COLE SWINDELL PICKED UP GOLF at 9 or 10 years old and hasn’t stopped playing since—except for a brief stretch in college when someone stole his clubs, and he couldn’t afford to replace them. That wouldn’t be an issue these days. Winner of the Academy of Country Music’s Best New Artist award in 2015, he has eight No. 1 singles, including “Chillin’ It” and “You Should Be Here.” His song “Break Up in the End,” which appears on his third album, “All of It,” was nominated for a Grammy. He’s also written No. 1 singles for a number of other country artists, including Thomas Rhett, Luke Bryan and Florida Georgia Line.
Swindell, 35, squeezes as much golf into his schedule as he can. Drummer Chris Marquart and guitarist Joel Hutsell play, and sometimes guys in bands they tour with do, too. “Golf is my main thing on the road,” Swindell says. “People think it’s glamorous, but it gets lonely. I’m just sitting there with the same view on a bus unless I get outside and find something to do.”
A West Coast tour last year brought him to a trifecta of special courses: Pebble Beach, Spyglass and Cypress Point. But his favorite golf experience remains Augusta National, which he describes as “what I imagine heaven looks like,” after a few rounds there.
We caught up with Swindell, who carries an 8.3 Handicap Index, in January