 course right next to Merrick Cove, and Lido Golf Club, an 18-hole, par 72 course in Lido Beach, overlooking the scenic Reynolds Channel. The Lido Golf Club has received a surge of players since it reopened this past Father’s Day after an extensive two-week rehabilitation period. Hempstead Town assumed the day-to-day management of the popular golfing destination after decades of private management. Additionally, Lido Golf Club now accepts online reservations, visit www.lidogolfcourse.com to reserve tee times.