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Forty Years Later, GAA Still Leading the Way in Golf Education

Apr 23, 2014

The original blueprints for the Golf Academy of America (then named San Diego Golf Academy) didn’t call for five spacious campuses across the country. They were as simple as the mobile home that served as the first campus classroom.

But there was a need. Back in 1974, the PGA of America’s apprentice program was only four years old. There wasn’t much formal training available for aspiring golf club professionals.

Meanwhile, golf in Southern California was booming as more and more people migrated to warmer climates where they could play golf year-round. San Diego was left with a shortage of trained golf professionals.

Around the same time, Fred Schwartz, who had recently received the Community College Chief Administrator Officer Credential from the California Community Colleges’ Board of Governors, was looking to put his credential to good use.

One of Schwartz’s friends was a golf pro, who told him of the shortage of well-trained club pros in the area. A golf academy was born. Fifteen students began their studies in March of 1974 at Whispering Palms Country Club in suburban San Diego. Schwartz recruited instructors from nearby country clubs. None were full-time employees.

Forty years later, the small startup institution created to fill a void in Southern California,has become Golf Academy of America, an icon in the industry with five spacious facilities in golf destinations across the U.S. Each one offers the latest in high-tech training equipment and is led by a staff of accomplished PGA members.

Golf Academy of America awards an accredited associate's degree in golf complex operations and management. Alumni are leaders in several roles throughout the golf industry, establishing a reputation for developing outstanding industry professionals. And students now have five campuses to choose from.

Fred Schwartz’s San Diego Golf Academy has come a long way in 40 years. And although it is now Golf Academy of America, it’s still going strong. There’s a need, and the five Golf Academy of America campuses fill it better than anybody else.