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Student and Alumni Newsletter - January 2015

Jan 21, 2015


Off to a Big Start!

Off to a Big Start!

January 2015 is packed with noteworthy events and opportunities: we rang in the new year; our new semester began Jan 12; we observed Martin Luther King Day; and this is the month for the largest Golf Show in the world, the PGA Merchandise Show.

And at this exciting event from Jan. 20 - 23 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla., GAA was there at Booth #3329. The Show gathered more than 40,000 industry leaders from 74 countries as well as 1,100 interactive exhibits.


Myrtle Beach Adds to Campus

Myrtle Beach Adds to Campus

You may want to check out the latest fabulous addition to our Myrtle Beach campus. If you're nearby, stop in to take a look at the impressive new building and what is inside. In the meantime, these renderings will give you a sneak peak.

Phoenix Enjoys Annual Thanksgiving Tournament

This past November, Phoenix staff and students enjoyed their annual Thanksgiving Golf Tournament and Banquet.

Check out these photos for some of the highlights.

Phoenix Enjoys Annual Thanksgiving Tournament


Alumnus Credits Success to GAA Education

Alumnus Credits Success to GAA Education

Kevin Guarneri, a 2012 graduate of GAA Myrtle Beach, is now an Assistant Golf Professional at Grandfather Golf and Country Club in the North Carolina Blue Ridge Mountains where his duties include managing outside service operations, range and short game facilities, the club's fleet of carts, providing golf instruction, and much more.

He recently wrote to Jim Hart, Campus Director, about how his education at GAA has affected his career:

"My second season at Grandfather is soon to be coming to an end. I cannot thank you enough because I wouldn't be in the position I am today if it wasn't for your confidence in me. The opportunity to work at Grandfather has far exceeded my expectations. I now have the knowledge and experience to take the next step in my career as a Golf Professional. Once our season ends at Grandfather, I plan on attending my level 2 seminars in Port St. Lucie, Florida."

Golf Academy Of America Alumni Profile: Ross McCarthy

Golf Academy Of America Alumni Profile: Ross McCarthy

How did you achieve your current position?
Before I enrolled in the Golf Academy of America, I spent two summers working on the maintenance crew at Moose Run Golf Course, learning that side of the operation. I then enrolled at the Golf Academy of America in Phoenix where I focused on pursuing a career in Golf Management. During my time at the Golf Academy, I received the Professionalism Award all four semesters and was on the Director's List three times. After graduating in December 2009, I returned to Moose Run Golf Course where I worked as a Cashier in the golf shop for two years. In my third year at Moose Run, I was promoted to the Tournament Coordinator position. I managed more than 30 golf events in a two-month span, ranging from 16 to 288 participants, and directed more than 30 employees to ensure the success of these events. During the winter months, I broadened my knowledge by working multiple jobs such as an NAF Human Resource Assistant and a server in a fine dining restaurant. The following year, I was offered the position as the acting Assistant Manager. I excelled in this role, and was promoted to the Assistant Manager position, which I currently hold.

What were the biggest influences on your career choice of golf?
My love for the game of golf was my biggest influence on my career choice. That being said, my uncle and my mom were my biggest influences in getting me to love this great game.

How did Golf Academy of America help you to achieve your goals?
The Golf Academy taught me a wide variety of skills that serve as invaluable resources today. I think the biggest thing I learned was how to be professional in the golf industry, and that has gone a long way towards achieving my goals.

What advice would you give those wanting to get into the golf business?
If you are looking for an easy career where you will make lots of money right off the bat, the golf industry is not going to be for you. You will probably start off at a low paying job, but as long as you set goals, work hard and stay true to what you want to achieve, it can be attainable.

Are you currently a PGA member or seeking membership?

If so, what level are you in the program?
I just passed the PAT and am looking into registering as we speak.


Follow the Golf Academy of America Blog to read more from and about the people who have turned their passion into a career.

If one of your New Year's resolutions was to follow your passion, you will definitely want to keep reading and take clues from how one person did just that in just over 12 months.

Question: How long would it take you to switch careers at this point in your life?

Obviously, there are a ton of factors that affect your time frame -- experience, age, education, etc. What if you could successfully switch to a completely new career where you love going to work every day in just over 12 months? Sure, it seems like a quick turnaround. With the help of Golf Academy of America, Corey Fields did just that.

From Restaurant Manager To A Job In The Golf Industry

From Restaurant Manager To A Job In The Golf Industry

As Corey was running restaurants at 25 years old, he knew that he wanted to do something he enjoyed for his career. He was ready to make that change, and he knew what career he wanted to pursue. "I was playing golf four times a week. I decided I wanted to be a golf professional, but I needed experience and educational experience related to the industry," explained Corey.

But he had one problem. He definitely didn't want to go back to school for four years. "At 25, I wanted to make the transition quickly," Corey stated.

That's where Golf Academy of America came in. The college's 16-month program was perfect. Little did Corey know at the time of enrollment, he wouldn't even need that long to land his first golf industry job.

Making The Commitment To Your Career

When a person decides to make a career change, he or she has to go all in. That's exactly what Corey did. Although the golf side of the curriculum was important, it was the business side of GAA that was instrumental in Corey's career development. "The whole curriculum translated to the business side of golf. I also learned how to teach golf," said Corey.

Heading into his last semester at the Myrtle Beach Golf Academy of America campus, one of his instructors told him about a job opportunity. Corey interviewed and landed an assistant golf pro job, while he was finishing out his degree. His effort, dedication and connections made while attending GAA enabled him to complete his career change successfully.

One of the keys to Corey's success was his willingness to pursue a career in golf that wasn't necessarily a playing career: "I played in PGA sectional events, but I wasn't in the boat of being on tour. I realized there are so many different avenues in the golf industry, plenty of opportunities throughout the country. Most importantly, I learned how to run a business."

Corey Fields translated that business experience at GAA to a successful career in the golf industry. His career has taken him from assistant golf pro to PGA professional to manager of the Golfsmith Callaway Performance Center in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. With a little dedication and determination, Corey now gets to work in a career he enjoys every day. He summed up his experience at GAA in one word: "Fantastic!"

Check out our interview with Corey to learn more about his Golf Academy of America story.