CGA manager of junior competitions Jordan Mazzara starting his new job in new state amid very unusual circumstances
By Gary Baines – 3/30/2020
Jordan Mazzara turned 23 years old last week. Asked how he was going to celebrate, the CGA’s new manager of junior competitions said, “I think we might take the dog around the block and stay inside.”
Such are the days we live in, with many parts of the U.S. under stay-at-home orders designed to quell the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Many people have been significantly affected by the pandemic, and the confluence of the heightened societal concerns in the U.S. regarding the virus, and Mazzara joining the CGA staff, certainly led to a wildly out-of-the-ordinary start to his new job.
Mazzara’s first day, March 16, coincided exactly with when the CGA staff started working remotely, vacating the association offices in Greenwood Village for the time being.
Mazzara, who has lived in Wisconsin his entire life, is moving to Colorado after having never visited the state before his in-person CGA interview in February. But given the fact that the staff is working remotely, after touching base in Colorado in person on March 16, Mazzara drove back to Wisconsin, accompanying his mom on her trip back home.
So in a less-than-ideal way, Mazzara is learning the ropes about his new job with the CGA while nearly 1,000 miles away.
“It’s definitely kind of strange for me because I haven’t really met a lot of these (fellow staffers) in person besides for the interviews,” he said. “But I think everyone’s kind of in the same boat right now there. I don’t think anyone’s used to working remotely (on a consistent basis) or having meetings on the computer.
“The adjustment has been a little bit different than I expected but
(managing director of golf operations Ashley Barnhart and director of junior competitions Brent Vasa) have definitely helped ease that transition for me and it’s been exciting still to meet everyone through the computer and kind of get going with this next chapter in life.”
When things return to normal, Mazzara will be on hand helping run many Junior Golf Alliance of Colorado tournaments starting this year. The tournament season was originally scheduled to begin this weekend, but recent cancellations leave the openers on May 9. Mazzara indicated he’ll return to Colorado in advance of when the CGA reopens its offices — whenever that may be — if not well before.
Mazzara, a 2019 graduate of the University of Wisconsin, has some journalism experience, including writing on NFL and NHL matters for RotoWire, a fantasy sports website. But he gained a foothold in the golf administration business with a four-month internship last year at the American Junior Golf Association, where he helped out at a dozen junior tournaments, many of them in Texas, Oklahoma and Missouri.
That experience helped him stand out among the applicants for the CGA manager of junior competitions position.
“Anybody who has an AJGA background is definitely going to be heavily considered” when junior golf-related jobs open up, Vasa said. “That was one of the biggest things (that led to Mazzara’s hiring). Then in his in-person interview we had him do a little exercise to get insight into a day in the JGAC during tournament season — on how many problems may come up and how he could problem solve that. He handled that very well and covered the topics excellently so that really gave us a good insight on his qualifications.
“We’d ask him things like, ‘The interns are supposed to be here (to help with a tournament). They’re not here yet. Jordan, where are they? Things like that. It’s insightful on how they would handle certain problems.”
Mazzara said his experience with the AJGA — he didn’t work the AJGA Hale Irwin Colorado Junior last year, by the way — was invaluable, and whet his appetite for a job in golf.
“I really enjoyed what I did over the past summer,” he said. “Every single day was a new challenge. I’m getting up and going kind of directly to the golf courses — not a bad gig by any means. But I think it was kind of just dealing with people on a daily basis and seeing the kids grow throughout the summer. With the AJGA we had a lot of kids that you would have them in five tournaments throughout the summer and you kind of see their golf game grow. You’d see them mature as teenagers, and that was very rewarding. The people aspect is what made me want to get back into the golf realm.”
Indeed, after his internship wrapped up and he returned to Wisconsin, Mazzara found he missed what he had done with the AJGA.
“I really wanted to get back into the golf industry,” he said. “And that’s when I saw the job posting for the CGA and decided that it would not only be a good fit for a job, I think it’d be exciting to live in Colorado after having lived in Wisconsin my whole life. So it was
kind of a perfect situation that I wanted to try. I applied, went through the interview process and was fortunate enough to end up landing it.”
And with that, Mazzara was bound for Colorado, which he had never even visited before February.
“I think it probably would have been a big move even if I had visited a place before,” he said. “I’ve basically lived in Madison, Wis., my whole life so it’s going to be a big adjustment. I’m sure it will be a little bit frightening at first, but I’m really excited for the opportunity just because, like I said, I’ve never really lived anywhere else in my life and when you look at what Denver and Colorado have to offer, they really kind of have it all. That really kind of eases any worries about making the transition.”
As Mazzara is working remotely, he’s participating in many video calls, becoming familiar with navigating files related to his new job and how the CGA staff operates, and connecting from afar with the junior golf team from the Colorado PGA — the co-founders, along with the CGA, of the Junior Golf Alliance of Colorado.
“It’s almost an extended onboarding time instead of knocking it out in a week,” Vasa noted.
“We’re planning as much as we can, even though so much of the future is uncertain,” Mazzara said.
But when things do crank up, it’ll be go-go-go for Mazzara and the rest of the JGAC team as the Alliance has well over 100 tournaments on the schedule — and that’s even after some have already been canceled during to coronavirus-related reasons.