We woke up early this morning (7am) to make our 9am tee time at New Zealand's most famous golf course, Millbrook. It is in a town called Arrowhead which is right next to Queenstown. We arrived at the club house and were fitted with some top notch clubs (Taylor Made) and all the necessary accessories for our morning golf outing. Once fitted it was off to the range to get warmed up and get Lauren back in the groove as it has been 3 months since she has played. After looking for the range for about 15 minutes we finally found it - it was vast and open (I am sure most of you don't find any of this interesting but to us golfers a nice range is a good thing). Lauren was struggling a bit at the range and her 'fire' was evident. "What am I doing wrong" "I hate this $^^&$& game" etc. I was in a groove - finally with some top notch clubs (all mental) I felt like I could do no wrong.
We teed off right after 9am and Lauren was frustrated after 2 holes - she felt she wasn't playing well (even though she was doing great) and didn't seem like she was having much fun. After a minor adjustment in her stance (she of course screams at me, "Why didn't you tell me this before!!") she became almost god like on the golf course. It was a joy to watch. Her drives were going anywhere from 150-220 yards (I swear!) and she was putting well. She had 4 chances at par and made 2 of them she shot a 113 and I an 82. It was a lot of fun.
We got back to the hotel and we had an hour before we were getting picked up to go hang gliding. We had a quick lunch (bad idea!) and we were picked up by 3 guys in a Volkswagon bus with two hang gliders on the roof. One of them was American (Toby) and the other 2 gents were - what we would call in the states - total backwards hicks. I had hang glided in Brazil before at 1500 feet - this was at over 3500 feet. So neither really realized what was happening as we kept driving up this mountain to a dirt "launch pad" - after we signed our waivers - they quickly jumped out of the van and started assembling the hang gliders - while one of the guys gave us the most minor instruction.
All of a sudden I was just brought to the launch pad and he goes, "1-2-3 Run! Run! Run!", and we were off - gliding into the stiffest wind ever. When I glided in Brazil it was very smooth like you were flying. This was like I was a drunk aerodynamic pilot. We did dips, stalls, dives and radical turns - this was nothing like Brazil and I had my video camera in my hands and I realized that I forgot to turn it on!! So halfway into the flight I managed to turn it on with my mouth as I was holding on to the "Hick" with my right hand. At this point I started to get nervous and my lunch was boiling in my stomach (no I didn't puke) - the pilot asks me if I want to fly the glider - umm - no thanks you're doing just fine. I look back and Lauren is cruising around like a hawk gliding over its prey. Once I landed I shot Lauren with my camera - she was laughing and screaming - and she seemed like she was having a blast. She later told me she forgot to run when she took off and her leg harness somehow was wrapped around her arm and not her legs but everything turned out great and she landed safely - Check out the video and the pics!!. Lauren Hang Gliding on Youtube....... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6AZ8qJ42EBo David Landing .... http://youtube.com/watch?v=Yx2O4y0iIV0 (cut and paste into browser)