Vincent Fournier, better known as Alice Cooper to the public, is a Rock and Roll legend and often referred to as “The Godfather of Shock Rock.” Some may be shocked to hear that he’s also a certified golf fanatic who’s played golf six days per week for the past 30 years, and he currently carries a 4-handicap at 73 years old.
Cooper, or “Coop” as his close friends and playing partners call him, is as well traveled a golfer as there is on the planet. He’s been touring the world for decades (through his music career), and he’s played golf with some of the most interesting characters golf has to offer.
As the longest tenured Callaway staffer, Cooper has forged golfing relationships with the likes of Phil Mickelson, Arnold Palmer, Johnny Miller and John Daly, and he’s also played with more unexpected names, such as Rob Zombie, Eddie Van Halen, and group members from Bon Jovi, Meatloaf and Metallica, to name a few.
For the 100th episode of GOLF’s Fully Equipped podcast, Cooper joined the show to talk about his history with the game, his secrets to hitting the ball in the fairway every time, and, of course, he told some hilarious stories from his celebrity encounters. The day after our interview with Cooper, he also invited the podcast hosts to play in a game with him and his buddies at Legend Trail Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz.
Cooper has a different perspective on golf than most of us, and he’s an impressively good golfer, too. During my time speaking with Cooper, and playing golf with him, I learned a lot about golf (and life in general). Below are my four biggest takeaways from Cooper that we can all learn from.
NOTE: As part of our 100th Fully Equipped podcast with Alice Cooper, we’re giving away 2 signed Alice Cooper golf balls, and a 2021 Callaway Epic driver of your choice. Follow @fullyequippedgolf and @GOLF_com on Instagram for more details!
1. Always grab the first tee time
Balancing a full-time music career with an unrelenting passion for a sport that takes five hours to play probably isn’t easy. But it’s way easier when you tee off at 5:30 a.m. every morning and then have the whole day ahead.
Cooper and his buddies don’t just grab the first tee time of the day, they typically call ahead and reserve a spot before the first time on the tee sheet. Admittedly, when I was invited to join him and his playing partners at the crack of dawn, I thought it was a bit aggressive to play that early. Obviously, though, I obliged.
As it turns out, playing in the first group of the day is unbelievably relaxing. You have the course to yourself, the greens are fresh, and you’re done with the round before the workday even starts. So whether you have a nighttime gig on stage for 50,000 screaming fans, or you’re clocking in at a 9-5 job, grabbing the first tee time of the day can be the answer to your golfing needs.
2. Use equipment that actually works
Golfers sometimes make equipment buying decisions based on what their buddies may think or say about their gear. Cooper doesn’t care about that; he just wants to play his best.
That’s why Cooper doesn’t use any traditional irons in his setup. While Cooper hits the ball incredibly straight, as he admits, he won’t be winning a long drive contest anytime soon.
To help achieve a higher ball flight, more distance and more forgiveness, Cooper uses a bag full of “Wedgewoods,” which are hybrid-like golf clubs that look like fairway woods but have the lofts of irons. Due to their CG (center of gravity) locations, it helps Cooper hit the ball higher, farther and straighter.
“To me, hybrids are so much easier to hit than irons,” Cooper told Fully Equipped. “I used to play irons all the time. When I got to be 60 years old, I started going, ‘Why am I hitting a 3 iron? I’d rather hit an 11 wood.’ My bag is all woods. Driver to the 11 wood, and then 6 hybrid, 7 hybrid, 8 hybrid, 9 hybrid, and then wedges.”
It certainly works for Cooper, who regularly shoots his age or better. Maybe we can all learn to tuck our pride and put clubs in our bag that actually help us play better, not just gear that adheres to the norm.
3. Simplify your swing thoughts
On our Fully Equipped podcast, Cooper tells stories about how, back in the day, Callaway founder Ely Callaway Jr. would send him golf clubs to test because Cooper hits the ball so consistently. After playing 18 holes with Cooper myself, I can confirm those stories to be true.
He literally doesn’t miss fairways. Every drive is a controlled draw off the tee that never sniffs the rough.
What’s his secret? Simplicity.
Using a tip that he learned from Johnny Miller during a Callaway commercial shoot in the 80’s, Cooper simply aims for a spot on the inside of the golf ball. This tip allows Cooper to perform an inside-to-outside swing path that creates a consistent draw shot.
If you’re overcomplicating your golf swing, or struggling with a slice, try out Cooper’s simple trick. Just aim for the inside portion of the ball and watch as it draws back to the center.
4. Golf is supposed to be fun, right?
At times, all of us take golf a bit too seriously. We want to improve and play our best, sure, but at the end of the day, we ought to be there for a good time on the course.
No one knows this better than Cooper.
As our group circled the Legend Trail golf course, music playing through the speakers, something struck me: This is fun.
Cooper plays a low-pressure skins game every day with his buddies. The winners get scratch-off lottery tickets. The gimmies are generous and stroke-and-distance penalties don’t exist. More important to Cooper, seemingly, is the pure enjoyment of the sport and the time spent with people. It’s not about grinding over three-footers, it’s about embracing the connection that golf provides.
“It doesn’t matter how good you are, it’s just getting outside and playing for 5 hours,” Cooper says.
Simple words, but oh so true.
Want to overhaul your bag for 2021? Find a fitting location near you at GOLF’s affiliate company True Spec Golf. For more on the latest gear news and information, check out our latest Fully Equipped podcast below!