San Diego Faculty & Staff
Rich Iorio, PGAGolf Academy of America - San Diego
Mr. Iorio is a Class A PGA member who has been working in the golf industry since 1986. Mr. Iorio brings a tremendous amount of operational experience to the Golf Academy of America. Mr. Iorio has spent the majority of his career in golf operations focusing on budgeting, merchandising, marketing, food & beverage, and instruction. Mr. Iorio has established his career through golf clubs, such as Fieldstone Golf Club in Greenville Delaware, Hartefeld National Golf Club in Avondale Pennsylvania, Flint Hills National Golf Club in Andover Kansas, Terradyne Resort hotel & Country Club in Andover Kansas, Sim Park Municipal Golf Course in Wichita Kansas and Oakwood Country Club in Enid Oklahoma. Mr. Iorio is also a graduate from Wichita State University where he earned his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sports Business and was a member of the Wichita State University golf team. Mr. Iorio is an expert in the use of video, 3D motion analysis, launch monitor technology, club fitting, and is a TPI certified golf instructor. Mr. Iorio is actively involved in the YMCA and Boys & Girls Club volunteering his time developing new and enhancing existing programs.
Steve Kaese, PGAGolf Academy of America - San Diego
Mr. Kaese is a Class A member of the PGA of America. He has an extensive background in teaching and was nominated for Southern California Section Teacher of the Year in 2010. He has also hosted education seminars for the San Diego Chapter of the PGA on subjects including technology and teaching. Along with having a vast understanding of technology, he is also a certified TPI golf instructor. Prior to being at GAA, he held Director of Instruction positions at Riverwalk Golf Club and Mission Trails Golf Club in San Diego and Celebration Golf Club in Orlando, FL.
Originally from Chicago, he started his career as an assistant golf professional at Fresh Meadow Golf Course in Hillside, IL. Mr. Kaese graduated from University of Illinois, Champaign with a Broadcast Journalism Degree. Prior to being in the golf industry he spent time working for radio and television stations in Chicago.
Director of Admissions
Henry SalgadoGolf Academy of America - San Diego
Mr. Salgado has been in the post-secondary education industry for 10 years holding positions in various aspects of the school such as Admissions Associate, Director of Career Services, Campus Director, and Director of Admissions. Mr. Salgado has previously held positions with B&H Education (Marinello Schools of Beauty), California Paramedical and Technical College, Kaplan Higher Education, and the National Association of Heavy Equipment Training Schools. Being involved in all aspects of an educational facility has helped Mr. Salgado understand and relate to students and their needs which in turn allow him to best serve them.
Director of Career Services
William Buzz Gill, PGAGolf Academy of America - San Diego
William Buzz Gill is a Lifetime Class A PGA member. He has served in a wide range of golf positions: Head Golf Professional at Quail Creek Country Club in Oklahoma City; President/Director of Golf at Wood Ranch Golf Club in Simi Valley, California; Vice President of Operations for the Landmark Land Co. in La Quinta, California; Senior Vice President of Operations for the Landmark Golf Co. in Indian Wells, California; President of Landmark Golf East in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; and CEO/General Manager at Indian Ridge Country Club in Palm Desert, California. After a brief retirement, Mr. Gill started a second career as an adjunct instructor at the San Diego campus of the Golf Academy of America where he taught Workplace Ethics and Capstone.
Gill is a graduate of Whittier College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration. After graduation from Whittier, he embarked on a teaching/coaching career then entered the golf profession in Okla. City working for Ernie Vossler and Joe Walser.
He is married and has four grown children and seven grandchildren.
Director of Financial Planning
Patricia LunaGolf Academy of America - San Diego
Ms. Luna has worked in educational settings for over 15 years. After starting in academics, she found her niche in financial aid, holding positions such as Financial Aid Officer, Financial Aid Administrator, and Corporate Review and Compliance Specialist on various campuses. After being self-employed as a financial aid consultant for six years, Ms. Luna joined the Golf Academy of America as Director of Financial Planning, where she manages the Financial Planning Departments of the school’s Western Region, consisting of the San Diego and Phoenix campuses.
Sean Anthony, PGAGolf Academy of America - San Diego
Mr. Anthony is a Class A member of the PGA of America. He has held positions as Head Golf Professional, Assistant General Manager at Temeku Hills Golf and Country Club. He has over fifteen years of teaching experience throughout Southern California and Baja, Mexico. Mr. Anthony holds a Bachelor's of Science degree for San Diego State University in Political Science, Economics.
