Former Hogs Star, Tour Pro Takes Reins at Cooper’s Hawk

Deane Pappas, the All-American Razorback golfer and eight-time winning Tour professional, has recently been named as Director of Golf Operations at Cooper’s Hawk Golf Course in Melbourne.

Deane (pronounced Deen) hails from Phalaborwa, South Africa, where he and three brothers grew up on a golf course and learned to love the game. The Pappas’ home club bordered a large wildlife reserve, where he recalls playing golf in the “world’s safari
capital” with exotic wildlife regularly roaming the links.

A young Deane developed enough skill to land him a scholarship to play for the University of Arkansas in the early 1990’s. In fact, two of his brothers were also varsity golfers for the Razorbacks—which helped solidify the connection of the Pappas’ name
to the state. The oldest brother, Craigen, played for Ohio State. To say Deane had an impressive golf career as a Razorback would be an understatement.

From 1991-92, he was a star for the Razorbacks—earning SEC all-conference honors both years, In ’92, he was named an All-American and won SEC Player of the Year. Pappas was inducted into the University of Arkansas Hall of Honor in 2002.

Notably, Pappas played on the same squad as John Daly, whose infamous lifestyle and major tournament wins have endeared generations of golf fans—especially those from Arkansas.

When Daly turned pro, he quickly caught notoriety for his extended backswing and impressive distance off the tee. But while playing for Hogs and into their earlier pro careers, Pappas’ driving distance was consistently longer than Daly’s.

“Not significantly, but enough where I had the bragging rights,” Pappas admitted. “We’ll just say that John’s always been consistent, he lives life to the fullest.”

Deane then embarked on his equally successful professional career, earning eight total career wins and dozens of top-ten finishes. He started out competing on the Sunshine Tour in South Africa and in European tournaments, but Pappas climbed the ranks to the
Korn Ferry Tour, and finally on to the PGA and PGA Champions tours.

Earlier in his pro career, his power led him to compete in long drive tournaments against the longest hitters in the game of golf. One of those long hitters is three-time World Long Drive Champion Sean “The Beast” Fister, who confirmed that Deane used to out-drive him.

“He’s one of the only guys to ever get the best of me, and it didn’t sit well with me to be honest,” said Fister, who added that Deane actually inspired him to “up my game.”

Fister, who has strong ties to Arkansas, went on to say, “This is great hire for Cooper’s Hawk, a course I love and have played many times. Deane’s a great guy, and his family’s name is such strong one in the state.”

Most recently, Deane has continued his legacy in Arkansas primarily in the golf operations and instructional sides of the game. He owned and instructed at the Deane Pappas Golf Academy in Fayetteville until 2013, and has served the past decade as director of golf at Ridgepoint Country Club in Jonesboro until taking this post at Cooper’s Hawk.

“I just love the people of Arkansas. I like the small-town feel, it reminds me of where I grew up,” Pappas said in his thick South African accent. “I like the laid-back atmosphere; it’s who I am.”

Deane and course owner Jim Cooper both feel this is a great fit due to their common mission to provide a relaxed atmosphere and to promote golf to everyone, particularly to junior golfers.

Pappas said he strongly supports junior golf because he feels it’s important to share the game that’s given so much to him. “It’s a way of giving back,” he said.

Cooper’s Hawk’s promotion of youth golf has been apparent since opening in 2001, when smaller classification schools in the area were just incepting golf teams. Since that time, more than 20 state championship golf teams and individuals have called Cooper’s
Hawk their home course.

“Cooper’s Hawk is blessed to have a journeyman PGA professional living here, teaching and managing our golf course operations,” added Cooper.

As director of golf, Deane’s day-to-day duties will be the management of golf operations, with a focus on merchandising and licensing of top brands, club-fitting, and instruction—as well member recruitment/retention, and bringing in people from all over
the region to have a first-class Arkansas golf experience.

To schedule an appointment with Pappas, book a tee time or learn more about a golf experience at Cooper’s Hawk, feel free to call the pro shop at 870-368-3280 or visit