Originally from South Charleston, WV, Harold R. Payne became and remains one of the most impactful amateur golfers in West Virginia. As a child, Payne grew up learning to play golf at Sleepy Hollow Golf Club in Hurricane, WV, where his parents were charter members in 1955. Now living in Hurricane, he remains an active member at the club of his youth.
At South Charleston High School, Payne earned All-State status in golf in 1971 and 1973. In 1972, while in high school, he was Low Amateur in the West Virginia Open. Upon graduation, Payne received a scholarship for golf at Marshall University, where he played in three NCAA Championships and led the Marshall University team to a 17th place finish in 1976. He was named All-American in 1975 and 1976. In addition, he was the team MVP, maintaining the lowest stroke average during each of his four years, and served as Captain his junior and senior years. In 1989, Payne was inducted into the Marshall University Athletics Hall of Fame.
Two years after graduation, Payne won his first West Virginia Amateur Championship at The Greenbrier. From 1979 to 1993, five West Virginia Amateur titles were added to Payne’s record. In 1986, he won his first of three consecutive West Virginia Open Championships, winning a total of four State Opens through 1993. Payne won the West Virginia Amateur and West Virginia Open in the same year in 1986, 1987 and 1993. In 1987, he added the West Virginia Mid-Amateur Championship to his record as well.
In addition to his remarkable accomplishments on the golf course, Payne served on the West Virginia Golf Association Executive Committee for 11 years and is a Past President of the West Virginia Golf Association (1996-2001). During his presidency, he is credited with starting the West Virginia Golf Foundation, helping initiate the William C. Campbell Scholarship Program and was a strong advocate for establishment of the West Virginia Golf Hall of Fame. A successful businessman, Payne has been in the insurance business for 34 years.