Player of the Year - Joe Massara
We sat down with the 2023 Player of the Year to learn more

"The Top Gun event will always hold a special place in my heart, as it was my first competitive victory on the PEGT Tour in 2021.  Winning it for the 2nd time in 3 years is pretty hard to believe, but this year felt even more meaningful.  To earn another spot for my name on a trophy that’s now associated with one of the greatest Golden Tee players of all time is an incredible honor.  Having Mark’s family in attendance speaks volumes about how much Golden Tee meant to him, his legacy, and his family – it’s one that I’ll never forget." Joe Massara

Joe Massara, known in the Golden Tee community as JoJo, is one of the best Golden Tee players to ever touch a trackball.  2023 helped cement Joe's legacy as he won his second Player of the Year tournament.  The field was more stacked than it has ever been, but Jojo is no stranger to cutthroat competition.  He is well known in the community for his dominating performances in the daily contest and his abilty to hit "fulls" into almost anything. 

Joe defeated Paul Luna with a one better to go on to win the King of the Hill match against Paul Tayloe.  At this point in the tournament, only one name stood between JoJo and absolute victory.  A voice amplified by one hell of a PA system (IYKYK) reverberated through the venue as Steve Sobel announced "Machine 4 Joe Massara, Andy Haas for the grand finals of Player of the Year."

This game was a nail biter, as Jojo would hole out with Andy Haas to follow up with the answer.  On Hole 18 Jojo was left with a make or break chip shot. He nailed it, of course. The match was destined for overtime.  After 20 holes of OT, Jojo missed a long putt, clearly disappointed with his execution.  Applause rose through the crowd as the first match ended and we moved on to the Ultimate Grand Final.  Joe hadn’t lost a match up until this point.  There was one more game to play for Andy Haas and Joe Massara, and the winner would be this year's Player of the Year.

On hole 8 of the match, Jojo hits a low tee thumb shot and absolutely drains it.  Haas fails to answer back for the first time in the tourney, and Jojo is one stroke ahead with 10 holes left to play.  The door would slowly shut as both players burned the edges of the cup, but played clean.  Joe went on to win the match, sealing his second Player of the Year title.

"Having any lead against Andy is quite the accomplishment, but you know in the back of your mind, it’s never over (ref: hole 15 of our previous match).   Thankfully, I was able to keep the train on the tracks until there wasn’t any track left.  Being able to come out on top against someone I have so much admiration for made it even more special – it was hard to hold the emotions together finishing up on 18." -Joe Massara

 It’s hard not to wonder how Joe became such a dynamic an impressive Golden Tee standout. According to JoJo, his uncle had a Golden Tee Classic in his basement and he spent hours upon hours squaring off against his cousin.  As Joe got older, more of his friends took an interest in GT, meeting at a local bar to play a few rounds.  Joe found his match in a gentleman named Nick Cornelius.  They became intense competitors, forming a friendship over their love of slamming the track ball.

JoJo found himself craving fiercer competition, exploring his local scene, and meeting some outstanding players along the way.  He studied Youtube replays from previous events trying to gain any edge possible.  It was only a matter of time before he attended his first major event, and Joe would attend the Missouri open on the National Golden Tee Tour in 2012.  In his first CTTP match he was paired with none other than Graig Kinzler, already a legend of the game.  Greg was friendly, helpful and welcoming, and Joe knew this was something he wanted to do for a very long time.

 Eventually Massara would become a regular at Powercade, a premier location for Golden Tee (which we’ll explore further in a future Livewire article). "Having the ability to work on my craft at the Powercade is truly a blessing.  The guys that are there now and have come and gone over the years are very special to me.  I`ve been fortounate enough to learn from what I`d consider legends of the game, both past and present.”

 Joe would go on to harness the skills he developed at the Powercade to win his first major event in 2021.  Not many players can say that their very first win on the National #GoldenTee Tour came from the Player of the Year tournament, but we have come to expect nothing less than greatness from Joe.  Things are only getting better for Massara, winning the Missouri Open and tacking on another Player of the Year victory this year. 

 "Ultimately, I want to entertain people- give them any added joy in their lives by watching me perform.  If I can’t do that, I’d hope to be able to pass along knowledge I have to future players and let them contribute to the joy this game gives to those that experience it." 

Golden Tee PGA TOUR 2023
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