Golf Academy of AmericaSave your money!

If you are seriously looking at this school, there is a good chance that you don't think you have many other options. Trust me, this is the last place you want to go to school. Or, you might believe that this is actually a school that is going to educate you and provide the support it claims it provides. Myself and half of the other people in my class are totally embarrassed that we "bought" the golf academy sales pitch. . . Picture yourself 25, 30, 35yo and realizing after you spent $30, 000 that you just got scammed. That's what it feels like to be a 4th semester student at the golf academy of america. For $30, 000 plus they will give you an associates degree, but i can't tell you how foolish you will feel when you interview at a job and they laugh at your education. It's a business, period. . . They do have a few incredible people on there staff but they have know way of helping you. Too many students. Huge scam don't buy it!!! It's hard to not dream, but don't do it. I promise you will regret it.

Responses

  • Jn
    Jnadadoo Mar 29, 2010

    I would like to know what experience you had at he school. Also, what experience did you have trying to get a job after. I'm considering going but if you have some good reasons why I should skip it please let me know.

    1 Votes
  • Cm
    cmca May 03, 2010

    I went, did well and got a job at a great club after graduating. Then I got a winter job as well. He's right, it's a waste for half of the class because half of the people who go to GAA don't take it seriously and don't want to go through the process of becoming a PGA professional. There are other options. You could go to a PGM program and get your bachelors degree and PGA Class A at the same time. That will also be costly. I chose the GAA because I already had my BA and had no experience in the golf industry. You could just start at a club at the bottom and slowly work your way up, but that will take many years to develop the skills learned in 16 months at the GAA. It's a big expense and takes a lot of dedication, but if it's something you really want the GAA can help you a lot.

    1 Votes
  • Sm
    smithdiver Jul 19, 2010

    As a former instructor at the Myrtle Beach campus I can tell you that the entire program is junk. The AA "degree" is really worthless as it is not regionally accredited. It cost $30, 000 where a local AA degree at a community college might cost $5, 000. Here is my advice, get a job at a local golf course, do your job well regardless whether it is cutting grass or registering guests, go to school to get a AA in finance or business, keep doing this until you get an accredited AA degree or better, a Bachelor of Science degree, then use your good name earned through the golf course you were working at to get in the apprenticeship program. That wasted non accredited worthless degree which cost $30, 000 which would rob you 2 years of your life and the stolen money can be avoided.
    Here is the "poop" on this "school", it is a corporation owned by a foreign entity which takes advantage of unaware young people who love golf. They tell you it is an "accredited" school when that is only a privately purchased "accredidation" from the acics. It is a money scam pure and simple. The instructors are not college graduates for the vast majority. They are golf pros with usually either a HS diploma or a degree awarded from their own institution. PLEASE go to a regionally accredited school and save your time and money.
    And if anyone from the corporation (ECA) who owns the Golf Academy wants to know who I am just email me at [email protected] I am on a mission to expose your scam to the world and I know for fact I have turned several potential victims away already.

    4 Votes
  • Du
    DustinRU82 Aug 04, 2010

    As an alum of the G.A.A. in Orlando, I must disagree with many statements made in the above boxes. One of the biggest things I noticed during my tenure was the lack in desire from most of the sudents to become professionals. Many students seemed to have the impression that "golf school" would be a cake walk, as if all they had to do was show up. I can only assume that the aforementioned comments have come from these types. I am currently in the apprenticeship program, I teach and club fit at a golf academy. I have a better understanding of the game and how to teach it than most of the Class A's around me and I owe every bit of it to the Golf Academy of America. That said, there is a negative statement mentioned that I do agree with. The degree is worthless, and unless you are at the top of the class academically and performance-wise, you will find that there placement program for postgrads is a rather poor service. Overall, though, I would do it again. The information you can attain is invaluable.

    -1 Votes
  • Tx
    TXW Aug 11, 2010

    I would like to make three comments:
    First, to the students (and I use that term loosly) that are making negative and derogatory remarks about the GAA as an educational career training institution, I am reminded of a quote that I find relevent as a response. "Minds of moderate caliber ordinarily condemn everything which is beyond their range."

    As for the disgruntled former instructor, and my first rhetorical question is... Why is he a "former" instructor?...As an academic dean at one of the GAA campuses I am three classes from my MBA and graduated many years ago with a B.A. before beginning a professional career as a PGA member which has spanned some 32 years. I would match the individual and collective knowledge of our golf professional staff as well as our adjunct instructors with any educational institution mutch less with any in that is in our area of golf career training.

    I am amazed at how much time and energy some people spend on complaining and making excuses instead of expending that energy to make their lives and the lives of those around them better.

