Graham Rahal was involved in two separate sets of long drives on race day in South Florida.
First, he joined LPGA Tour rookie Beatriz Recari at Keys Gate Golf Club – a strong 3-wood from Homestead-Miami Speedway – for a session on the driving range. A few hours later, Recari was Rahal’s guest at the speedway, where he introduced her to Indianapolis 500 winner Mario Andretti for a ride in the Indy Racing Experience two-seater.
Rahal, who enjoys a round of golf when his schedule allows, was impressed with Recari’s accuracy off the tee. The native of Spain has three top-10 finishes in her initial tour season.
“Obviously, the distance is one thing but the consistency is another thing,” he said. “They were giving us things to aim for and she was ever only 5 or 10 yards off on way or another while I’m 50 or 100. I have to work on that if I want to improve my golf game. At least I know it’s not the distance I’m struggling with. It was a lot of fun to go out there, hit some balls and see where I’m lacking and see where I’m all right.”
Rahal also drew similarities between professional golf and auto racing.
“In the sense that it’s all about accuracy and our sport is definitely about that,” he said. “It’s precision and the competitiveness is huge. The training side of it, the amount they have to train and be competitive is similar to how much we have to train and practice.”
Recari noted that the ride on the 1.5-mile oval was “awesome, but too short.”
“It was an amazing experience,” she said. “I didn’t even know that a car could get that fast. It was so much fun and such a unique experience, and I am honored to have this opportunity to get driven by Mario Andretti, a legend.”