Golf Academy of America Advisory Board
The Golf Academy of America Advisory Board is composed of PGA professionals and industry experts, including national award winners. Together they are helping Golf Academy of America keep current with trends in the golf industry and provide invaluable strategic advice. They also serve as resources for both current students and alumni.
Cathy Harbin, PGA & LPGA Professional, Owner of Oncourse Operations
When ClubCorp hired Cathy Harbin to be their Vice President of Golf Revenue, she brought more than 20 years of quality experience to the company. She is responsible for assisting ClubCorp's Golf and Country Club Division in initiatives to grow the game, increase rounds, drive golf instruction and enhance the member and guest experience.
Prior to joining ClubCorp, Harbin served as executive director of Golf 20/20, a World Golf Foundation national initiative focusing on the future vitality of the game. In this role, she helped start the Get Golf Ready program, which now has more than 100,000 participants at 1,850 certified facilities. She led Golf 20/20's Image of the Game initiative, the administration of We Are Golf, Golf 20/20's economic impact research efforts, and the activities of Golf 20/20's various committees.
Harbin, a graduate of Indiana University, has also worked with Honors Golf. Because of her lifetime of dedication to the game of golf and its future, she was inducted into the North Florida PGA Hall of Fame in 2012.
Jason Helman, CPGA, Director of Instruction, Wyndance Golf Club
Jason Helman scored a 92 on his first round of golf. A year later, he shot a 67.
At 20, Helman decided to pursue golf as a career, enrolling in the Golf Academy of America. These days, he's a top ranked golf instructor whose goal is to grow the game and help student enjoy their time on the course. He counts being awarded the 2010 National PGA of Canada Teacher of the Year as a career highlight, and made a guest appearance on Golf Channel's Morning Drive to mark the occasion.
The Toronto-based Helman is a lifelong learner, continually searching for new or better ways to present information to students and to expand his own knowledge. "l really enjoy seeing people succeed at whatever level they're playing at," said Helman. He likes, "putting a smile on their face when they finally see the shot they've been hoping to produce for such a long time."
In high school Helman was the rhythm guitarist for a band. Their hit song became the number one request 6 straight weeks in a city of 200,000 people. They were even approached by Warner Bros., and lucky for the golf industry, never came to an agreement for a recording contract. He enjoys an occasional game of poker and fishing, when time permits.
Todd Sones, PGA Instructor, Owner of Todd Sones Impact Golf
When Todd Sones started playing golf as a teenager, he didn't waste any time getting involved with the PGA. He entered the apprentice program at 18, before he even graduated high school. He's been working in golf ever since.
Sones, who worked at the Golf Academy of America for six years, currently owns Todd Sones Impact Golf, a school in Vernon Hills, Ill. Here, Sones and his team analyze swings, then break player plateaus by teaching personalized swing mechanics. He has been named the Illinois PGA Teacher of the Year twice, and has been named to the Golf Digest "50 Best Teachers" list, as well as to the Golf Magazine "Top 100 Teachers." PGA Magazine ranked him in the "Top 50 Influencers of the Game."
"I always want to keep learning and improving," Sones said. "It's been a great journey…I wouldn't want to do anything else."
Sones has a strong faith, and is active in his church. He travels to Honduras annually to volunteer at an orphanage. He enjoys spending time with his wife Linda and sons CJ and Owen.