Shock rock icon Alice Cooper is planning on revisiting some of New Zealand's best golf courses when he arrives on our shores for two shows later this month.

The 71-year-old Rock and Roll Hall of Famer has long credited the sport for helping him to stay sober after he finally managed to kick crippling drug and alcohol addictions in the mid-80s.

Cooper – real name Vincent Furnier - got hooked on golf 37 years ago after just one swing of the club and regular rounds out on the links remain an integral part of his clean-living daily schedule.

Alice Cooper's all-new Ol' Black Eyes Is Back show arrives in Auckland on February 20. Photo / NZ Herald.
Alice Cooper's all-new Ol' Black Eyes Is Back show arrives in Auckland on February 20. Photo / NZ Herald.

"Golf was a help because I have a very addictive personality," Cooper tells TimeOut from his hotel room in Phoenix, Arizona.

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"What I really like, I do way too much. So at my house there's like 27 televisions all on at the same time.

"It used to be the things that I loved were killing me and so I had to find an addiction that wasn't going to kill me.

"I was a very good baseball player, so I figured how hard could it be? If I could hit a fast ball, I should be able to hit a ball that's not moving. And I was a natural, I had a natural swing.

"But I play every day. I play at least nine holes every day even when I'm on tour."

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Alice Cooper and John Daly during a fundraising golf tournament in 1998. Photo / Getty Images.
Alice Cooper and John Daly during a fundraising golf tournament in 1998. Photo / Getty Images.

Currently playing off a four handicap, Cooper has appeared in commercials and advertising campaigns for Callow Golf Company and has been good enough to hold his own in social outings alongside pros such as Tony Daly and Tiger Woods.

He plans on honing his game further when he brings his new Ol' Black Eyes Is Back show to Auckland's Trust Arena on February 20 and Christchurch's Horncastle Arena on February 22.

Fans will be treated to a set that spans the breadth of his career, including all the big singles such as I'm Eighteen, School's Out and Poison, along with rarer cuts from his extensive back catalogue.

Aussie rockers Airbourne and MC50, featuring Wayne Kramer of the legendary MC5 with an all-star band performing MC5 classics, will also perform as special guests at both shows.

"I've played two or three really good courses down in New Zealand," he says.

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"I know Cape Kidnappers is one of the great ones. That's one of those bucket list courses that I want to play if I could get there.

"I think I've played at Kauri Cliffs. I played there with some of the guys from Calloway. I've been on their staff for 28 years."

Cooper's obsession is by no means a solo one, with his band members equally as crazy about getting their daily fix.

"My guitar player and bass player both play. We get out every day and play at least nine holes at seven in the morning.



"When you're on tour it's such a relief to get out of the hotel, go down to the golf course where nobody knows you're going to be and spend four hours with your friends playing golf.

"It doesn't matter how good you are. It's probably the best thing in the world for a touring band if there are a couple of guys that play golf.

"That way then we get back to the hotel, I take off and go walking around seeing the shopping or whatever, have lunch, take a nap and then go and do the show. Then when I do the show I'm totally committed to it."

Cooper has long been accepted by golf's elitist hierarchy but he and his bandmates still make an effort to keep their rock 'n' roll reputation intact while out on the course.

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"It's funny because I try to wear all black to keep a bit of the image but my bass player's got tattoos all over his arms.

"He looks like Yakuza and we definitely don't look like we belong on the posh courses.

"But I would take these three guys and put them on any course in America – we've played the most posh courses there are – and if you can play golf I think people overlook the fact that you're in a rock band."

Alice Cooper - Ol' Black Eyes Is Back - New Zealand Tour 2020
Thursday, February 20 - Auckland, Trusts Arena
Saturday, February 22 - Christchurch, Horncastle Arena