Hutton: Alice Cooper rocks Innsbrook Country Club
July 11, 2013 5:54PM
Updated: August 13, 2013 6:40AM
MERRILLVILLE — You want to be like Alice Cooper?
Learn the screeching tones of heavy metal rock, get your own band, tour the world and master golf.
Yes, golf. And not just the average, carve up the course, Army golf that most of you are familiar with.
Cooper is straight and fairly long for a senior citizen (he hits his drives about 250-yards) and he can get it up and down from inside a phone booth.
The Motor City rock legend was unwinding before his show at the Holiday Star Plaza, like he always does, on the course Thursday.
He played Innsbrook Country Club, his preferred track in Northwest Indiana. Playing from the blue tees, the 2-handicapper shot 2-over par 73. That was one better than his previous three rounds, which seemed to make him mildly happy. It was just another day in the traveling life of a rock star. A round of golf in 3 hours and 15 minutes, pictures and autographs with a few smitten fans along the way and a brief chat with a reporter before heading back to the Plaza for some more media time and a sound check.
Cooper had his whole band — seven guys in total — dragging behind him at the course. Wanna play in Cooper’s band? You’d better like golf. That’s what they do in their off time.
“It’s a great old course,” he said of Innsbrook.
Cooper lives in Arizona and plays at Phoenix Country Club, built in 1899 and the course is just like Innsbrook except “tighter and longer.”
Cooper turned to golf in 1981 after he quit drinking. His biography describes his problem with alcohol as life threatening.
Golf was the perfect way to fill up the long stretches of down time in unfamiliar towns. He is from Detroit and he ran cross country for four years in high school. Then, he didn’t know what a golf course was.
“We had three sports in Detroit,” he said. “Baseball, football and grand theft auto.”
He has his favorite courses everywhere.
Muirfield in Columbus, Ohio, the Jack Nicklaus-designed course that hosts the Memorial Open every year.
Pine Valley Golf Club in New Jersey, ranked as the top course in the United States by Golf Magazine.
Makena Golf and Beach Resort in Hawaii.
Innsbrook in Northwest Indiana.
The crew is dogged about getting out together.
They play every day they are on the road. Exceptions are lousy weather and a strenuous schedule. Then they’ll downsize to nine holes.
He plays in seven or eight big pro-amateurs every year and he hits Pebble Beach every other year.
Cooper got good faster than most normal hackers because, A) he played so frequently, and B) he had real access to the best teachers in the world.
His three biggest golf influences are Johnny Miller, John Daly and Rocco Mediate.
Miller, because he taught him how to hit it straight, Daly because he taught him the short game from 60 yards in and Mediate because he helped with his short game around the greens.
On No. 13, a 431-yard par 4, Cooper made par on the narrow hole after he short-sided himself next to the green by using the Arizona “Hot Toe” shot that Mediate showed him.
“You just put the toe in the ground and the tip up,” he said. “The ball pops straight up. Works every time.”
Cooper has played with all the great pro players, from Tiger Woods to Phil Mickelson.
He said that he and Mickelson traded the same $100 bill about 20 times when he played at Arizona State.
“None of those guys would ever give me more than one a side,” he said.
His tip for anyone who wants to get better is to watch the LPGA players.
All of them have languid swings.
Cooper prides himself on being straight off the tee with a reasonable short game.
“It’s all tempo,” he said.
Just like rock ‘n’ roll. It’s all about rhythm and timing and learning to fall in love with something that will keep you out of trouble.