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.
Libby Godlove, National Director of Golf Services, Retail and Guest Care, Topgolf
Libby Godlove serves as Topgolf’s National Director of Golf Services, Guest Care and Special Ops. In her time with Topgolf, Libby has revamped the retail department and turned it into a multi-million dollar revenue stream, started the Guest Care team and has been nominated for three Topgolf Star Awards, winning gold in 2016.
Prior to joining Topgolf in 2014, Libby worked for Pizza Hut, where she served as a Product Development Chef & Scientist, as well as an Associate Manager of Internal Communication and Engagement. In these roles, she was on the front-end innovation team and traveled the country searching for food trends. She also spearheaded internal culture and ran large company meetings and events.
Libby earned a Bachelor of Science in food manufacturing operations from Purdue University and is a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America, with an emphasis on pastry arts. She decorated wedding cakes at a bakery near her hometown in Indiana for a short time after graduating from culinary school.
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.
Andy Hilts, PGA, Proponent Group Director at Golf Channel
PGA Master Professional in Instruction. 2005 Colorado PGA Teacher of the Year, 2008 and 2015 Colorado PGA Horton Smith Award winner. Between 2005 and 2018 he trained and mentored more than 1,800 GOLFTEC Coaches Worldwide. Golf Digest listed Andy as one of America’s Best Young Teachers from 2008-2013 and #3 for Best Teachers in the State of Colorado. Hilts now works for the Golf Channel handling day to day operations for Proponent Group.
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.
Jim Stegall, Executive Vice President, Managed Property Group - Kemper Sports
As Executive Vice President for Kemper Sports, Jim Stegall is the senior executive responsible for the KemperSports extensive portfolio of third party management properties west of the Mississippi River. His primary responsibilities include oversight of over 45 golf & hospitality facilities as well as property marketing and business development. He is a 23-year industry veteran who has held various senior operations, sales and marketing positions at American Golf, Troon Golf and KemperSports. Prior to entering the golf industry, he was a senior project director for Xerox Learning Systems and Learning International, which provided training and consulting services for Fortune 500 companies in sales, management and service strategies. Jim is a 10 year veteran of the US Navy and Army National Guard.