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Big Wheels
Alan Shipnuck
March 04, 2002
Keeping up with the Fleishers is no easy task for Sammy Rachels and the other members of the Senior tour who prefer a motor home to a hotel room
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March 04, 2002

Big Wheels

Keeping up with the Fleishers is no easy task for Sammy Rachels and the other members of the Senior tour who prefer a motor home to a hotel room

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Tale of the Tape

Bruce Fleisher

Sammy Rachels

Endorsement deal

Free use of vehicle

"None, but taking offers"

Wheel base

45 feet

37 feet

Diesel engine

500-hp Series 60 Detroit

330-hp Caterpillar

Fuel tank capacity

235 gallons

90 gallons

Miles per gallon

Seven

8-10

Sleeps

Four

Four

Longest trip

740 miles

2,300 miles

Most consecutive nights in RV

Five

24

Kitchen

Microwave, electric stove, fridge

Microwave, gas stove, fridge

TVs

Two (42" plasma, 25")

Two (27" and 17")

Satellite dish

Yes

"No. If blew off during a storm"

GPS

Carin

"No. A map still works just fine"

CDs/DVDs

"A handful"

220

Extras

Remote-controlled shades

"Rachelsized" custom cabinets

Golf gear

A few clubs and balls

Two sets of irons, three drivers, four putters

Who drives?

Chauffeur. "I did sit in the seat once"

"Me. I'm a control freak"

Sammy Rachels's permanent address is the family homestead in DeFuniak Springs, Fla., but his heart has always belonged to the open road. When he joined the PGA Tour in 1975, he was one of several players to travel in an RV. "It was pretty much a corrugated shoebox," Rachels says, "but I loved the lifestyle." Rachels roamed the golf landscape for the better part of a decade, but he didn't arrive as a player until his stunning rookie campaign on the Senior tour last year. He won two tournaments and more than $900,000—"I can't believe it's legal to give away this kind of money," he says—and in September he plunked down $170,000 for his dream (motor) home, a Fleetwood Discovery, and rejoined the caravan. "It's nicer than my house," he says. "I'm serious. It cost more."

Since the start of the 2002 season Sammy and his wife, Pia, have, for all practical purposes, lived in the Fleetwood. Last week they skipped the Audi Senior Classic in Mexico City—"They've already got 22 million people there. I didn't need to add to the problem," Sammy says—to make the drive from Florida to Valencia, Calif., for this week's Toshiba Senior Classic. He was behind the wheel for all 2,300 miles of the trip. "The king of the road," he says.

Alas, Rachels is made to feel like a pauper every time he pulls up at a tournament and sees Bruce Fleisher's Featherlite Vantar� Prevost, a $1.3 million penthouse on wheels. No one will ever accuse Fleisher of being the maharaja of the motorway; he still travels to tournaments by private aircraft, while a hired driver pilots his 50,000-pound bus, and spends most nights on the road in a hotel room. "I don't want to call him a p—," says Rachels, "but he's not a real RVer." Fleisher doesn't disagree. "Sammy lives in his; I don't live in mine," he says. "I'm spoiled. I prefer to stay in a hotel, and on Sunday afternoon I want to get home to my own bed as soon as possible."

About the only thing Fleisher uses the Prevost for is to play host to his pro-am partners, which is why he keeps bottles of Cakebread and Silver Oak on hand. Does he feel guilty about under-using such an extravagant toy? "Hey, there's a flip side to that," Fleisher says. "Sammy can stay in here anytime he wants."

[This article contains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]

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