FORT BENNING GA - Golfers will go the distance in a local level Military Long Drive Championship, presented by 7UP, from 2 to 7 p.m. Monday at the Fort Benning Golf Course. The golfer who drives the ball the farthest within set parameters will get an expense paid trip to Mesquite, Nev., to compete against 20 competitors Oct. 28 in the military national finals, organized by Army Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Command.

The national finals winner will receive a $10,000 check, the military championship title and a spot to compete in the RE/MAX World Long Drive Championships.

Last year, the Fort Benning winner, SFC James Prasse of Fort Bragg, N.C., drove a ball 328 yards.
"Not everyone can hit a ball even 300 yards," said class A PGA professional George Cliff, business manager and director of golf operations at the Fort Benning Golf Course. "Most golfers hit around 240 or 250 yards. This is a very competitive tournament and there is a lot at stake at this championship. It's a chance to go to Nevada and compete nationally in the finals."

In 2008, Coast Guard Airman Ryan Hixson won the finals with a drive of 367 yards.

Entrants can purchase six golf balls for $10 at the Fort Benning tournament and can purchase as many as they want, as long as they drive them within the event time limit.

Cliff said he expects to see at least 40 golfers at the championship. In the past, he has seen golfers from Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky and Georgia compete in the tournament. And if some golfers don't win at the Fort Benning tournament, they can go to 19 other sites that will host local tournaments, including Fort McPherson, Ga., and Fort Gordon, Ga.

Second-place finishers in the Fort Benning contest will receive a $200 gift certificate from the pro shop and third place will receive a $100 certificate.

Anyone who is a valid military ID cardholder and is 18 and older can participate in the tournament. Entrants must fill out a registration form either before the event or the day of the event.

For more information or to get a registration form, call 706-687-1940 or stop by the golf course.