Adapting to a new generation of golfers

From club golfer to Tournament Director

By Chris Mari

When I was first introduced to the National Collegiate Club Golf Association (NCCGA) and Nextgengolf, I was told that the golf industry was a small world and that you’ll run into some familiar faces. Of course, being a naive 18-year-old I brushed this to the side.

I started to get involved in a lot more NCCGA events as a club golfer from UCF. In January 2017 I became the NCCGA South Florida Regional Coordinator. I was running competitive golf tournaments for college golfers and I got to see both the external and internal operations of running a tournament. I was even crazy enough to play in the tournaments I ran, and trust me, it’s just as stressful as it sounds. I also had the unique opportunity to become a brand ambassador for Srixon/Cleveland Golf after being a Regional Coordinator, and I can gladly say I am still representing them to this day.

Chris Mari and Dustin Johnson Nextgengolf

So let’s fast forward to now, I graduated in May 2018 after 2 regional championships and 2 National Championship appearances with UCF in 4 years. I returned back to TGA Premier Sports in Orlando, FL to help run Summer golf camps for kids ages 14 and younger. As much as I love to coach, I wanted to do more and help make a bigger impact on junior golf.

This is when I applied for the Tournament Director position at the Hurricane Junior Golf Tour. My resume was full of golf experience on the coaching end and the tournament end, so I knew I had a slight edge. I got the call back from management saying they wanted to interview me for the position. Ironically enough, the person who interviewed me, who is in charge of all the tournament directors, played club golf as well. He was even the club president at his school during his collegiate club golf days so he understood what I was going through.

Learn About the NCCGA  Does your college have a club golf team?

After going through many stages of interviews, I was officially offered the position in mid-August, and now I'm in a position that is exactly what I know and love. For all you club golfers out there, a piece of advice for you: the golf industry may seem large to you, but connections are a big thing. Get involved early, experience is key, but life for some odd reason lets you know that it’s going to work out in the end if you’re willing to put in the effort.

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