Retired Life isn't so Bad After All

Posted on: 10th Mar 2017 by: Nigel Lamb

What an amazing experience it has been to play golf again with Nick Price, Spider Miller and Mike Goulian. After our pre-race round in Indianapolis last year, Mike and I decided we’d like to take Nick and Spider for a formation aerobatic session and a Flying / Golfing plan was hatched. Spider has been flying for many years and gets himself around in a Meridian. His amateur golfing credentials are impressive and he is this year’s Walker Cup captain.

During his career as a professional, Nick owned jets and a helicopter and I am convinced that had he not become so successful at golf (World no 1 for nearly a year in the early 90’s; won three Majors and had 49 wins on tour), he’d have become a professional pilot. He is passionate about aviation and loves aerobatics.

Courtesy of Doug Vayda and South East Aero in St Augustine, Mike and I hired a couple of Extra 300s and took the golfers for a short formation flying lesson followed by formation aerobatics and them solo looping and rolling. For the next two days, I learned a LOT on the golf course.

What struck me most in a simple comparison between our sports was this: their basic swing is the platform of their game, just as is our ability to strap a machine on our body to navigate precisely through a track without thinking about how we manipulate the controls. The striking difference is the amount of variables in any given game / race. Whilst we have a long list of challenging variables over a period of not much more than one minute (wind speed, direction, density altitude, design of the track to name some), the list in golf is phenomenal; each game is over several hours so there can be four seasons of weather in one game, wind speed and direction, density altitude, slope, distance, length of the grass or rough, type of grass, direction of growth, distance and club used, wet or dry etc, etc . . . the list is endless and the combinations infinite. Watching a pro like Nick go around the (tough) Seminole course in a 30mph wind and yet control the ball seemingly with ease was a revelation. Next time I’m watching the pro’s on TV I will be even more in awe!