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Donald Constable might not have ever picked up a golf club if it weren’t for his dad. His close relationship with his father led to a love for the sport he is now plays professionally.
Constable was born and raised in Minnetonka, Minnesota. The only son of four children, he grew up playing and watching sports with his father, who was also named Donald. He didn’t fall in love with golf immediately, but it was his relationship to his dad that ultimately brought him to the game. Every week, his father recorded the Sunday round of the professional tournament on VCR and the two would sit down and watch it together. Constable remembers not being entertained by golf initially, but he enjoyed the time with his father.
“I actually hated watching golf because I thought it was slow and boring,” Constable said. “I didn’t really enjoy watching it, I just wanted to hang out with [my dad]. But I watched so many final rounds of golf tournaments that I really started enjoying it and fell in love with it.”
As he got older, he continued playing golf with his father. His love for the game grew as he shared the greens with Donald Sr.—his friend and mentor. When he was 14, they won the Father-Son tournament at Spring Hill Golf Club near their home.
Constable grew up playing golf, hockey, and baseball, but he decided to focus on golf full time as a sophomore in high school. This decision led Constable to thrive on the course, and a future in the sport was coming into focus. He was excited to see how far he could go.
But the next year, tragedy struck:
Donald Sr. passed away after a battle with cancer at just 46 years old.
It was a difficult time for the family, but Donald Jr. didn’t let his passing get him down; he knew his dad would have wanted him to keep playing the game they loved.
So that’s exactly what he did.
Just nine days after his dad’s death, Constable found himself on the Whistling Straits Golf Course in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. He was playing in his fourth tournament on the Future Collegians World Tour. On the final day of the tournament, he was in a tie for the lead on the 18th hole.
After taking a drop for an unplayable ball, he chipped onto the green and left a 12-foot putt he needed to sink to send the match to a playoff. As he lined it up, he remembered the advice his father had given him on so many greens before: “Roll the rock.”
“When my dad said that, it meant you should make a good putt,” Constable told the Star Tribune after the tournament. “But it’s more than a saying to me. When I think ‘Roll the rock,’ the memory of my dad is so strong it feels like he’s there with me.” He drained it. Then went on to win the tournament after three playoff holes. His mother and three sisters were there to celebrate with him in an emotional time for the whole family.
Constable continued to dominate on the course in the coming years. He won two straight Minnesota State Championships with Minnetonka in his junior and senior seasons (one as a team and one individually), earning himself a scholarship to play at the University of Texas. He played two years for the Longhorns before making the decision to return home and play for the University of Minnesota. With the Gophers, he earned All-Conference honors and went on to play in three straight U.S. Amateurs, won two national tournaments and was the Minnesota Golf Association Player of the Year before turning pro in 2012.
As a pro, he made the cut through all four rounds of Q-School to earn the fast track to the PGA Tour. On the tour, he played in the 2014 U.S. Open in Pinehurst, North Carolina where he matched up against the best in the world. A dream come true for Donald.
For Constable, golf acts as both a safe haven and a memory of his father. Now more than a decade after Donald Sr.’s passing, Constable has found a way to remember his father on the course while helping a good cause at the same time: his hair.
“I grow it out, and then I donate it for cancer,” he said. “After I cut it [the first time] I started growing it out again but then I had to cut it for my wedding. So it’s coming back now—I think I’m at about six months and I’m going for 30, so it’s gonna be long. I always am the one guy on the course that has the big mop and the hair coming out of every corner of my hat.”
Donald Constable’s strength to persevere through a difficult loss and his work ethic to fight to be the best at every level is what makes him an UNRL athlete. We know we’re not alone in saying we are glad Donald Sr. introduced his son to golf, and he sure would be proud to see how far he’s come today.