Off Stage: Darius Rucker Tees Up a New Gig

Off Stage: Darius Rucker Tees Up a New Gig

By William Glanz

Darius Rucker has two performances coming up later this month. That likely means that when he hits the road, he will have his guitar in one hand and his golf clubs in the other.

“We play pretty much every day on tour,” he told SoundExchange. “I’ll leave the house on the bus or leave a venue after a show, and when I wake up I’m usually parked in the parking lot of a golf course. We wake up, play golf and then head to the venue” for the next show.

After music, golf is Rucker’s passion. That passion has translated into a second job. Rucker, a GRAMMY® award winning singer, began hosting On Par with Darius Rucker on SiriusXM’s PGA Tour Radio station in July.

Rucker began playing golf as a teenager, and now he plays with his son after school (but only after he finishes his homework).

“My best friend’s dad started taking me to play golf when I was 14,” he said. “I just love it. I love being outdoors. I’ve played thousands and thousands of rounds of golf, and no two rounds have ever been remotely close. I love the competition with friends. It’s a very social game and something you can do outside, which makes it great.”

On Par with Darius Rucker is a labor of love, Rucker said.

“I want to bring a human side to the sport,” Rucker said. “A lot of golf programs are technical and about that 5-iron you hit from 240 yards. I want to talk about that stuff, but I want to talk about life. What kind of music do you listen to? What’s your hobby outside of golf? What gets you motivated? Their charities…stuff like that. That’s part of who they are.”

Shifting from singing for an audience to interviewing golfers has been easier than expected, said Rucker, whose fifth country album, When Was the Last Time, comes out October 20.

“I really didn’t know what to expect, whether it was going to be hard work or if it would be fun,” he said. “It’s been fun, and it’s been a lot easier than I thought it would be.”

Rucker is no slouch on the course. His handicap – the difference between his average score and par – is a mere 5.7.

“But who’s counting?” he joked.

He also has logged a hole-in-one three times – at Belle Terre in Myrtle Beach, Bulls Bay outside of Charleston, South Carolina, and Lahinch Golf Club in Ireland.

His favorite course, by far, is Augusta National, the famed course in Georgia that hosts the Masters each spring.

“Every time I play there I’m blown away,” he said. “Everything there is perfect.”

And the one course he hasn’t played but wants to is the Old Course at St. Andrews, the Scottish course that dates back to the 15th century.

Rucker’s next show will feature Kenny Perry, who won the 2017 U.S. Senior Open Championship in July.

“Golf is my only hobby, and my love for golf is the reason I wanted to do the show,” said Rucker, who majored in broadcast journalism in college. “I could talk about golf 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”

With his new show on SiriusXM, Rucker is much closer to reaching that goal.