    -1 Votes
  • He
    Hey Fred! Aug 11, 2010

    As one of the Directors of Career Services for the Golf Academy of America, the above comments are interesting as well as a bit amusing. We encourage and embrace a culture of excellence for our students and obviously, the complaining student did not stay long enough to hear the “rest of the story, ” or to see where his/her career could be had they pursued completion of the degree. The story is still told about a special plant that is visited by both the bee and the spider. The bee takes away the nectar, the spider takes away the poison; they both got what they came for… but hey, that epitomizes life. I am a PGA Golf Professional of (34) years, managed and operated golf courses for over (25) years and was a management team member for one of the largest golf management company. At our Golf Academy of America Campus, we have (9) PGA Professionals on staff, including (2) Master Professionals. These committed PGA Professionals not only teach our students the specifics and hands-on training pertaining to tournament operations, teaching, club building/repair and club operations, but also serve as mentors about the golf industry and workplace. Collectively, the students will not be afforded, at any other time, the opportunity to have at their command talented PGA Members who have actively participated in every facet of the golf industry. We are committed to the student’s progress as a finished product, with the ability to compete in the marketplace with increased value. You increase your value by increasing your RATE percentage. RATE is a synonym for Recruit-Ability, Account-Ability, Teach-Ability, Execute-Ability. We focus on assisting our students to meet the needs of our employers and many employers are giving us “first call, ” for recruiting, before placing jobs in the marketplace. The GAA Employers we network with are excited about hiring GAA students for their facilities! The committed students and graduates have jobs ranging from Non-PGA Head Professionals, Tournament Directors, Golf Shop Managers, Guest Service Managers, Golf Internships, and Golf Instructors at golf facilities and teachers for GolfTEC, the leading Golf Improvement Center. Dr. Wayne Dyer, internationally best-selling author of more than 30 books including THE POWER OF INTENTION, CHANGE YOUR THOUGHTS-CHANGE YOUR LIFE and EXCUSES, made a great point when he said, “if you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” We encourage GAA students to commit to taking total responsibility for driving their careers and everything that happens to them. We live in a land of opportunity and it’s all about attitude…stay open to new ideas, listen well, be eager to learn, desire to grow and develop the flexibility to embrace change; and you will achieve success. GAA students are listening well and plucking the “weeds” (negativity) that try to grow in the lawns of their minds. “Weeds” left unattended, eventually takes over the lawn!

    0 Votes
  • Ro
    Rogers lookin Aug 28, 2010

    Please tell me now before i spend 30 grand, im looking for a college, golf inspired to go to. Should i go to GAA or somewhere els.

    0 Votes
  • Ro
    Rogers lookin Aug 28, 2010

    please tell me if this is a waste of time and money. im looking to go there.

    0 Votes
  • Go
    golfinguy1 Sep 02, 2010

    This place is a joke DO NOT WASTE YOUR $30, 000 I agree fully with the former instructor and that is why he is a former instructor because he see's the real side of things and probably didnt want to have any part of it any more. I believe that when the school was still the san diego golf academy and was a hell of a lot cheaper it was a lot better of a program but since it has becaome the GAA, it is just a money making scheme! they say they have all this technology and what not, which they do (tpi, etc) but it is never used and is a waste of money, also the career placement is a big fat joke they say there placement is over 85% and knowing most of the people in the last 2 graduating classes I GARUNTEE it is under 50%. Go get a job at a nice club in the cart barn and work your way up thats all they say you will do when you get out of this school anyways!

    3 Votes
  • Jj
    jjvinson Oct 05, 2010

    I was thinking about attending the GAA. I talked to a friend of mine of 25 years who attended the GAA at the AZ campus. He said that he went in with a HCP of 13 and came out a scratch golfer who passed his players ability test. He is now also working as a head pro at a golf course. So, are you just telling me he got lucky? You did not get anything out of the class? You already passed your players ability test? Look I am not looking to waste 30K. My thought was if they can get me to pass my the Players ability test and give me a store bought teching certificate and a job as a local assistant pro at a golf course making 30K a year. I am all in... So, is this what you get when you complete the 16 months or not?

    -1 Votes
  • Ma
    mackT Oct 10, 2010

    As a graduate of the Orlando Campus in 95, I have to say that the above comments are unrealistic and fraud. Maybe those who are bashing the academy are those who partied too much and did not study as I did. For those looking to attend the Academy, I highly recommend that you go there. Not only will you get an amazing education but a great job.
    I knoticed golfing guy1, is very disgruntled. I am proud to have went to the Academy and have had an amazing rollercoaster ride of a career.

    If Golf Academy of America is so bad, then someone please explain how American Golf, Billy Casper Golf Management had Academy grads as SVP's and also explain to me how The Gateway Tour Director and The New York Metro Pro Golf tour CEO / owner are grads from Golf Academy of America if the school is a fraud. There is a reason it's the #1 Golf college in America.

