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Phoenix Faculty and Staff

The faculty and staff at Golf Academy of America in Phoenix are PGA Professionals, PGA Master Professionals plus other golf and general educators. Each student benefits from the expertise and professional networks of these professionals.

Campus Director

Tim Eberlein

Tim Eberlein

Mr. Eberlein, a PGA Master Professional, became a PGA of America member in 1994. He worked previously at Brynwood Country Club in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He received the Horton Smith Award for Excellence in Education from the San Diego Chapter in 1998 and the Southwest PGA Section in 2010. He was recognized as one of the top teachers in the country by T & L Golf and has written numerous articles for golf magazines.

Mr. Eberlein received his MBA from the University of Phoenix and his BS degree in Mechanical Engineering from Gannon University. He also served in the United States Peace Corp (1987, Gambia, Africa). He is a Master Club Fitter and TPI Certified Instructor. He also has an extensive background in tournament operations and golf management. Mr. Eberlein has been immersed in the entire Golf Academy of America experience—as a 1991 graduate, a full-time staff member, and as Campus and Placement Director in San Diego prior to relocating to Arizona.


Academic Dean

Tim Wilkins

Tim Wilkins

A golf professional since 1974 and a class A member of the PGA since 1978, Tim Wilkins was recognized as the Southern Ohio Section "Teacher of the Year" in 1999. He is also a past Southern Ohio PGA Section Champion winning the event in 1980 and a two-time National Club Professional qualifier. For the past three years Mr. Wilkins has been recognized as one of the Top 50 Golf Instructors in America by Golf Range Magazine.

He has an MBA from Virginia College and BBA from the University of Cincinnati, with a major in Marketing. As a representative of the PGA of America, he served on the National Committee for Golf for the Disabled. Mr. Wilkins has been the Director of Golf for the Special Olympics Ohio and a featured guest on Golf Channel’s "Golf Academy Live." In conjunction with the Golf Channel, he created and hosted a TV program titled "On the Tee with Tim X. Wilkins" which ran for six years on Time Warner Cable.


Director of Career Services

Fred Barr

Fred Barr

Mr. Barr has been a PGA Professional for 33 years with the Southwest PGA Section. He spent 31 of those years in Golf Operations Management, serving in public, resort, semi-private, and private facilities.

For over two decades he worked for American Golf Corporation, the largest Golf Management Company in the world, managing, leasing and owning over 300 golf courses in the USA and abroad.

In 2003, Mr. Barr received the Bill Strausbaugh Award for distinguished service in mentoring other PGA Professionals, integrity, character, and outstanding involvement in charity and community service.


Golf Professionals

Gary Balliet

Gary Balliet

Mr. Balliet has been a PGA of America member since 1980 and was formerly the Director of Golf at the Sheraton San Marcos Resort in Chandler, Arizona. He was also Director of Golf at the Del Webb Hillcrest Golf Club in Phoenix, Arizona, and is a certified club fitter. With over 20 years in private and public facilities management, Mr. Balliet has also written a book entitled “Carefree Golf” and produced a series of three golf instructional videos titled “Routine for Building a Golf Swing,” “Chipping, Pitching and Sand,” and “Putting.” Mr. Balliet has been an instructor at TGAA since 1996 and has extensive training and experience in club repair. He holds a B.S. in Education from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Ed Ekis

Ed Ekis

Mr. Ekis has been a PGA of America member since 1972. He was the Golf Operations Director for Del Webb Development Company, at Sun City West, Arizona. While there, he was involved in the planning and design of new clubhouse and physical facilities for five properties. Mr. Ekis was instrumental in developing the inventory control system for five independent golf complexes. In addition, he designed and implemented all teaching programs specifically tailored for the senior golfer and the physically challenged. As a golf instructor, Mr. Ekis has taught around the country for the John Jacobs Golf School in addition to his own golf school. Mr. Ekis is currently involved with video/computer aided golf lesson programs that involve the newest and latest trends in teaching.

