The May Issue
Just what are the odds?!
Just what are the odds? According to Wikipedia, it’s 1 in 12,500 for those whose game is still a passion and not a job. And Omarama golfer Christine Bowman has just nailed one of those history-making moments. She bagged her first-ever ace on the par-three 14th - Quailburn - hole of the Omarama golf course using a 5-hybrid club – on the last sunny club day in March. Not that she noticed at first. “Ant [Ford] said he thought it would be good for a two.” He and Colin Thornley, the other player of the group, were pleased because that would mean the golf club would shout. But Christine still couldn’t find her ball. “I thought it must have been a through shot.” – hit straight through the green. “I was busy helping the boys - Colin was in the creek and Ant was in the trees – they both got sixes.” After some time spent searching for her own ball Ant suggested she check in the cup. Paul, Christine’s husband, was at Los Angeles airport waiting for his flight home when he took her call. “I said; ‘Oh my god, what’s gone wrong. Has the house burnt down?!’” as she broke ... >>> continue reading... <<<
This issue brought to by ...
Courtesy of, and with the permission of Rod Dew
It could have been the Kahu that first discovered the “invisible pathways” of Te Ao
Marama’s big sky – one that rode the waves stretching upward into space just for
sheer pleasure. Gliding out of Omarama is the closest those of us born ‘earthbound’
and envious can come. And the story of how that came to be is, also, almost the stuff
of legends. The South Island’s first glider flight was made in 1950 by the ‘father’ of New
Zealand Gliding, Dick Georgeson, in his Slingsby Prefect glider from Simon’s Hill,
nearby in the Mackenzie Country. The popularity of the sport grew, and it was not long
before gliding enthusiasts found a “highly promising” airstrip on Omarama Station –
christened “Wardell’s” after Dick Wardell the station’s owner - to establish a base.
Georgeson is reported as saying that it became a place of fun, excitement and
relaxation “@a very special and happy place”. In 1962, Georgeson, who was now
flying one of the Slingsby company's latest gliders, a Skylark 3F with the call sign
Charlie Foxtrot, became the first person to break a world record flying out of Omarama.
His single-seat out-and-return from Omarama to Hanmer and back covered 1087.4
kms. Fast forward almost 60 years, and just a little further down SH8, and you’ll find
Omarama Airfield, developed for the 1995 World Championships, is well-established
as a world-renowned gliding centre – a place where world records are made to be
broken. The most recent record was set in February last year by Alaskan Keith Essex
in his ASG 29 Es - 500 km, out and return at an average speed of 255 kph. Glide
Omarama and its international mountain soaring school led by Gavin Wills, has
become central to Omarama Airfield operations. It has 11 gliders and three tow planes
and includes the largest fleet of high performance Duo Discuses in the world. The
family-run operation employs 20 staff during the high season and operates year-round.
Gavin, with his background as geologist and mountaineer, and his encyclopaedic
knowledge of soaring in the South Island, who first flew from “Wardell's” in the 1960s,
has developed one of the most respected gliding companies in the world. He knows
every glacial valley and mountain ridge of the surrounding spectacular terrain. And he
delights in sharing everything that this mountain gliding playground has to offer with
others. “Wave, ridge, thermals, convergence, It’s all here.”