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Student and Alumni Newsletter - December 2013

Dec 9, 2013

What's Hot

Kicking Off 2014 at the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando

Kicking Off 2014 at the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando

Golf Academy of America will be represented with its traditional booth at the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando on January 22-24.

An Alumni Mixer will be held at the Hilton Orlando on International Drive at 6001 Destination Pkwy, Orlando, FL just blocks from the Merchandise Show. Alumni are welcome from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM in the Lake Concord room. More details will be available at the Golf Academy of America booth.

We look forward to seeing you all!

Check Out Our Graduates

Mike Davis, Assistant Golf Pro at The Grand Club

Mike Davis

After graduating from GAA Orlando, Daytona Beach native Mike Davis began work at Palm Coast's The Grand Club in July 2013. Davis has a long history in sports as a high school golfer, bowling team member and tae kwon do champion. He was named the Daytona Beach News-Journal's "Bowler of the Year," and is also an Eagle Scout. Davis holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Central Florida. He is now in the first stage of the PGA's professional training program, already having passed the playing ability test. Read more about Davis' career at

Christian Bell, Assistant Golf Pro at Palm Harbor Golf Club

Christian Bell

Christian Bell, a native of Loudon, N.H., has always been athletic. He started his career as a professional baseball player with the Atlanta Braves organization, pursuing this path until the sport had taken a toll on his body.

He and his family moved to his wife's hometown of St. Augustine, Fla., where he began working the nightshift for an aerospace company in Jacksonville. Bell started playing golf first thing in the morning, right after work.

As his scores improved, Bell decided to shift his career focus to golf. He attended GAA Orlando, graduating in 2010. His first golf position was at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Orlando where he ran the caddie program. Click here to read an article from The Daytona Beach News-Journal detailing his career journey through Tournament Players Club and the PGA Tour's academy at Sawgrass, to his current position at Palm Harbor.

Check Out Our Students

GAA Dallas Raises Money for Charity with Pro Golfer

To raise money for United Way, the GAA Dallas campus offered a round of golf with a PGA Tour Pro and Caddy.

Matt Lassen was the lucky raffle winner who won a round of golf with PGA Tour Pro Danny Lee from New Zealand and Jason Laing, PGA Tour Caddie. Lee was the youngest ever winner of the US Amateur Championship in Aug. 2008, aged 18 years and one month. He was six months younger than Tiger Woods when he won in 1994.

The round was played at TPC Four Seasons Cottonwood Course in Las Colinas, Texas on Nov. 21--home to the HP Byron Nelson Championship and an award-winning golf resort.



by John Brasier

I've got to admit I wasn't sure Michael McVeigh could do it. Play 11 rounds (198 holes) in 11 hours? That's roughly one hole every three minutes. That's warp speed even for a scratch player, and McVeigh isn't a scratch player.

But I didn't know how determined McVeigh was to raise funds and awareness for Salute Military Golf Association, the benefactor of the proceeds from the Golf Academy of America 11-11 Golf Marathon. And I didn't know how eager he was to meet a challenge until I met him and his friends around 6 a.m. Veterans Day in the parking lot at Brookhaven Country Club near Dallas.

"I'm ready. Let's go," shouted McVeigh at 6:30 a.m. as he waited impatiently for the sun to come up.

For McVeigh, a sergeant in the Army National Guard who completed tours in Iraq and Somalia, 6:30 a.m. didn't seem particularly early. He and a half-dozen of his support team--also fellow veterans and Golf Academy of America in Dallas students--were eager and talkative. This was going to be fun.

And after his first few holes, there was never much doubt whether McVeigh would complete 11 rounds in 11 hours. He raced around the course three times (54 holes) in less than two hours and showed no signs of slowing down.

McVeigh's team ran like a well-oiled machine. Led by Golf Academy of America campus director Greg Gossett, its members drove him in a cart, spotted every shot, tended every pin, retrieved successful putts and had a golf ball teed and waiting for him at every tee box.

McVeigh knew Brookhaven's President's Course well--he works there part-time. The home-course knowledge came in handy. McVeigh didn't hit anything but irons. Woods weren't needed to negotiate the 5,500-yard, par-72 layout.

His strategy: keep the ball in play. It worked. He lost only two balls the entire day while sinking 10 birdie putts. McVeigh ran from cart to ball and quickly addressed every shot, taking no more than five seconds over the ball to get his bearings.

There was a little bit of drama toward the end of the challenge. But it had nothing to do with racing the clock or a setting Southwestern sun.

With only a few holes left on his final nine holes, McVeigh prepared for a pitch of perhaps 40 yards. He was confident, enough to joke about holing the shot--or at least, we thought he was joking.

Sure enough, McVeigh lofted a soft shot that hit on the green and rolled right into the cup for eagle! McVeigh raised him arm in triumph. A few minutes later, he was showering in champagne on the 18th green.

One hundred ninety-eight holes of golf. Hundreds of shots (everybody was too busy to count strokes). Then a champagne shower. Mission completed--in only eight hours.

"Let's play some more," said McVeigh, whose tone seemed genuine.