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Student and Alumni Newsletter August 2015

Aug 21, 2015



It looks like the game of golf is about to get a little more technologically advanced—all because Pat Steusloff took a flier in 2006.

Originally from Jackson, Mich., Steusloff enjoyed golf primarily as a hobby throughout the majority of his life and lengthy career in healthcare. An alumnus of the University of Michigan with degrees in both medical technology and bioengineering, he went on to help find multiple healthcare companies, including one that assists nurses in the administration of medication to patients in hospitals across the country.

But in 2006, Steusloff found himself at a crossroads. While browsing the Internet one evening, he happened upon the website for Golf Academy of America, then known as San Diego Golf Academy.

"I knew I would be different than all the other students due to my age and place in life," says Steusloff. "So I met with the San Diego campus director Rich Iorio, talked through the issue and decided to give it a try."

"Try" turned out to be an understatement. Steusloff thrived at the San Diego campus, graduating in 2008.

"I enjoyed learning the keys to making a good golf swing from the expert teachers at Golf Academy of America," he says. "Understanding the significance of timing, connection, balance, and path in making a golf swing led me to the concepts for my current company."

That's right—the year after graduating, he was back to his old tricks, but with a twist.

The company he founded is Kinetek Sports—a portmanteau of the terms "kinesthetic" and "technology"—and Steusloff and his team are developing a product geared toward delivering similar benefits to those Steusloff himself reaped at Golf Academy of America: a more well-rounded golf game.

Kinetek's product, which will launch through a Kickstarter campaign, is called ClubHub. Steusloff describes it as, "a TrackMan in your pocket."

ClubHub is a system composed of 14 sensors (one for each club in your bag), a phone app, and a web portal. Because of its unique design, unlike other swing analyzers, it can be used on the course as well as on the practice range. Each shot taken is automatically analyzed, recorded and can be reviewed on the phone. All swing data is also pushed to the cloud and can be reviewed by the player and shared with their instructor. The player can see trends in their swing and compare results since all data is permanently saved.

ClubHub will compete with entrenched systems like GAME Golf and Arccos Golf, but Steusloff stands by his product, which is currently in beta-testing.

"ClubHub is superior to other shot tracking systems due to its ability to automatically discriminate a golf swing from other non-swing movements and impacts with a club," Steusloff says.

Stiff competition makes any product category stronger, and thanks to a whim and the desire to turn a passion into a second career, golfers who embrace technology as a way to improve will soon have Pat Steusloff and his Golf Academy of America education to thank.


R.J. Lancaster currently teaches Business Management, Marketing, Verbal Communications and Work Place Ethics at the Phoenix campus.


Briefly describe your job and responsibilities as an instructor.
To constantly research, attend seminars and ask students for their input as to what they want to learn to apply to their personal and professional lives.

How/when did you first consider teaching at GAA?
In 1995, I was recruited by a good friend, Eric Wilson, who was the first Campus Director in Chandler, Arizona. Eric and I taught part time at the University of Phoenix and we played a lot of pro-ams together. At that time it was the San Diego Golf Academy, which was owned by Peter and Dana Powell.

What factors contributed to your first significant opportunity?
Getting back into the golf industry to share my business and golf knowledge. I taught golf for approximately 7 years and was a Natural Golf Certified Instructor.

Looking back when you first started, what did you think your career would look like? What would you like to happen next?
I only wanted to work as an adjunct instructor because I was also teaching in the graduate and undergraduate programs at the University of Phoenix and had my own company as well as being a professional speaker and author.

I would love to continue teaching at GAA and make a positive difference in the students' lives as well as support the Campus Director and the Academic Dean in recruiting adjunct instructors. Also, I would like to help in In-service programs for faculty.

What are some of the unexpected hurdles you encountered on your career path? What are some of the unexpected benefits?
The challenge of dealing with returning veterans who are suffering from PTSD. In addition, facilitating the demographics of the student body, from 19 to 50+ year olds.

The unexpected benefits are learning from the students, which makes me a better facilitator, and, learning from other instructors and their approach to facilitating.

