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Player Profile: Darryl Donovan
23 Mar 2012
by Lynne Cowan of amateurgolf.com

see also: , Darryl Donovan Profile

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He picked up golf at a young age. He played collegiately. He played plenty of professional golf and placed 56th at the 1992 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. Heck, he even flew an AH-1 Cobra attack helicopter while in the U.S. Army for seven years. Is there anything amateurgolf.com member Darryl Donovan hasn't done? Fresh off his win at the Florida Azalea, Donovan, a member of the site's Player Staff Program, caught up with Lynne Cowan of amateurgolf.com: amateurgolf.com: How long have you been playing golf and how did you get started?

Darryl Donovan: I started at a young age and have played off and on my whole life. My father caddied as a kid in Rye, New York and loved the game. My parents went to Memphis State where my Dad played basketball and were very close to John Schlee, who played on the golf team and later turned pro and played the PGA tour for 13 years. Schlee stayed with us each year in the mid 1960’s thru mid 1970’s during the PGA Tour's Doral and Inverrary events in South Florida.

AGC: Did you play in college?

DD: I played college golf at Eastern Kentucky University, McLennan Community College and finished up at Oklahoma City University.

AGC: When did you turn pro?

DD: I turned pro after leaving the military in 1991. I played the South American, Asian, Canadian and Hooters Tours and various mini tours for three years while trying to qualify for the PGA Tour. I wasn’t able to get through second stage of tour school so I hung them up in 1994.

AGC: What did you do in the military?

DD: I was an AH-1 Cobra attack helicopter pilot from 1984 to 1991 in the U.S. Army.

AGC: What was your best PGA Tour finish?

DD: I placed 56th in the 1992 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach.

AGC: When did you get your amateur status back?

DD: I stopped playing professionally in 1994 and started a high tech cleaning business. I started playing again in 1998 and submitted my USGA application for reinstatement and since I had not picked up a club in four years, I had my reinstatement 10 days after it was submitted.

AGC: What is your profession?

DD: I’d say Dad, serial entrepreneur and part-time golfer. My last project was an energy absorbing child seat/restraint that will be coming to market this summer. My next project will be golf related. I have a couple patented swing aides we’ll be launching this year.

AGC: Do you have a favorite tournament that you wouldn’t miss each year?

DD:I’ll do my best not to miss the California State Am since I’m lifetime exempt and it always has a great field. A close second is the Alameda Commuters, which has a lot of great history and they do such a great job putting it on.

AGC: Do you have a favorite course?

DD: Pebble Beach.

AGC: I see you have been an AGC member since 2005 and have played in many events. Do you have a favorite one?

DD: (amateurgolf.com founder) Pete (Wlodkowski) and I still laugh about a round we played together at Poppy Ridge when the weather was beyond hideous. He was incubating the idea for amateurgolf.com. I think I was one of AGC's first Lifetime members.

The AGC Cal Mid Am at Stevinson Ranch would be the favorite. Although, I hear the two-man event at Bandon Dunes is incredible.

AGC: Do you have any course records? What’s your low round?

I probably have a couple out there but don’t know for sure. 64 is my low competitive round.

AGC: The Florida Azalea is your most recent win? To what do you attribute your success there? Was it your first time playing there? Was this as big a win as the CA State Am in 2001?

DD: A fresh start. I took about six months off to reboot my game this winter and spent a couple sessions with Terry Rowles from San Francisco Golf Performance over the last couple weeks which paid off. Will Neel at willgolfbetter.com has also been a positive influence.

It was my third trip there. My parents live about 50 miles away so I can see them and compete. The California State Am at Pebble will always be at the top of my list.

AGC: Are you gearing up to play in the senior events in a few years?

DD: I'm not really thinking about it at this point. I really enjoy playing with the kids and hope I continue to have something to offer them in regards to mentorship. Senior sounds old and I continue to hit it longer each year so I’ll stay with the kids as long as I’m able.

AGC: I saw that you are married and have two daughters, does your wife play golf and have your daughters started playing golf? Do they have any interest?

DD: My wife Mena and I have been together going on 23 years and I don’t think I’ve ever seen her swing a club or that she cares to. She has always been supportive of my golf which is much appreciated.

My girls haven’t shown much interest to date. Kids want to be around their friends and golf tends to be a bit isolating. My oldest Emma, 12, is playing volleyball and my youngest Julia (8)just started in the 1st Tee of Gilroy last week with two of her classmates, so hopefully she will get the bug.

AGC: What are your goals?

DD: I'd like to win more National ranking events like the Florida Azalea.

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