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.
Steven Braley, CEO of Legacy Golf Advisory Group
When a six-year-old Steven Braley picked up golf clubs, he said it was "love at first site." By age 14, he dedicated himself to the game. Braley received a varsity golf scholarship to Oklahoma State University, the nation's top ranked team. He earned a business degree, then went on to establish a career in the industry with Landmark Land Company. After 20 years with Landmark, he became a senior executive with Jack Nicklaus Golden Bear and later the Senior Director of the PGA of America.
Most recently, Braley founded the Legacy Golf Advisory Group. Through this endeavor, he hopes to match banks and other lenders with open space projects, thereby increasing facilities and jobs in the industry. It was this focus that sparked his involvement with the Golf Academy of America. Braley was immediately impressed with the diversity and commitment shown by the students. Through it all, Braley hopes that he can use his skillset to "preserve the integrity and history of the industry" while saving "good career opportunities."
Braley currently resides in Tyler, Texas with his wife of thirty-eight years, Merrilee. When not following his beloved Oklahoma State Cowboys, he enjoys working as an agronomist, emphasizing new ways to improve upon turf, landscaping and golf course vegetation.
Mark Darnell, PGA Master Professional and Golf Consultant
Mark Darnell, a top golf consultant, has played in seven national championships as an amateur, and in the British Open at St. Andrews as a professional. He counts Ben Hogan and Jack Nicklaus among his favorite golfers and friends.
Darnell earned a bachelor's degree from Purdue University, where he was captain of the golf team that won the NCAA championship and earned the rank of collegiate all-American. He was inducted to the Georgia Golf Hall of Fame, where he served as director for 12 years. He has received two national awards from the PGA: The Horton Smith Award for Education and Merchandiser of the Year. Darnell is a part of the PGA Master Professional and PGA Professional Golf Management faculty.
He has scored a 62 six times on four different courses, and has made 13 holes in one. Over the years, Darnell has served on 10 advisory boards. He wrote the PGA Merchandise Manual. He says that, "golf's greatest gift has been the friends I have made along the way."
Darnell enjoys spending time with his retired wife Sue and theirs sons Chris, who works for Microsoft, and Scott, who plays on the PGA tour.
If there is one thing that can be said about Billy Dettlaff, it is that golfing is in his blood. Based in Ponte Vera Beach, Fla., he is a second generation PGA Professional, and he says that golfing has been in his family for more than 100 years. The tradition is continued Dettlaff's daughter, Debbie Foley, a PGA Professional.
A 1973 Radio, Television and Film graduate from the University Wisconsin in Oshkosh, Dettlaff first worked as a photographer. The need to follow the family trade pushed him to his first love—golf. He spent nearly a decade with the Inverarry Country Club in Lauderhill, Fla., where he hosted the Jackie Gleason (Honda) Inverarry Classic. He spent the next 20 years with the TPC network and PGA tour.
Billy retired from the TPC and PGA in 2009, but he hasn't slowed down. He is currently a consultant for, among others, the PGA Tour and Titleist. He is also an adjunct faculty member for the PGA of America and on the board of the American Junior Golf Association. He is writing a book on the history of the golf profession.
Perry Dickey, Chief Operating Officer of the Newport Beach Country Club
After spending several years playing on the mini-tours, California native Perry Dickey took a job in a golf shop. He's been in love with the industry ever since. As he likes to say, "It's been a great ride!"
Dickey, a legend in the Southern California golfing community, is currently the Chief Operating Officer of the Newport Beach Country Club. During his tenure, the Club has hosted the Toshiba Classic, maintained in excess of 600 members and hosted various U.S. Open qualifying events. Along with becoming a PGA Master Golf Professional, he counts working at the Club as one of his greatest accomplishments.
When he's not watching John Wayne movies or listening to Led Zeppelin, Perry can be found spending time with his wife or riding his beach cruiser.
Jason Helman, President and CEO of Jason Helman Golf
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.
An Alabama native, Brent Krause has taken pride in showing that his state's passion for golf matches its passion for football. He has spent the last 20 years growing the Wynlakes Golf and Country Club, located in Montgomery, Ala., into one of the Southeast's premier golfing communities. This hard work culminated when he was named the 2007 PGA of America Golf Professional of the Year. He was inducted into the PGA of America Hall of Fame in 2009.
Having attended Harvard University's Graduate School of Design, Krause is uniquely qualified in the area of clubhouse and site planning. He is currently the only PGA Master Professional in Alabama.