    1 Votes
  • Ca
    Cadillac10 Dec 08, 2010

    I am getting out of the military in a couple months and was heading back to school. I had my mind set on going to a big university to pursue the electrical engineering bachelor's degree, but I have strongly considered the GAA. I see the above comments have gone back in forth and was looking to hear from somebody who has graduated recently to hear their views. Anyone besides golfinguy care to comment?

    0 Votes
  • Go
    golfinginAZ Dec 28, 2010

    Hey golfinguy1... if you placed the same effort into school and looking for work as you did your spelling, I am sure you would be working in a cart barn. I personally don't hire guys who cant even spell check!
    Listen, there are always sour apples in every bunch and employees dismissed for poor performances. You will get out of the GAA program what you put into it like anything else in life. I graduated 10 years ago and have had great job since. Most of my classmates have good "golf" jobs. The poor reviews are those written by the kinds of guys we all had in our school who you knew would never amount to anything because of a bad attitude.
    I entered the Academy as an 18.6 handicap and left a solid 5 and was able to pass my PAT. I worked hard at it and I worked hard in school!
    Smithdiver... I never trust anyone who bashes a former employer and suddenly wants to tell all "after" your gone. Save your anger for the next place you get fired! Oh and I just looked and at least in Phoenix, the instructors have very impressive degrees and credentials. In fact, they have two Master PGA Professionals and I saw MBA Degrees and Masters Degrees in the list.

    Stop complaining and become a success! GAA is a great program, but don't expect anyone to do the work for you.

    TO ANYONE WHO READS THIS> I have been on some great teams in my life (at work and in sports) and there are always negative cry babies who look for excuses and waste time complaining. The negative comments represent the small majority who fall in that category.

    1 Votes
  • Sm
    smithdiver Jan 20, 2011

    Well, I see some of the PGA instructors are rebutting my post. Perhaps I should expose some of their motivations so you all understand why they are so adamantly supporting their scam school.
    At the current time the golf industry is one of the hardest hit by the poor economy and many PGA professionals are looking for work. The golf schools who employ these PGA members are their last hope for being employed in the golf industry as they could not otherwise find a decent paying job. Maybe Dick's Sporting Goods would hire them but their is only so many retail outlets who are looking for a PGA professional. So, these guys need their job and they have to have new enrollments to stay employed. Trust me, they are terrified of losing their jobs whether they want to get on here and deny that fact or not. Anyone who has a PGA membership and takes a job in a scam golf academy has no shame as they surely know the industry does not currently need new people with unaccredited degrees to be applying for jobs in an industry that is broke.
    What they want to do is discredit the messenger (me) in order to continue their swindle. So all I ask you to do is to think about who has more motivation, them or myself. I have nothing to gain, they do.
    So they spew all kinds of disparaging accusations at me and begin to tout their qualifications to build a deception of credibility of the scam they are serving to perpetuate. Please don't fall for it, there are far far better options than this unaccredited $30, 000 scam who is promising a future in the golf industry if only you select to attend their school.
    Consider a few things.
    1. Some claim the school helped them improve their handicap. Well sure it will, but any dedication to improving will do that. One of the deceptions they use is the instruction technology. It is the cheese to the rat trap. You can get that same technology in Dick's sporting goods and go to the driving range and video your own swing and study it. Get a partner and study together. That 30 minutes they give you in the booth at the GAA isn't going to benefit you nearly as much as your own dedication.
    2. A unaccredited degree is embarrassing especially when you present it to someone who has a "real" degree, and that person is interviewing you. I know, I had former students write to me and tell me about that humiliation.
    3. It is far less expensive to go to a regionally accredited institute. I teach for one now and the entire scene and mood is vastly superior to that scam environment. The instructors at the golf academies know extremely well that their employer is a mysterious corporation raking in millions and millions with all the other scam schools it owns.
    4. The scam is that the golf academies take in cash to enable their other schools to take in government grants. It is called the 90/10 rule for staying qualified to take Pell grants and other forms of government funded education monies.
    5. I have nothing to gain other than knowing that maybe someone was saved from making a $30, 000 mistake that cost them 2 years of their life, (or 18 months). It is so immoral to rob someone of that money and time who is desperately trying to get a legitimate start in life or change careers. Please don't fall for this professional scam.
    So here is a message to any of the GAA staff who might wish to dispute me. Why haven't you contacted me. I invited you to email me at [email protected] and none of you have. Why is that? Just so you know, about 25 people have contacted me to discuss the school and I assure you that after our conversations none of them will (or did) attend the GAA.
    I want to make a promise to you people scamming the innocent young people. If you try to discredit me on this thread any further, I will begin several other blogs and participate in as many discussion threads as I can find to expose the school for what it is. I figure that if this one thread has saved a couple dozen from signing your trashy contract, I can exponentially grow that number by simple efforts around the internet. So do the math, 25 time $30, 000, well that is $750, 000 so far and I am not done yet. So keep it up and try to discredit me, I will come back at this school so hard I might be able to close the doors. And you know that if I do that, the entire ECA is at risk due to the 90/10 rule. Creates a problem for you doesn't it?
    For those of you who are considering attending, please contact me. I want to spend some time explaining the scam further. I have a document I can send you to absolutely expose this scam, just let me hear from you and I will send it.
    Thanks for your time all. And here is a PS, I am not discouraging anyone, I am encouraging you to get a degree but not from this scam foreign corporation who has wormed their way into the American tax payers pockets. Check them out closely. It is the ECA and they own Virginia colleges, more scam schools.

