The 66-year-old rock star took up the game in the 1980s as part of his rehabilitation from alcoholism, playing 36 holes a day for a year, always with club professionals. Once a scratch golfer, he’s still a 4-handicap and squeezes in at least nine holes, even on days when he’s performing.
The Sacramento Bee featured contributor Steve Pajak’s report on a round he recently played with rock star Alice Cooper and his band’s guitarist, Ryan Roxie, at Peach Tree Country Club in Marysville, Calif.
The 66-year-old Cooper, described in the article as a “horror-rock star,” credits golf for helping him overcome his addiction to alcohol, the Bee reported, noting that he’s been quoted in the past as saying, “Some people turn to God, I turned to golf.”
Born as Vincent Damon Furnier, he legally changed to his stage name in 1970s and took up golf in the 1980s, the Bee reported, after years as an alcoholic and “a stint in a New York sanatorium.” A tell-all memoir, “Alice Cooper, Golf Monster” was released in 2007, detailing his professional successes, personal struggles and how getting up at 7 a.m. every day to play golf has helped him beat his demons.
Cooper now plays golf six times a week and has a single-digit handicap, the Bee reported. On the day he played with Pajak, Cooper and Roxie rolled into Peach Tree in a sleek black Dodge Challenger at 8 a.m. on a Tuesday—their car stood out “in a parking lot lined with pickup trucks,” Pajak wrote, and “their shoulder-length hair [was] shoulder-length longer than the dozen or so players who mill around the driving range tee, putting green and pro shop.”
“Rock stars in a farming community, they are just golfers at the course,” Pajak wrote.
Cooper did make one change after discovering that his round at Peach Tree would be covered by the media, the Bee reported, buying a pair of black slacks to replace his blue shorts.
“I have great legs,” he explained, “but I have an image to protect.”
Cooper made his stop at Peach Tree while traveling as part of Mötley Crüe’s farewell tour, the Bee reported. He and his band were set to play a 60-minute set that night at the Sleep Train Amphitheater in Wheatland, Calif., a concert that was a part of months-long tour that had started in Washington state and would move on from California to Utah, Colorado, Missouri and South Dakota. Through it all, the band would travel in a bus that tows the Challenger, which is primarily needed because “We have to get to the golf course,” Roxie told the Bee.
Aside from the music, golf is the tour’s constant, Pajak reported, with Cooper playing every day that isn’t eaten up by travel. In addition to hooking Roxie on the game, the band’s bassist, Chuck Garric, is also a regular, the Bee reported.
“Some guys run, some guys go to the gym. We get up and play golf,” Cooper told the Bee. The rockers usually play nine holes on concert days and 18 holes on off days, Pajak reported, and while “some days it’s about keeping score, some days it’s about enjoying the company and outdoors.”
The band’s schedule suits its passion, Cooper noted. “If you want to play golf, don’t get in the golf business—get in a band,” he said.
Cooper’s best rock-star golfing foursome, he told Pajak, would include Dweezil Zappa (Frank’s son), Adrian Young, the drummer for No Doubt, and Brandon Flowers, frontman for The Killers. Golf has become more prevalent among today’s musicians, he told the Bee—“potential loss of street cred be damned.”
“I’d say there are at least two golfers per band,” Cooper said.
Country stars Toby Keith, Tim McGraw and Dierks Bentley have also recently made played at Peach Tree, Pajak noted in his report.
Having replaced his addiction to alcohol with an addiction to golf, “the well-rounded and intelligent” Cooper says he’s become better at separating himself as a performer and a person, Pajak reported.
“We have a good marriage, Alice and myself,” Cooper said. “I don’t think about the show during golf, and ‘he’ [Cooper] doesn’t think about golf during the show.”
Cooper and his wife, Sheryl, have been married for 38 years and have three children, the Bee reported. Sheryl travels and performs with the band and while Alice plays golf, she teaches ballet. On the day he played with Pajak, Cooper declined a lunch offer at Peach Tree, explaining that he and his wife eat lunch together every day.
During his round at Peach Tree, Pajak reported, Cooper pulled his opening tee shot left and then claimed a “rock-star mulligan” before “lacing a second shot down the middle.”
“I have an excuse,” he explained. “I haven’t played since yesterday.”
During his round, he said that tree-lined Peach Tree CC reminded him of Phoenix (Ariz.) Country Club, where he’s a member, Pajak wrote.
Cooper, described by Pajak as “5-foot-9 and skinny as a flagstick,” still “hit the ball plenty far.” And by the third hole, Pajak wrote, it was “easy to see how he’s a 4 handicapper who used to be scratch.”
Cooper is a golf disciple of Johnny Miller, buddies with John Daly and a regular pro-am partner of Rocco Mediate, the Bee reported.
After hitting his best shot of the day—a gentle draw from 150 yards to within 10 feet of the 18th green—Cooper credited the people watching from the clubhouse, Pajak reported. “I love an audience,” he said.
The Bee article, which included a photo of Cooper getting a pointer during his round from Evan Larson, Peach Tree CC’s Assistant Superintendent, also includes a video of Cooper’s swing and an interview with him about his recovery through golf. It can be viewed at http://www.sacbee.com/2014/07/29/6591642/golf-plus-for-alice-cooper-its.html