Special to the Guide
The Hilton Head Island Celebrity Golf Tournament got a late boost of musical star power this month with the addition of Jay DeMarcus and Joe Don Rooney.
While you might not know their names, you know their band, Rascal Flatts, which has sold more than 20 million records, enjoyed delirious country music success and soundtracked at least part of every wedding you’ve ever attended.
DeMarcus, speaking from a Madison, Wis., stop on the band’s 2011 Flatts Fest tour, said he got hooked up with the tournament through his wife’s family, Lowcountry residents whom he’s visited each summer for almost 10 years.
“We happened to have that weekend off, and both Joe Don and I are golf fanatics, so it made sense to be a part of it,” DeMarcus said.
Indeed, DeMarcus and Rooney are charity-golf regulars; in July they played in the American Century Championship Celebrity Golf Tournament in Lake Tahoe alongside Michael Jordan and Ray Romano. Aside from the charitable aspect, golf, DeMarcus said, is something that’s easy to maintain even for country supergroup-types.
“When you roll into a town, you have all day long until you play that night,” he said. “We’ll find a country club or a course somewhere close to the venue during the day, roll back in about 4 or 5, shower up and get ready for the meet-and-greet and do a show.”
That’s not to say, however, that DeMarcus considers himself ready for the PGA kind of tour. “Joe Don is certainly the better golfer,” he said. “I’ve recently gotten more serious about my game, but I’m in a little bit of a slump right now. I’m working out some glitches in my swing.” Asked to rank himself on a 0-10 scale, DeMarcus demurs, putting himself in the “4-5 range.”
Golf, needless to say, plays a big role in DeMarcus’ annual Lowcountry visits — as does getting out for a night or two. In fact, if you time it just right, you can catch him sneaking onto local stages.
“I always like to find wherever the Simpson Brothers are playing and spend a couple of nights with them; they’re two of the most talented brothers I’ve ever seen,” he said. “They’ve been at the Quarterdeck, the Electric Piano. I always try to sit in and pick a little bit with them.”
DeMarcus’ full-time outfit’s most recent album, “Nothing Like This,” was released in November and certified platinum earlier this month, much like a lot of the band’s releases. All of Rascal Flatts’ seven albums have been certified platinum; their highest-selling, 2004’s “Feels Like Today,” hit that mark five times over. Of their 26 singles all but one has made the Top 10 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs charts, and 11 have made it to No. 1.
“Especially in this day and age, it’s harder and harder to sell records,” DeMarcus said. “Definitely a platinum album means even more now than it did five or six years ago. Artists really struggle to sell records, and to know that people are taking their time and money to pick up an album — still care enough to do that — never gets old. We try to never take it for granted and we feel very blessed because of it.”
CELEBRITY GOLF TOURNAMENT EVENTS
• Wine dinner with celebrity guests at Robert Irvine’s eat!, featuring Eagle Eye Wines. $100 a person
• Oceanside party featuring the Headliners
• Red Carpet Event: Robert Irvine’s “Dinner: Possible!,” featuring Deas Guyz
Details: 843-842-7711, www.hhcelebritygolf.com