Sean Ferris

Sean Ferris

Sean has been a resident of Arizona since 1982 and took up the game of golf at age 14 at Bellair Golf Club in Glendale, Arizona. Upon graduation from Ferris State University with a Professional Golf Management degree, he started his career as a PGA golf professional at Desert Mountain Golf Club in Scottsdale, Arizona. Sean has served the golf industry in many capacities over the years including Junior Golf Director for the Southwest Section PGA from 2001 – 2007, President of the Junior Golf Association of Arizona 2003-2007, Assistant Executive Director of the Junior Golf Association of Arizona from 2007 - 2010 and was named the "Junior Golf Leader of the Year" by the Southwest Section PGA in 2004. Most recently, Sean has served as the Executive Director of the Golf Industry Association.

Jay Friedman

Jay Friedman

Mr. Friedman became a PGA Professional Member in 1976 when he spent a year playing on the PGA Tour. He received a BA degree in Marketing from University of Oklahoma where he played on the golf team and was later Oklahoma Amateur Champion.

For 19 years he served as Head Professional at Meadowlands Country Club in Philadelphia where he was also Director of Instruction on a TV show called "Inside Golf." Mr. Friedman became a Teaching Professional in 2001 after which he played in seven Goldwater Cup matches, a PGA Senior Championship, two PGA National Club Professional Championships and three National Club Professional Senior Championships.

He is a Certified Club Fitter with Ping and Titleist and has held tournament committee memberships with Philadelphia PGA and Southwest PGA. He is co-owner of Friedman and DeAngles Golf Management Company.

Warren Pitman

Warren Pitman

Mr. Pitman holds a bachelor's degree in Communications with a minor in Marketing and Public Relations from the University of Tulsa. He played golf at the university level, and went on to play professionally on mini-tours before deciding to pursue a career as a club professional.

Pitman started his career as an Assistant Golf Professional at Tulsa Country Club, where he was elected to PGA membership in 1997. He went on to become Head Professional at Willow Creek Country Club in Oklahoma City. He managed all aspects of operations, including instruction, retail, budgeting, a golf cart fleet and member relations. Pitman worked as a Club Car Distributor for Justice Golf Car before moving to Phoenix and purchasing Bougainvillea Golf Club with his family.

At Bougainvillea, Pitman gained experience in property development, business planning, marketing, online sales, human resources and facility management. He still serves as General Manager, in addition to his role as PGA Instructor at the Golf Academy of America in Phoenix.

At GAA, Pitman teaches several golf operations and player development classes. He is active in both the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce and the Laveen/South Mountain Chamber.


Education Instructors

Denise Duarte

Denise Duarte

During her 25 years in the food service business, Denise Duarte has developed great teams to deliver the product quality, superb service and fresh approach to food service for members and guests within public, resort, semi-private, and private facilities. Denise has served as Food and Beverage Manager and Trainer for the Scottsdale Golf Group properties for over three years.

Her vast knowledge benefits Golf Academy of America students in all facets of food and beverage operations.

Rose Farmer

Rose Farmer

Rose Farmer teaches verbal communication skills. She holds bachelor's and master's degrees in Communication from Arizona State University and has been teaching communication courses for over ten years at locations including Arizona State University, University of Phoenix and community colleges. Classes include public speaking, interpersonal, relational, small group, and business communication.

For two and a half years she served as Campus College Chair for the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Phoenix but left the position to pursue her love of teaching full time. She has been the recipient of the Outstanding Master’s Teaching award and been recognized by the Vice President of Student Affairs at A.S.U. as an instructor with a dedicated commitment to education.

Robin Farran

Robin Farran

Robin Farran is an expert in golf rules and tournament administration having officiated or served as Official-in-Charge at more than 500 tournaments. He has served on the Executive Committees of the New York State and Arizona golf associations and is a member of the Board of the Junior Golf Association of Arizona.

