Arizona Republic

Originally Published: January 10, 1997

Mr Right Down The Line

AZ Golf writer Bill Huffman recently played a round with Alice Cooper at the Phoenician. The rock star from Phoenix had the following observations on the game:

BH: How long have you been playing golf?

AC: I've been at it since the early 1970's, but only seriously since 1982, when I quit drinking alcohol. My wife said I gave up one bad habit for a worse one. But, seriously, she's great about it, always telling me, "Just go play."

BH: What's your handicap?

AC: I'm a 6.2, but I've been as low as a 2. Trouble is, you can't make any money when you're a 2, and you can lose a lot.

BH: Describe your game.

AC: I'm "Mr. Right Down the Middle." I'd say my style is loose. But what would you expect from a guy who has three kids and a band to put up with? Nothing bothers me.

BH: What's your low score?

AC: That would be a couple of years ago at Camelback. I shot (5-under) 67 on the Padre course - chipped in for eagle at the last hole. I was playing with three pros, and I remember I won 17 (of 18) skins. I didn't make them pay, but they all had to sign the scorecard.

BH: Have you ever made a hole in one?

AC: Two of them. One at the Arizona Biltmore and one in Hawaii. But even better, I've had two double eagles, which I'm more proud of.

BH: What's your favorite course in Arizona?

AC: I'm a member at Moon Valley and the Arizona Biltmore, primarily because I love tree-lined courses with lots of grass. But I love Estancia. And from the back tees, Troon is my toughest challenge. I also like the Renegade Course at Desert Mountain. As far as public courses, I'd have to say you can't do much better than Papago.

BH: How often do you play?

AC: When I'm not touring, I like to play every day. I love it. I'll play 36 holes if I've got the time.

BH: What's your favorite club?

AC: Any one of them made by Callaway, since I'm under contract with them. I'm their "grand guinea pig" in that they test everything out on me first. For instance, I just got these new Gold Irons by Callaway, which are an aluminum bronze. I guess they feel if I can play with the club, anyone can.

BH: What kind of a golf ball do you play?

AC: Anything that's round and white. I like the new ball by Callaway, although I play them all. I get a kick out of people who worry about what kind of ball they're playing - and they're an 18 handicap. Hey, if you're not a least a minus-3, any ball will do.

BH: How many commercials each year do you make for Callaway?

AC: I've done six, four in the past year. It's fun because they are the best people to work for in the world. Johnny Miller and Kenny G are great guys to work with.

BH: The line Johnny Miller uses on you in one of the commercials is, "Hit the ball, Alice." That, of course, is fairly well-known in golf circles. Did it originate with you?

AC: No, that wasn't me, but I know the story. Peter Aliss, the British broadcaster,is where it came from. He was playing in a tournament and left a putt short that could have won the tournament. Someone said, "Hit the ball, Aliss." I always thought it was "Alice," too.

BH: Has the Callaway thing further heightened your celebrity status?

AC: I guess what blows me away is why would these people want me. They have a conservative reputation, and that's one thing I'm not. But just like when they did the snake commercial with me, I thought, "Why?" Then, I realized it was a spoof on Cobra. They are smart, that's why I always take stock instead of cash.

BH: No doubt you play golf with other celebrities. What's that like?

AC: You learn alot about a person through golf. For instance, Michael Douglas is one of the sweetest, most unassuming guys you could ever meet. You'd never know he's a superstar. Sylvester Stallone is like me, he loves to play. Richard Dreyfuss is so nervous, and he frets and worries about his game all the time.... Probably the best I've played with is Glen Campbell. He's got the best short game I've ever seen.

BH: Do you ever get sick of the attention?

AC: Not really. I've been around for 30 years, and people stop me everywhere in the world. I'm amazed, really. It must be the nose. I get a kick out of it when people want to be near me, and they buy a round of golf with me in those charity auctions... I think what I enjoy most is that people can relate to me. It's like everyone has an Alice angle - like I was the first concert they went to, or they dressed up like me once for Halloween. I think I'll write a book about it someday and call it 'Everyone has an Alice Cooper Story.'