Dave Mazzeo paused and turned his head away from the phone.

“Thank you guys, appreciate it,” Mazzeo said.

It didn’t matter to him that he was being recognized for his own accomplishments. The people of Norway Country Club come first.

And it’s for that reason that Mazzeo is being recognized in the first place.

One of the pioneers of organized junior golf in Maine, Mazzeo, who’s been at Norway Country Club since 1976, is being recognized for his contributions to the game of golf in Maine this fall by his induction into the Maine Golf Hall of Fame.

“It’s such a great honor because you don’t realize, you think about all
the stuff that’s happened,” Mazzeo said. “You start thinking, ‘Well, we
did do this, and we did do that.’ It doesn’t feel like 34 years, it
honestly doesn’t. It feels like maybe 15.”

Mazzeo is among the six newly-elected members in the class of 2009, a list of contributors to the game that also includes former President George H.W. Bush.

“They sent out the pictures and (Bush’s) was above mine,” Mazzeo said. “I told people, ‘Oh, this must have been alphabetical.'”

That wit has served him well, especially with the younger golfers. Mazzeo began a free junior clinic for area youth immediately upon his arrival at Norway.

“I’ve run junior clinics on Friday mornings for the last 34 years,”
Mazzeo said. “That was at no charge. We still do it, and we’re going
strong.”

The following year, Mazzeo began a Tri-State Open at the course. It blossomed into a much-anticipated annual event, which has since been taken over by the Maine State Golf Association.

“I remember starting that tournament in 1977, we ran that up here
until 1998,” Mazzeo said. “Over the years, the MSGA started getting
tournaments at 18-hole golf courses, and our tournament had run its
time a little bit for a nine-hole course. We were a major force in
junior golf.”

Mazzeo quickly realized that junior golf was one of the primary building blocks of the very sport he loved. Get the kids involved, he found, and more adults started playing, too.Ten years ago, Norway expanded to include a driving range.

“With that driving range expansion, that’s really helped the
instructions with the kids, and it’s really made this a family golf
club,” Mazzeo said. “I average about 25 kids on Friday mornings, and
most of them are under 15, which means the parents have to drive them
up, and it exposes the parents to the club. They get to see what we
offer, with the pro shop, the restaurant, the driving range, and just
the conditions of the course. It all puts the package together.”

After so many years in junior golf, Mazzeo inevitably starts running into people he’s impacted. In fact, some of them even go to him.

“There was a family from Bangor, it was a rainy day, and the mother
stops by,” Mazzeo said. “I hadn’t seen her in 20 years. She looks at me
and asks, ‘Do you remember me, Dave?’ Her two sons had played in the
Tri-State back in the late 70s. That makes you feel good, and all she
wanted to do was stop in and thank me.”

Even in his travels to Florida in the winter time, Mazzeo can’t escape the work he’s done in Maine.

“I’ll be down in Orlando as the national PGA show, and I’ll be standing
in the room and someone will walk up and ask, ‘Hey, do you remember
me?'” Mazzeo said, starting to laugh. “They’ll say, ‘Well, I was at
your Tri-State Open in 1980.’ I’ll think, ‘God, I must be old.’ It
gives you goosebumps.”

He can’t be that old, he’s reminded, because people are still recognizing him 29 years later.

“Their eyesight must be failing,” Mazzeo joked.

His wife runs the restaurant at Norway Country Club, and has for 30 years, and Mazzeo said he has no plans of slowing down.

“When you come here and you do your thing, it’s fun, and the energy
level is still there,” Mazzeo said, “unless my wife tells me, ‘David,
it’s time to go.'”

Whenever that happens, Mazzeo said, the time he’s spent with his extended family at Norway Country Club has been well worth it.

“When you’re at a golf club for 34 years, you build up a reputation, and you just hope that it’s good,” Mazzeo said.

Given his accomplishments, there is no chance that it is anything less than spectacular.

Dave Mazzeo, golf pro at Norway Country Club, was elected into the Maine Golf Hall of Fame.


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