Player Profile: Darryl Donovan
23 Mar 2012
by Lynne Cowan of amateurgolf.com
see also: , Darryl Donovan Profile
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: How long have
you been playing golf and how did you get
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
AGC: What did you do in the
DD: I was an AH-1 Cobra attack
helicopter pilot from 1984 to 1991 in the
AGC: What was your best PGA
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
AGC: What are your goals?
DD: I'd like to win more National
ranking events like the Florida Azalea.