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July Volunteer Spotlight: Richard Urankar


By Taylor Albritton, Boatwright Intern


Our continuous tradition of spotlighting one of our devoted volunteers to show our appreciation for all their hard work, both on the course and with our members, continues this month. The month of July features an accomplished and enthusiastic Rules Official, Richard Urankar.

Born in rural Ohio in 1955, Richard describes being “almost a farm boy”. He grew up with three older sisters and his parents, one of whom was a first-generation Slovenian immigrant father who worked as a country doctor.

At the age of 10, Richard was introduced to the game of golf by his father. He recalls many memories from playing golf as a young boy, but his fondest memory was his first hole-in-one at the age of 14. His interest in golf among other sports continued into his high school career where he played soccer, basketball and golf. Richard describes enjoying and excelling in team sports throughout his young life, while also greatly enjoying the individuality and integrity aspect golf requires.

After high school, Richard decided to attend the University of Pennsylvania where he obtained an undergraduate degree in economics from the Wharton School of Business. At the University of Pennsylvania, Richard again played sports competitively on the collegiate soccer and golf teams.

Graduating from college, Richard accepted a job with Arthur Andersen in Houston, Texas, and worked as a CPA for one of the largest accounting firms in the country at the time. His accounting experience eventually ended, and Richard decided to move into corporate finance. However, his successes wouldn’t stop there, as his next accomplishments would land him in New Jersey where he held political office as a city council member and later as mayor.

Once his life settled down and his three boys grew up, Richard retired and focused more on leisure and rediscovered his passions; this included falling back in love with the game of golf. Now residing in Park City, Utah with Karen, his wife of 37 years, Richard describes his two new passions in life as skiing and golf. Richard now participates in ski racing in the master ski division and has finished in the top ten in the master program for his age division. When he’s not skiing, particularly in the summer, Richard regularly works qualifiers and tournaments as a UGA Rules Official.

After taking a break from golf while he worked for almost 30 years, Richard rediscovered golf and decided to try and improve his game. His efforts have certainly payed off and have led him to getting interested in knowing the Rules of Golf on a deeper level. Incidentally, Richard decided to attend the USGA Rules Seminar in New Jersey and found himself immensely enjoying the entire process. His investment in learning the Rules has resulted in new friendships, new experiences and new knowledge, and he has since been volunteering with the UGA for the past three years.

“All of the Utah Golf Association people made me feel very welcomed and very valued. I like being around everyone, and that’s why I keep volunteering,” Richard describes his joy found in volunteering. While the rules of golf have attracted him to volunteering in that capacity, Richard says he would love to volunteer in other ways as well such as course set-up, starting and course rating. “I am just always interested in learning as much as I can,” says Richard.

Clearly, the game of golf has played a big role throughout Richard’s life, and the UGA is very grateful for it to have led him to us. Richard says he hopes to keep volunteering as well as improving his golf game. In fact, his biggest golf-related goal is to qualify to play in the Utah State Amateur.

We can never fully express our gratitude for our volunteers and all the work they do to help us fulfill our mission to promote interest in the game of golf by encouraging, organizing, supporting, sponsoring and administering golfing activities and programs. The summer season would not be possible without the aid of passionate, hard-working volunteers like Richard. If you are interested in volunteering for the Utah Golf Association, contact Rules and Competitions Director Jacob Miller at [email protected] or 801-563-0400.