San Diego Faculty and Staff
The faculty and staff at Golf Academy of America in San Diego are PGA Professionals, PGA Master Professionals plus other golf and general educators. Each student benefits from the expertise and professional networks of these professionals.
Rich Iorio, PGA
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, PGA
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 Enrollment
Henry Salgado, Director of Enrollment
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, PGA
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.
Anthony Brooks, PGA Certified Professional
When Mr. Brooks started in the golf industry, his goal was to be the most well-rounded professional possible. His 15-year career in the industry has been nothing less than diverse.
Brooks holds an Associate's Degree in Golf Course Management. He has worked at Riviera Country Club, Black Gold Club and Mission Viejo Country Club, all in California, and GolfTEC in Colorado. As a former head professional, Brooks pursued a playing career. After a few years touring, he decided to come back to the golf industry.
Brooks opened his own teaching business, "Brooks Connection Golf" in Denver, and found joy in teaching and establishing relationships with clients. When he returned to Los Angeles, he remained an independent instructor via "Tony Brooks Golf" and has taught 7,000 lessons in total.
Brooks obtained PGA Class "A" membership in 2004, and is one of 750 PGA Members who has been through the CPP 2.0 Certified program specializing in instruction. He is currently enrolled in the MPP 2.0 Master's Program, also specializing in instruction. Upon completion, Brooks will be one of only 200 PGA Master Professionals in the world, with the ultimate goal of becoming a Legacy Professional and serving on the PGA Board of Education. He was also honored by the PGA President’s Council on Growing the Game in 2008 and 2010.
Michael Flanagan, PGA
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.
Matt McConnin, PGA
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.
David Vaught, PGA
David has almost 30 years professional experience in club fitting, club repair and golf instruction. As a teacher, he has given more than 38,000 golf lessons at courses all over the United States and in several foreign countries. David has been nominated for Golf Magazine's Top 100 Teachers.
Since 1994, David has been affiliated with San Luis Rey Downs Golf Club in Bonsall, California. He has served as director of their popular golf school, as well as director of equipment services.
Prior to joining Dan Luis Rey Downs, David owned and operated his own golf equipment shops and managed several large golf equipment operations. He has been a Certified Master Club Repair Technician since 1984 and is a Certified Fitter for many OEMs. David has authored several magazine articles on equipment fitting. He is a Class A PGA Member.