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Alumni Newsletter - June 2014

Jun 26, 2014


Las Colinas Country Club

Attn: GAA Alumni! A Special Invitation…

Just to let you know how much GAA appreciates our alumni, we are inviting each and every one of you who may be in the Dallas Fort Worth area on Monday, July 14, 2014 to join us for an Alumni Appreciation Golf Tournament at the GAA Dallas Campus.

Participants are also invited to join us for a campus tour and light breakfast from 8:30 – 9:30 a.m. before the event with an 11:00 a.m. shotgun start at Las Colinas Country Club.

The Las Colinas golf course was selected as one of 2014 Best of Private Clubs, Mid-Priced Category in AvidGolfer Magazine.

Click here to RSVP by July 8, 2014.

If you have any questions or for more information, please contact Director of Career Services Steve Newman at 972.763.8193 or

The Dallas Campus is located at 1861 Valley View Lane, Suite 100, Farmers Branch, Texas 75234.


Alumni Lands Job with Golf Channel Thailand

Seehachet Saifon

We recently heard from GAA San Diego graduate Seehachet Saifon (Seit) to let us know that he started working for Golf Channel Thailand as a Producer.

"It's a pretty challenging job and I will get a lot of connections for here," he says. "I am also working at Live Smart Golf School on the weekend as a part time job."

Live Smart is an indoor golf school where Seit uses a simulator to teach and is working to grow his student base. He wants to help Thai golfers be successful on the Tour.

At GAA, Seit studied golf complex operation and management and set his goals on becoming a Golf Expert in Thailand as well as a GM at a golf course. In addition to his two jobs, he also interns at Carmel Mountain Ranch Country club for golf course operation.

Congratulations to Seit and best wishes for all your hard work paying off!


Updates and Insights From Your Fellow Alum

Kiel Alderink

Kiel Alderink graduated from GAA Orlando in December 2005 and Alex Crowe graduated from GAA Phoenix in December 2011. We asked these alumni to answer some questions about life in the golf industry after graduation.

GAA alum Kiel Alderink has developed a new golf app for coaches and students to better understand how students are practicing and progressing. Check out his videos:

Video 1
Video 2
Video 3

How did you achieve your current position?
I was just learning to teach in my first golf professional job out of the Academy. I was (and am always) very eager to learn. I was seeking out as many top instructors as possible to observe and ask questions to learn from. I talked with Brad Turner and Greg Gossett to ask who would be worth learning from and they suggested Todd Sones who was in Chicago, about a 4-hour drive from where I was in Michigan. I reached out to Todd and it was totally worth it. I spent the day with Todd and got to tell him about my goals and my passion to be a top instructor. Todd called me out of the blue about 6 months later telling me he had an open position on his staff. I was in the process of trying to build my own reputation in Michigan but knew I was young with much to learn. I accepted the position and began teaching with Todd in April or 2010.

I kept the same eager learning mentality, as this is who I am. If I am going to do something I am going to be the best I can be at it. I read close to 200 books ranging from golf swing to biomechanics and neuroscience. I have been able to build a great network to learn from and have spent time with Dr. Jim Suttie and Mike Adams who I believe are the best in terms of knowledge and helping players swing based on their body and not an idea. With the likes of Suttie, Adams, EA Tischler, Todd Sones, and more I have been able to build a clientele that is highly competitive and help many players. I have helped players get through Q school, earn college scholarships, win tournaments, and beat their personal best scores.

After much success in the first 3 years with Todd he offered me a promotion as a Senior Instructor on staff. I was allowed a raise in my rate and began to lead golf schools.

What were the biggest influences on your career choice of golf?
Probably sounds cliché but I love the game. I loved golf growing up and the feeling of improving was way beyond what I felt in basketball, baseball, tennis, or football. I also love to take a student and solve their puzzle. Every student that comes for a lesson has different strengths and weakness and you need to figure out fast how to help them better themselves. I was always so fascinated when I took a lesson and my teacher helped me improve within an hour time. I always left with a sense of confidence. I wanted to give that to other players. I love to develop a plan for players and really see it work and watch them hit their goals. There is no feeling like that.

How did Golf Academy of America help you to achieve your goals?
I was fortunate to have great teachers at my campus. Between Brad and Greg who both came from an instructional background, they helped me learn what it takes and what to expect.

What advice would you give those wanting to get into the golf business?
Work hard to be the best. Golf is a disposable income industry with a lot of competition. Golfers deserve to be in company of golf professional that is knowledgeable and caring, weather you're an instructor or assistant pro. The Golf Academy is a great place to learn and prepare you to get into the business. There is no doubt about that. I have gone through the PGA and know of other programs that don't hold a candle to what I learned at the Golf Academy.

Alex Crowe

Alex Crowe is currently a Club Fitter at KZG in North Hollywood, California.

How did you achieve your current position?
By building my resume over the years and using my resources and networking skills to assist me in finding the work I was looking for. Focus your intention and just go for it. Worst thing to happen is you don't get the job.

What were the biggest influences on your career choice of golf?
Having passion for something gives you incentive to put forth effort one might not have otherwise given. Passion gives you energy and drive, which is the catalyst for progress.

How did Golf Academy of America help you to achieve your goals?
Besides the education that the academy gave me about the industry, the staff showed me how to present and conduct myself in a professional manner. Fred Barr in particular was an excellent and helpful resource. Not only did he give me one-on-one advice, but I made sure to keep in contact with him for any opportunities that may arise. Networking is critical.

What advice would you give those wanting to get into the golf business?
Find a way to make your skills and knowledge valuable and known to people and businesses. Market yourself and 'wear the hat' that you want people to see you as. What you project, people will see.

Are you currently a PGA member or seeking membership?
Not at this given juncture in time.


Military Student Profile: Steven Grooms

Steven Grooms

After proudly serving his country in the United States Air Force, Steven Grooms was looking for the right career opportunity upon completing his term. His thoughts took him back to when he was about 15 years old. It was at that point of his life when he began playing the game of golf with his dad at a local course in Michigan. Little did he know at that time he was planting the seeds for a career in golf.

When Steven started playing golf, it wasn't love at first sight, but "something I could do with my dad to spend more time with him." Now Steven has a passion for the golf industry that has led him to the Golf Academy of America in pursuit of an Associate's Degree in golf course management.

In his second semester at the Myrtle Beach campus, Steven is not only improving his golf game on a daily basis, he's also learning about the ever-changing dynamics of the business end of the golf industry. "It's really cool, because all of the teachers are certified to give golf lessons, so the students can take advantage of the opportunity to get better every day," Steven stated. "We go from learning the business end of running a successful golf course to playing golf every Monday, as part of the curriculum." Improving the game may as well be part of the curriculum too, because, on average, students improve their handicap by 30% during their time at the school.

As far as the blossoming career Steven is well on his way to achieving, it is "absolutely" something he'd recommend to fellow military members looking for a career after serving their country. "I'm getting such in-depth knowledge on the business end of the golf industry," Steven said.

After completing his degree, Steven plans to use that business knowledge to manage a golf course. He'd like to work somewhere with a warmer climate so the course can stay open throughout the year – possibly at one of the beautiful courses in Myrtle Beach.

Golf Academy of America offers a number of options to military members interested in pursuing a career in golf. Learn more about our programs at five campuses across the U.S.


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