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Ben Boonseng The Bridges at Rancho Santa Fe

Jan 28, 2013

After four years in the Navy, Golf Academy of America in San Diego graduate Somphon Boonseng, who prefers to be called Ben because it is easier to pronounce, finally found a sport—and a career track—he could live with.

Originally from Thailand, he and his family and moved to Los Angeles in 1992. Ben joined the U.S. Navy after going to high school in Portland, Maine.

After his four-year enlistment ended, he jumped from job to job and didn't know where he fit in. After procrastinating about going to college, he finally took some classes.

"As it turns out, I wasn't the college type. I do not like being stuck in a room listening to lectures, said Mr. Boonseng. "I'm more of a hands-on type of person. Sports have always been my forte, and it has been a dream of mine to someday play professionally. I was too short for basketball, too small for baseball and football, too slow for soccer and I do not know how to stop when I skate so hockey was out."

He wanted to find a school where he could excel. During his search Golf Academy of America immediately drew his attention because golf is a sport that he was "fairly good at."

"I flew to San Diego for a campus tour and at that point I knew golf was my calling! Two weeks later I was sitting in class. My experience at GAA has been wonderful! I started with a handicap of 18 at the beginning of the school year, and by the time I graduated I was down to a four handicap. Spending time with instructors on my game has helped me achieve one of my short term goals. I also shot under par once, and I'm still working hard to do it again."

After his third semester, he found a job working part-time at The Bridges at Rancho Santa Fe. "Being a part of The Bridges team has made me realized that working in the golf industry is really not a job.  If you enjoy it then I don't think it really counts as work."

Ben has ambitious plans for the future. "In about three months, I plan on enrolling in the PGM program through The Bridges. Currently, I am working on getting sponsored to play in one of the mini tours out in Arizona or The Golden State Tour out here in California. A friend and I are collaborating to start a clothing line in the golf industry; we're not sure what the brand is going to look like yet but we have a few ideas. All in all I feel that I have made good choices along the way in creating opportunities for me to succeed. The instructors here at GAA have taught me a lot about the golf industry and how to excel in it."