In the midst of a long, productive career in golf, Mark Passey understands how fortunate he is to have made a career out of the game he loves. Passey, the USGA’s director of regional affairs for the Central Region, has spent the last 26 years working with state and regional golf associations and at national championships. He wouldn’t trade it for anything.
“From Seattle to South Florida, from San Diego to Boston, I’ve been able to see the whole country from a window seat. Every city you go to, the prettiest place in town is the club,” said Passey, who, by his count, has worked at 133 USGA championships. “It’s really fun to get up and go to work every day for an organization that has a mission that you believe in, your co-workers believe in. It’s really cool to be able to do this. I’m really lucky.”
Perhaps best known for his calligraphy and artwork on the scoreboards that often serve as a central meeting spot during championships, the fruits of his labor over the last three decades go well beyond his recognizable handwriting. Passey has played a big part in the expanded role that state and regional golf associations (SRGAs) play in the success of the game nationwide, and he is largely responsible for the Utah Golf Association’s transformation, serving as its executive director from 1984-1989. The UGA showed its appreciation on Oct. 10, inducting him into its hall of fame.
“Passey is Utah golf’s Johnny Appleseed,” said USGA Regional Affairs Committee member Mike Bailey during his introduction of Passey at the induction ceremony in Salt Lake City. “He has helped many Utahns advance to many important golf positions during the past few years and their influence will continue for years to come.”
During the five years that Passey was at the helm of the UGA, the association launched state mid-amateur and senior amateur championships as well as a statewide junior golf association. He also helped create the very hall of fame in which he was just inducted. It was this experience that allowed him to thrive in his current role with the USGA, which he has served since 1989. Coming from a strong SRGA that he made even stronger was a great template for how he has spent his years helping golf associations all over the country thrive.
Watch: Mark Passey Talks Scoreboards