From Childhood Dream to Reality: Mark Howard's Passionate Pursuit of PGA Membership
By Kayla Gutierrez
Mark Howard has found a way to pursue his love for golf through the PGA Golf Management University Program.
Mark Howard’s story in golf is seeded in the small city of Mixco, Guatemala, where he was born. Howard never knew his biological parents, and maybe never will.
But life had other plans for him.
It led Mark to a wonderful family and two amazing parents, Joe and Janna Howard, who adopted him at 7 months old, bringing Mark to Lexington, Kentucky, where they’d raise him.
“I am so lucky to have such an incredible family,” says Howard. “From Day 1, they have supported me in everything I do and are the No. 1 reason I strive to be my best everyday. I really have no idea where I would be without them — they saved me, in a way, and I’m forever thankful for that.”
Where golf comes into the picture is through a special bond Mark has formed with his father. His dad introduced him to the game early on, and has emerged as one of the main reasons Mark loves the sport so much — a passion he now pursues in the Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) PGA Golf Management program.
“Some of my most memorable moments are going out to the par-3 course near our house with him,” says Howard. “I’ll never forget the memories we shared there.”
What started as a fun activity with his dad quickly turned into a dream of becoming a PGA Professional.
“I fell in love with the game at such a young age,” remembers Howard, “and my dad and I would spend countless hours on the range practicing together. That’s when I knew I was meant to be in the golf industry.”
Little did he know . . . that dream was not far out of reach.
Howard went on to play for his high school golf team and competed in local junior events but it wasn’t until he began applying for colleges that he found his calling.
For him, that was EKU — a college where he could pursue a bachelor’s degree but also learn how to become a PGA Professional through the school's PGA Golf Management University Program.
Currently Howard serves as EKU PGM Student Association President, an achievement that his younger self might have never thought possible. He’s also a 2022-23 PGA WORKS Golf Management University Scholarship recipient and the first student EKU has ever sent to represent their university at the PGA WORKS Collegiate Championship.
Outside of EKU, Mark was also selected as a University Program student leader representative to attend two PGA Annual Meetings and has experienced the ins and outs of the golf industry through paid internships at major championship venues, like Olympia Fields in Chicago and Valhalla Golf Club in nearby Louisville.
Reminiscing on his journey so far, Howard remembers being a young boy in Guatemala, who never thought being a PGA Professional would be possible.
Now, his dream has turned into a reality.
“I’m really proud to see how far I’ve come,” Howard adds. “I hope that my story serves as a reminder to everyone that no matter who you are, or where you came from, the golf industry has a place for you. I want to inspire others to follow their passion for the game, because you never know where it can take you or how far you’ll go."
“Work hard, dream big and, most importantly, never give up on yourself.”