Thursday, July 15, 2010

Golfer By Day, Rascal Flatts Guitarist By Night

Joe Don Rooney, a guitarist and harmony vocalist for the vastly popular country band Rascal Flatts, came to Lake Tahoe, Nev., this week for a two-night sold-out music tour stop at one of the leading casinos in town. But, the 34-year-old got even more than he bargained for.

He’s as happy as he can be with a chance to play in the American Century Championship as well. He’s swinging his golf sticks as a celebrity in the day and playing his guitar at night. And that’s just the way he likes it.

“I try to play golf every day,” says the 34-year-old Rooney, who calls himself an honest 8-handicapper. “I belong at Sage Valley near Aiken, S.C. I’m when I’m in Nashville, I’ll try to play at least three times a week as well.”

Rooney and his band mates Gary Levox and Jay Demarcus have captured the essence of the modern country music sound since coming together in 1999. Rascal Flatts’ new album, “Unstoppable,” is the band’s latest album to be a chart-topper.

“This is the best group of songs we’ve had,” says Rooney, who took up golf with his father at age 13. “The great thing is that every song here means something deeply to us.”

Rascal Flatts’ next stop is next Thursday in Wichita, Kan., before moving to arenas in more of the Midwest and Eastern United States. Those big crowds don’t make him nervous in the least. But, he’s already getting nervous being on the first tee this weekend.

“I’m not sure what my tee times are as yet, but I know I have to be back at the hotel for a meet-and-greet each night by 7:30 p.m.,” says Rooney. “The shows start at 9 p.m.”

by Craig Smith, former director of media relations for the U.S. Golf Association

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