What is most interesting to you about what you do at GAA?
The knowledge I gain from not only the students but also the faculty and golf professionals. It all helps me prepare life-long learning syllabi.

What do you most hope students learn from you?
No matter what happens in your life, you have a purpose. The challenge that I give them is to find their passion, whether in the golf industry or in business. In addition, have a positive attitude and approach in whatever you do. Hone your communication skills, help your organization that you work for and generate revenue to ensure your career success.


Vet Turned Golf Event Coordinator at Troon Golf

Charles "Rick" Vaughn is a 2012 graduate of Golf Academy of America. He currently works as a Golf Event Coordinator at Troon Golf in Rancho Mirage, Calif.

Charles Rick Vaughn

What do you do as Golf Event Coordinator?
I coordinate groups, tournaments and fundraisers ranging anywhere from as small as 12 guests to 144 guests on two different 18 hole facilities.

How did Golf Academy of America prepare you for your current position?
Many aspects of GAA have come in handy such as the different Rules of Golf classes, Tournament Coordination class, Calligraphy, Business Management, and the general classes that allowed me to advance to this level of management.

What were the biggest influences on your career choice of golf?
Being retired Navy, it was a lot of hard work to get good enough to pass a PAT for the PGA program, and this opportunity came along that allowed me to bypass that route all together, but still advance in the business of golf in management.

Tell us about your career accomplishments since graduation.
I started off as a seasonal assistant straight out of GAA. Then I was promoted to full time assistant, then to 2nd Assistant Golf Professional and now a member of the management team as event coordinator.

What are your career goals and how do you think your education at Golf Academy of America is helping you achieve them?
As my knowledge progresses, I am learning more about sales. Some of the things I learned, such as analyzing the demographics in my area from GAA, will help me progress even more into being a Golf Sales Manager as well as a more efficient Event Coordinator.

Hamza Yunus – Head Pro in West Bengal, India

Hamza Yunus is a 2012 graduate of Golf Academy of America and answers our questions about being a Head Professional at Protouch Golf Academy in Kolkata.

Hamza Yunus

What do you do as Head Professional?
My job here is to train local coaches, juniors and club members along with arrange sponsorships and manage three to four tournaments a month.

How did Golf Academy of America prepare you for your current position?
GAA gave me all the knowledge required to train golfers as well as train coaches and all I needed to know about hosting and managing tournaments.

What were the biggest influences on your career choice of golf?
My biggest influences are Tiger Woods, Gary Player, Ben Hogan, Master PGA Professional Alan Flasher and PGA Professional Bruce Martin.

Tell us about your career accomplishments since graduation.
I was promoted from assistant head pro to head pro.

What are your career goals and how do you think your education at Golf Academy of America is helping you achieve them?
My career goal is to become an A category PGA coach and become a head pro at a PGA golf course.

Focus: Chad Ristow Creating Opportunities


Chad Ristow, VP of Coaching Operations for Athlete Nation and Golf Channel’s Swing Fix, has partnered with Fidelity Investments to offer the Fidelity Swing Lab at several upcoming 2015 PGA TOUR events. The program provides golf instruction and capture swing videos to patrons — an estimated 2,000 per typical PGA TOUR event.

Athlete Nation is recruiting PGA/LPGA professionals and apprentices, and golf pros with teaching experience to assist at the events. For those who qualify, Athlete Nation provides everything needed including on-site training; payment ($200 for full day/$100 for half day) to provide light instruction and capture swing videos, and more. If you are or know of a golfer who would be interested, contact Chad at

Chad graduated GAA Orlando as co-valedictorian in Dec. 2013. He credits GAA with giving him all the skills needed to teach the game, as well as the skills to run the business he’s in and the ability to make important contacts. He came by his current position while working with Little Linksters where a colleague called Athlete Nation to train Chad with online coaching skills. This turned into coaching at Tour stops and eventually an offer for the VP position after an event in Texas.

When it comes to advising others about the golf industry, Chad says, “The best thing I could say is to take every opportunity when it comes to volunteering and to study under Professionals when the chance comes up.” He adds that top tier jobs look for top grade performance graduates.