A selfless volunteer and rules expert who made a lasting impact on amateur golf
by Troy Andrew, PNGA CEO/Executive Director
The PNGA owes its 124-year history to the dedicated efforts of its volunteers, who have served as the backbone of the organization. Remarkably, for over half of the association’s existence, it relied entirely on volunteers to keep it running.
There are thousands of volunteers who have contributed to the association’s success, but there are a select few that have gone above and beyond donating their time for the betterment of the game.
At the forefront of this group of selfless and dedicated volunteers was Midge Patten from Allyn, Wash. It is with a very heavy heart that we announce the passing of Midge on April 21 at the age of 80.
Midge was a dedicated volunteer for the PNGA, Washington Golf and the USGA for decades and I am blessed to have been able to call her a great friend.
Midge, who first picked up the game by playing at Tyee Golf Course in SeaTac, Wash., was best known as being a renowned expert on the Rules of Golf and serving as a referee at local, regional, and national amateur championships. She served on USGA and PNGA committees and inspired and trained many volunteers to become Rules certified and volunteer at USGA qualifiers and PNGA championships.
One of my fondest memories of Midge was during the PNGA Junior Girls’ Amateur. The championship’s format involved stroke play to qualify for match play. After the stroke-play rounds, each year Midge would lead a rules presentation on match play during the player dinner. I watched in awe as Midge captivated the young girls, engaging them with her enthusiasm and animated gestures. Her presentation was informative, yet fun, with the girls asking questions and laughing throughout.
It was evident that Midge’s passion for teaching extended beyond her own knowledge, as she took joy in educating the next generation of players. I enjoyed it just as much as the girls did and it remains a cherished memory of Midge’s talents and generosity.
In 2000, Midge was the recipient of the PNGA’s highest honor, the Distinguished Service Award. This award is given to volunteers who have made significant contributions to amateur golf. Midge and her childhood sweetheart, Jim Patten, who were married for 62 years, continued to travel around the Pacific Northwest and volunteer for numerous amateur championships even decades after receiving this award. Jim, also an expert on the Rules of Golf, served on the U.S. Amateur Public Links Committee for several years.
It is difficult to summarize how much Midge did for the game of golf and the many people she inspired. But it was her sincere spirit of volunteerism that made her a true treasure to the game.
I will always be deeply grateful for the help and support she has provided to myself and the PNGA over the years, but more than anything, I will miss her love and joy for people and the game of golf.
A Celebration of Life for Midge will be held at 11:00am on May 25, 2023 at LakeLand Village Community Club in Allyn, Wash.
Click here for Midge’s published obituary.