Pop music and golf make for strange bedfellows. Pop is all about freedom of expression whereas golf is a tightly-controlled world of immaculate greens, perfectly pressed slacks and ensuring the ball goes exactly where you want it to.
But there are exceptions. The most famous rock ’n’ roll golfer is Alice Cooper, who, when he’s not cavorting with snakes or staging his own execution, likes to play 36 holes every day. But he’s not the only pop star who’s handy with a five iron. As the Open Championship begins, read on to find out which other singers and rappers are on the fairway to heaven.
As well as looking immaculate in plus fours and a tank top, JT is one of the best golfers on the pro-celeb circuit, playing off a handicap of just six. He even owned his own golf club near Memphis for eight years, spending an estimated $25m in rebuilding the course before selling it on in 2014. These days, he tends to play at the Lakeside Golf Club in Burbank, where fellow players include Jack Nicholson and Joe Pesci. You wouldn’t want to accidentally hit one of their balls.
Canadian balladeer Céline Dion is another pop star with her own golf course, Le Mirage near Montreal. The Titanic theme singer caught the golfing bug from her husband in the late-90s and went on to become a regular at pro-celebrity golf tournaments. Look closely at the picture above and she even seems to have her own personalised golf buggy. Well, you know that her cart will go on...
In the 90s, Houston's Scarface was a pioneering gangsta rapper, renowned for his unflinching descriptions of hood life on tracks such as Six Feet Deep (with his group Geto Boys) and Hand of the Dead Body. But these days you're just as likely to find him on a golf course as in a recording studio. "I play golf every day if I can," he told Billboard. "The game of golf slows the whole world down and gives you time to think." His aim is to be good enough to play on the PGA Senior tour. "That idea that just because I’m from the street, I can’t play golf, that’s b*******."
You might have thought Slow Hands was a song about getting touchy-feely during a night of passion but it’s also One Direction star Niall Horan’s nickname at his local golf club, as a result of his unhurried swing. Okay, that might not be exactly true… but what we do know, courtesy of Golf Digest, is that self-declared “golf geek” Horan has been playing since the age of 12 and recently got his handicap down to single figures, thanks to the encouragement of his buddy Rory McIlroy. He’s also launched his own golf management agency.
Snoop's favoured recreational habits are well documented, but the rapper discovered a new passion when he headlined the Augusta Jam concert at this year's US Masters. Before his show, he dropped in for a golf lesson at Augusta University with LPGA star Seema Sadekar. Clearly, Snoop's swing needs some work. But with a bit of dedication, he'll soon be dropping it like it's hot on fairways around the world.
Kings of Leon
In 2010, a story did the rounds in the tabloid press suggesting that Tennessee rockers Kings of Leon had delayed the release of their new album because of a burgeoning obsession with golf. It was hard to tell if the journalist - or indeed the band themselves - were having us on. But no, it appears that the Followills are indeed budding golfers, as you can see from frontman Caleb's tee shot (above), filmed at the band's own celebrity pro-am golf tournament held at Gaylord Springs, Nashville, in 2015.
Meat Loaf would do anything for love, but he won't give up an afternoon on the links. After taking advice from Colin Montgomerie in the picture above, we're sure the theatrical rocker was able to improve his drives. But he's still got a putt out of hell.
What is an angry nu-metal dude to do when he's not really that angry any more? Naturally, he turns to golf. Apparently Limp Bizkit frontman Durst is actually pretty handy with a set of clubs, winning the 2014 MPSE charity golf tournament. Well, it's the closest he'll get to a Grammy...
Scottish rockers Twin Atlantic are surely the most feared golf foursome in all of music. Both frontman Sam McTrusty and guitarist Barry McKenna used to be top junior players with dreams of turning professional, before rock 'n' roll intervened. At first, they kept their passion secret from the rest of the band: “It took about two years before we let our cool veil down and told the other guys about our seedy golfing past that most musicians would frown upon,” McTrusty told the Daily Record. However, now their golf habit is out in the open, he revealed that they often enjoy a round or two with their mates Biffy Clyro (although we're not convinced their penchant for playing half-naked would pass the dress code at St Andrews).
Another rapper clearly partial to a spot of golf is Kendrick Lamar, who can be seen hitting drives from the roof of a car in a scene from his recent Humble video. Complex took the opportunity to ask a couple of pros to critique his swing. “He’s standing on top of a car, so it’s not ideal footwork,” observed current World No.9 Alex Noren. “It’s better than a lot of people I’ve played in the pro-ams.” If Kendrick ever tires of being the voice of a generation, a life of sand wedges and 19th-hole banter surely awaits.