He started his career as a caddy at Castle Pines Country Club, and worked with the International, for five years. While at La Costa Resort and Spa, he assisted in the Mercedes Championship, and taught golf members and guest. He later taught for several years before managing golf operations at Pacific Golf and Country Club, and other facilities.
Michael Flanagan, PGAGolf Academy of America - San Diego
Mr. Flanagan has over 20 years of experience in the golf industry and became a PGA of America member in 1986. He held positions as Assistant Golf Professional, Head Golf Professional, Director of Golf Operations, and General Manager. His most recent position was as Director of Golf Operations for a period of 16 years at Doubletree Resort, San Diego, California. Mr. Flanagan was awarded “Golf Professional of the Year” from the San Diego Chapter PGA in 1994 and 1996. He has served on the Board of Directors for the San Diego Chapter PGA for a period of 12 years as President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, and Junior Golf Chairman. He hosted the weekly “Golf Tip of the Week” during the evening news for a period of over 10 years on KUSI-TV, Channel 9/51, in San Diego. Mr. Flanagan earned his A.A.B. degree at the San Diego Golf Academy in 1982. Mr. Flanagan was formerly the Campus Director at San Diego.
Mark Hayden, PGAGolf Academy of America - San Diego
Mr. Hayden is a Class A Member of the PGA of America. He also holds six PGA certifications specializing in Golf Operations, General Management, Executive Management, Instruction, Ownership and Leasing and Retail.
Originally from Idaho, he holds two degrees from Boise State University: a Bachelor of Science in Manufacturing Technology as well as an MBA Certificate.
Mr. Hayden began his professional career in the golf industry in 1999 and has held Head Golf Professional and Assistant Professional positions in Southern California, including San Vicente Golf Club, Escondido Country Club, The Santaluz Club and Hillcrest Country Club in Boise, Idaho. Most recently worked as Interim Head Professional at The Crosby in Rancho Santa Fe before joining Golf Academy of America.
He is very involved in helping the PGA through holding committee positions and serving as Vice President on the Board of Directors for the San Diego PGA Chapter. He is also a board member for the Southern California PGA Section.
Matt McConnin, PGAGolf Academy of America - San Diego
Mr. McConnin is a Class A PGA Member with over 15 years of experience teaching the game of golf. Matt grew up in Greenwich, Conn. playing many competitive sports and graduated from the University of Michigan with a BA in Political Science, with honors. He then moved to San Diego in early 1992 to pursue his dream of a rewarding career in the golf industry.
As one of the original team members, Matt assisted in opening the popular Encinitas Ranch Golf Course in 1998 and became a PGA Member in 2000. Since then, Matt has operated his own golf school and teaching business, and has given over 20,000 video golf lessons. Matt was the recipient of the PGA President’s Council award in 2005, 2007, 2008 and 2009.
Matt is honored to be working with Golf Academy of America's motivated students and deeply respected faculty at the San Diego campus.
Anthony Sable, PGAGolf Academy of America - San Diego
Mr. Sable is a Class A PGA Member who comes to Golf Academy of America with over 10 years of golf professional experience at public, private, and resort facilities. Originally from Wisconsin, he enjoys travel and has worked in Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa, Oregon, and California. Most recently, he was 1st Assistant at Ridge Country Club, the only private country club in the city of Chicago. Prior to working in the golf industry, Mr. Sable had a distinguished 10-year Army and Coast Guard aviation career. He received his B.S. Degree from the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point in 1985 and also graduated with Honors from the Golf Academy of San Diego in 1999.
Brian Smith, PGAGolf Academy of America - San Diego
Brian Smith began his golfing career prior to the age of two. He grew up in New Hampshire where he golfed in season and played hockey in the winter. Being fortunate enough to be a junior Member of Nashua CC, he spent his youth involved in the states junior program. Upon graduation from the University of New Hampshire, Brian relocated to sunny San Diego.
After serving as an apprentice at Fairbanks Ranch CC in Rancho Santa Fe, Brian obtained his PGA Class A certification in 1997. An opportunity became available to instruct at Shadowridge CC in Vista, CA. Brian spent ten years at the Club doing ninety percent of the instruction, coordinating the year round junior golf program, and directing outside tournaments.
When the opportunity presented itself at Golf Academy of America, Brian found it to be the perfect way to give back to the game. Brian is a certified club fitter, and is currently enrolled in the TPI Certified Golf Fitness Instructor Program. He has two professional victories to his name in San Diego PGA chapter events and now just enjoys playing with the students.