Throughout his career, Krause has shown a passion for helping others. He has mentored seven former assistants who are now head trainers, and he has trained more than 30 Gold Management interns. Krause founded the Capital City Junior Golf Tour and has been a frequent speaker with the PGA.
Whether it's mentoring future trainers or fostering youth golf programs, Brent's passion and background will serve him well on the Golf Academy of America Advisory Board.
Jock Olson, Vice President of Marketing and New Business Development for ForeTees
With "Jock" as his given name, Jock Olson jokes that it worked out well for him to end up with a career in sports.
Olson hails from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, a city that both he and professional golfer Zach Johnson claim as their hometown. It was here that Olson and his father, a high school educator, spent their summers on the golf course, and Olson fostered a love for the game.
Olson started out with a Bachelor's degree in Radio, Television and Film from Southern Illinois University. He went on to become a PGA Master Professional and was a longtime Professional at Interlachen Country Club in Minneapolis.
These days, Olson works for ForeTees, a company that manages online reservations for private clubs internationally. He attends major PGA events as a company representative, and still teaches on a regular basis. His teaching focus is primarily veterans and those in the armed forces.
Olson was the 2002 PGA Golf Professional of the Year and is a member of the PGA Hall of Fame. As a member of the Golf Academy of America Advisory board, Olson will continue his career-long commitment to growth of the game. "I decided to serve on the board because I believe in the Golf Academy of America's mission," said Olson. "I respect those who have been involved in the past. In meeting GAA alums, I was impressed with their skills and commitment to serve the game."
Olson lives in Eden Prairie, Minnesota with his wife Cheri, and enjoys spending time with their daughters and grandchildren.
Cindy Rarick, LPGA Legends Tour Player
On the course, LPGA Legends Tour player Cindy Rarick is focused, but her interests don't stop at golf. She plays enjoys a good game of ping-pong, and is an ambassador of goodwill to the island of Kauai. She's also an investor in a Washington State winery, and an advocate of wine education.
Rarick was awarded a college scholarship for golf, but after two years, decided to leave and pursue her dream of playing competitively. Thirty years later, she can count 24 years on the LPGA tour and seven years on the LPGA Legends tour among her achievements. "Golf has been the greatest, most fulfilling career, allowing me to compete, travel the world and meet wonderful people," she said.
As a professional golfer, Rarick has five LPGA victories and one international win in Japan. She scored a 65 on the 73-par Wailer Blue course in Maui, Hawaii and has scored six holes-in-one during competition.
Rarick has made it a career goal to promote growth in the game of golf, particularly among women. She supports junior golf in Hawaii and Arizona.
On the Golf Academy of America Advisory Board, Rarick will bring fresh ideas and perspective on enrolling more female students.
Brad Redding, Director of Instruction at The Resort Club at Grand Dunes
Brad Redding has more than 20 years of experience teaching golf, and has been ranked nationally as a Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher.
As a six-time Tennessee PGA Teacher of the Year and Golf Digest's pick for South Carolina Teacher of the Year, Redding works on golf swings with players of all levels. He credits his success to a keen eye for imperfections and the ability to prescribe clear solutions.
Redding is director of Instruction at The Resort Club at Grand Dunes, where he operates The Golf Academy at Grand Dunes. He is a PGA Master Professional in Instruction, and a Golf Channel "Golf Academy Live" Instructor. He contributes to Golf Magazine, Sports Illustrated, Golf Digest, PGA Magazine and USA Today.
Redding is a faculty member for the PGA Master Professional Program in Instruction and serves on the Titleist Leadership Advisory Board.
Paul Reinking, Retired National Director of the PGA
Paul Reinking has been a lifelong golfer. At just six years old, his father and grandfather, both avid players, taught him the game. At twelve, he caddied alongside four other young men, each of whom became professional golfers. He went on to play on his high school and college golf teams, turning pro in 1969.
Throughout Reinking's 43-year career, one thing has remained constant: his love and enjoyment of the game. His passion for golf has led him to a wide-ranging and remarkable career. Reinking has served the PGA on virtually every level, including the chapter, state, regional and national levels. His efforts culminated when he was designated as a National PGA Director. Through it all, Reinking believes he "received far more than [he] was able to give."
It was through his association with the National PGA Board of Directors that he first became involved with Golf Academy of America. Reinking hopes that his unique and varied background in PGA education and employment will give him the expertise to help season new professionals.
Although retired, Reinking is still serving the golf community. He regularly teaches and volunteers at his local course through junior programs and charity events.
Reinking resides in Goodyear, Arizona with his wife, Judy. There, he enjoy playing pickleball, spending quality time with his wife and supporting his two grandsons in all of their endeavors.
Todd Sones, 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.