Lodi golfer brings new meaning to the term ‘one long drive’

Ed Gebing and Ed Gebing

Imagine yourself having to get up early in the morning, before most peoples’ coffee has even started brewing.  After eating breakfast, you make a stop at the gas station to fill up your tank before you hit the road.

American River College freshman Colten Passey starts his day off at 5:40 a.m., before most students even think about hitting the snooze button.  He leaves his house and is on his way to school by 6 a.m., where he commutes 45 miles before his first class at 7:30 a.m.

Passey started out playing golf during eighth grade.

“One of my best friends played golf all of his life, I did basically every sport there was and couldn’t stay healthy, so he suggested I try out golf,” Passey said.  “He ended up paying for all my lessons and I just got super into it.”

Passey played golf at Jim Elliot Christian High School until his junior year before deciding to concentrate on basketball for his senior season.

Passey was drawn to ARC, where he was hoping to play for the basketball team.

“I got a call from [head coach Mark] Giorgi and he said to tryout for point guard, so I went there and played,” Passey said.  “I couldn’t stay healthy and they got a couple of good recruits, so I just kind of got lower on the depth chart, then Giorgi called up the golf coach, Mike Thomas, and I was like ‘Ah, I’ll pick up the clubs again.’”

Golf coach Mike Thomas touts Passey as a hard worker who uses his brain to help improve his level of play.

“Colten’s greatest attribute is his knowledge of the golf swing,” Thomas said.  “Even though he is young at it, he has the ability to make a swing that he wants to try to do. His golf IQ is high.”

Passey’s teammates really enjoy their time with him and appreciate his talent on the course.

“He’s a rad dude, he’s fun to play with,” Kelly Schnase said. “A lot of fun to watch especially when he’s on. He’s a really good golfer.”

After finishing his classes at 1:30 p.m., Passey heads to Stockton to practice golf at The Reserve at Spanos Park, which is closer to his home. He usually practices until 7 p.m., before heading home for dinner and studying.

Currently Passey is working toward his degree in business finance. He has aspirations of someday playing on the PGA Tour, with Augusta National, which hosts The Masters, being his dream course to play.  If that doesn’t work out, he would love to work as a golf course manager or do something with sales.

The advice Passey would give to anyone trying to improve their golf game is advice that should not be limited to the sport.

“Put in a lot of work, don’t be stubborn and think that you know it all, because no one knows it all, and just stay positive.”