They were the most unconventional pairing on paper — the golf equipment founder and the rockstar.
On paper, it didn’t look like Ely Callaway and Alice Cooper had much in common, but you shouldn’t always judge a book by its cover. Callaway and Cooper were visionaries in their respective professions who consistently found success thinking outside the box.
During the 100th episode of GOLF’s Fully Equipped podcast, Cooper joined the crew to share stories about his friendship with the Callaway founder, who made the music legend his longest tenured staffer in the ’90s.
“The great thing about Ely Callaway is everything he touched, he brought in something new,” Cooper said. “He’d ask them why there had to be a hosel, and why they couldn’t just put the shaft right into the head. Well, I don’t know, let’s try it. The Big Bertha is born.”
Nothing was too far-fetched for Ely Callaway, who even embraced a commercial Cooper pitched him at a party.
“I met Ely at a party and I said to him, ‘Hit the ball, Alice. I’m Alice,'” Cooper recalled. “And he said, ‘Oh man, that’s great. That’s a great idea for a commercial.'”
Callaway was serious. Months later, Cooper found himself on the set of a commerical for Callaway’s Tuttle 2 putter with Hall of Famer Johnny Miller.
“The first time we did a commercial, I happened to know you don’t use a snake in a commercial because women will turn the commercial off,” Cooper said. “And the long hair.”
The “Godfather of Shock Rock” attempted to tone down his look for the commercial, pulling his hair back when he arrived on set, but Ely wasn’t having it. The hair (and a live Boa constrictor) were needed for the audacious shot — one that required Cooper to putt the ball off the snake and into the hole.
“Then Johnny [Miller] would say, ‘Nice putt, Alice,'” Cooper said. “I told [Ely] this would take 12 hours because the snake was moving all the time.”
It wound up taking Cooper just three attempts to pull off the shot. In the end, Cooper made a memorable appearance in Callaway’s commercial, and Ely looked like a genius.
“They called [Ely] Maverick because everything he did was against the book — and it worked.”
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