Robin has served as a USGA Committee Member since 1998. He has officiated NCAA Championships since 1996 and USGA Major Championships since 1999. He conducts seminars on the Rules of Golf and Tournament Administration in Arizona and nationally. His Rules Study Group provides online help to tournament officials and PGA professionals across the country.

Sandy Hoboy

Sandy Hoboy

Sandy Hoboy is a writer, journalist, business consultant and teacher of written communication. She holds BA and MA degrees in language arts and has a solid background in all aspects of business communication. Sandy has written training manuals, resumes, grant proposals, business plans and promotional materials for both profit and non-profit businesses and organizations.

Kristin Hoffner

Kristin Hoffner

Kristin Hoffner is an instructor at the Golf Academy of America in Phoenix, specializing in health psychology, exercise psychology and motivational theory. She has received multiple awards of excellence during her 10 years teaching in higher education.

Hoffner holds a bachelor’s degree in Sport Management and Communications from the University of Michigan and a master’s degree in Sport and Exercise Psychology from Arizona State University. She is a current member of the North American Society for the Psychology of Sport and Physical Activity (NASPSPA) and the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM).

Dan Konzen

Dan Konzen

Dan Konzen is an educator and corporate leader with over 20 years of leadership and organizational change experience. He has broad experience in all aspects of financial, risk, knowledge management and the strategic development and application of innovative technology solutions for multiple organizations in both profit and non-profit sectors.

In addition to his work at Golf Academy of America, Dan currently serves as the Chair of Financial Planning and Control at the University of Phoenix School of Business. Prior to this he served as director of finance, chief financial and risk officer and acting chief information officer of national warranty and administration companies.

He is currently pursuing his PhD in Walden University's Applied Management & Decision Sciences program with an emphasis in Leadership and Organizational Change. He is an active member of the American Risk and Insurance Association (ARIA), Risk and Insurance Management Society (RIMS), Society of Financial Service Professionals (FSP), Public Risk and Insurance Management Association (PRIMA), Academy of Management (AOM), the American Management Association (AMA), Phi Delta Kappa International and Sigma Iota Epsilon (SIE). He holds an active Property & Casualty Insurance Broker License and a Life Insurance License in both California and Arizona.

Ryan James (R.J.) Lancaster

Ryan James (R.J.) Lancaster

Mr. Lancaster is a guest instructor at the Golf Academy of America’s Phoenix campus, teaching business and golf. He also serves as a mentor for new faculty.

In his time off the course, Mr. Lancaster is president of The Education and Learning Institute LLC, a seminar and research company. He was formerly vice president of University of Phoenix. There, he has been an adjunct faculty member for 24 years, teaching in the MBA program. He has been chosen "Outstanding Faculty Member" four times.

Mr. Lancaster spent 21 years in the corporate arena, both domestically and internationally, holding executive positions in companies of all sizes, including IBM and Ramada Inns. He earned a Bachelor Degree in Business from Arizona State University and a Master of International Management from the American Graduate School of International Management.

Dr. John Parks, D.C.

Dr. John Parks, D.C.

Dr. John R. Parks, D.C., is a welcome addition to the Physical Education Department. He became hooked on golf in 1982 and has been practicing chiropractic with emphasis on enhancing sports performance for over 30 years. He earned a Bachelor of Science from Salem College majoring in Physical Education and Biology and graduated from New York Chiropractic College in 1977.

H.M. (Mickey) Walthall, J.D.

H.M. (Mickey) Walthall, J.D.

Mickey Walthall has practiced law for over 37 years including business, international business, litigation, appellate, criminal, family law, wills/estates and probate, aerospace, public/government law, administrative law and other areas of law. He is admitted to practice in Arizona and Texas, as well as several federal district and appellate Courts.

He received a Bachelor of Arts and a law degree from Texas Tech University.

Mickey has taught for the University of Phoenix for 23 years and has been a guest lecturer in China since 1993. He has taught numerous types of courses including business law, international law, ethics, administrative law, intellectual property and others.