Glanzman Uses Golf to Motivate Others

by Phillip King

World boxing champion George Foreman said he had proven the age of 40 is no death sentence when as a 43-year-old he pummeled Michael Moorer for the title in 1994.

Jockey Willie Shoemaker made a mockery of convention in winning the Kentucky Derby in 1986 at the age of 54.

So what does that say about 55-year-old Worthington resident Donna Glanzman?

Glanzman is a friendly and outgoing woman for whom the adjective bubbly could have been coined.  Not only is she among the better women golfers at Brookside Golf and Country Club, an accomplished motivational speaker, published author and public relations professional—she also, decided at the age of 50 it was time to enter an arena usually reserved for women half her age.


Yes, you got it right.  The heels, gown, and sometimes bathing suit kind of pageantry.  “I’m writing a new book, The Sport You Never Thought to Play,” she says.  “And Pageantry is a sport.”

Her decision to compete on runways as well as fairways wasn’t an easy one.  But once she made up her mind, she began working with a trainer and dove in.  “I’m very competitive, but pageantry gave me motivation to really get into shape,” Glanzman says.

The hard work began paying off almost immediately.

“The first pageant I was in, I got first runner-up to a 26-year-old,” she says.  In 2003, Glanzman won both the Mrs. All-American and Ms. Ohio Senior crowns.

Yet golf is also a constant for her and her family.  Glanzman is the 2004 chairwoman for the Brookside Golf Associates, and from 1999-2000 was president of the Columbus Women’s District Golf Association. She even got to know her husband Gary when, on a blind date, he declared he didn’t play golf with girls.  As a result he did play golf with Donna, and while she didn’t beat him, she says, she didn’t embarrass herself, either.

“Golf is part of our lives in every way,” she says.

“I started playing golf when I was 13, 42 years ago, that’s hard to believe,” she says.  “My mother is an excellent golfer, 79 years old and has a 19 handicap.  She was club champion at two different golf clubs, even though she did not take it up until I was about 8.”

Glanzman said her mother gave her two of the best pieces of golf advice she ever had.  “When you’re putting or pitching, always pretend you’re rolling the ball underhand,” she says.  “And, if you peek, you’ll hate what you see.”

Glanzman has her own views on the sport, equating it in some ways to life.  “I think God is a golfer, I really do,” she says.  “I think he loves the game.  Golf is the absolute epitome of ‘keep trying’, no matter how hard it’s been, you have to finish.  You have to hit the ball again, you have to keep trying.  Eventually, you are going to sink that putt.”

In recent months, Glanzman has brought to print her latest book, The Magnificent Seven Plus One.  It’s an inspirational-type work from a deeply religious author, with chapters such as “Surround Yourself with People Who Understand, Care and Support,” and “Believe There is a Hole in Your Heart That Only God can Fill.”

It may be easy for some to dismiss Glanzman and her philosophy out-of-hand if they assume she is simply a Worthington society matron who had lived an easy lifestyle for years.  Such has not been the case.  In fact, it’s been a hard climb, peaks and valleys, as she puts it. 

A while back Glanzman’s personal life was in taters.  She’d been divorced from her first husband, coming out of the marriage with little more to show for it than three small children to care for.  She was working three jobs (one of them selling satellite dishes) to make ends meet, and, as she says, the ends just weren’t meeting all that well.  “I was broke.  If someone had told me my life would be like it is now when I was a single mom, I never would have believed them,” Glanzman says.  “But I’m a firm believer that God opens doors, and you have to be ready to walk through them.”

From:  Mid Ohio Golfer, august 4-15, 2004