    1 Votes
  • Br
    bRicky73 Jan 27, 2011

    As a 2009 graduate of the GAA (AZ), I can tell you that smithdiver is full of it. I learned more about the golf swing, teaching, business, etc. than I could have ever learned on my own. Before I attended the academy, I thought I knew it all from reading hundreds if not thousands of golf articles, books, and watching videos/t.v. shows. After one week at the academy, I realized I knew comparably nothing. I now have the sincere confidence that I can go into any job and know exactly what I am doing. I can have the up most confidence in teaching anyone and everyone with the extensive knowledge of the golf swing and teaching philosophies that I learned at the GAA. Most of my friends and classmates from the academy were placed with jobs before they even graduated. Personally, I took a year after graduation to think about if the golf business was what I really wanted to get into. After re-discovering my love for the game, I decided it is with out a doubt what I want to do. I am now searching for assistant professional jobs in my state and have had 2 very recent interviews already. From the interviews, I learned that there is no way in the world that I would have even been considered for the jobs without my degree and experience from the GAA. If you want to start from the ground up somewhere, have fun being payed 7 to 8 dollars an hour for 4 plus years until you maybe get offered a higher position. The GAA gives you more than everything you need to learn in 18 months from PGA professionals that have amazing credentials and experience. I made great friends and connections along with everything else. I would do it again with no hesitation. Thank you GAA!

    0 Votes
  • Sm
    smithdiver Jan 27, 2011

    bricky73, how much did that learning more about the golf swing and teaching business cost you? Over $30, 000 maybe? Sure it did. Now you are either paying that debt off or glad your parents did. Which is it? You are unemployed after spending that much money spent suggests to me someone else is paying your bills so I suppose it was your parents who funded the $30, 000+ tuition and fees and housing and living expenses while you earned your unaccredited degree from the degree mill called the Golf Academy of America. Yes, it is a degree mill because it does not have regional accreditation and the bogus credits you paid for will not transfer to a regionally accredited school. If you want to get a real degree you will have to start over from the beginning.
    So are you suggesting that a graduate from the scam Golf Academy is going to be paid, (not payed), more than $8.00 p.h. due to their "degree"?
    Here is a real plan, go to a regionally accredited school and get a legitimate Associates degree from a respected school in business management, it will cost you a fraction of the tuition of the Golf Academy, you can put that money towards a country club membership and a range plan. While you are studying for that degree, make an effort to get to know the PGA at that club and learn about the business through him, I am sure he would be glad to assist you. As a matter of fact as things go in the business, by the time you complete (or before) your degree, a position might come open in that club for you. If you are expressing a sincere interest in the golf business, explaining your reasons for going to school, trying to improve your game, trying to learn the golf business by asking sincere questions, ... that professional will either hire you himself or give you a reference. He will also be able to keep informed of any other local positions to let you know about.
    The golf academy PGA professionals tend to be kept outside the "loop" on the concerns of the local job markets by the club professionals from my experience. I know someone will rebut that statement but again, that is my observation. Perhaps it is because the local professionals (or club pros) are working in golf business management while the golf academy pros are "teaching" and not filling the traditional PGA professional role of managing a golf course and dealing with the demands of the job. As a former club professional I also know that their was a distinct difference in perception among the professionals of each other determined by the position currently held.
    Anyway, don't waste your time and $30, 000 on the scam, go volunteer at the local golf course to get in good while getting a degree from a good school. That is the bottom line. I promise you will be far better off! Far far better off with a lot less money.
    So now, I wait for the next attempt of the Golf Academy to rebut and afterward I will again explain and convince to others why your sales pitch is nothing but a lure into a scam to steal money from the unknowing and unsuspecting young people trying to find the best way to follow the game they love. You vultures! Leave them alone to get a legit degree.
    Smithdiver
    PS: email me at [email protected]

    0 Votes
  • Sm
    smithdiver Jan 27, 2011

    I made a couple grammar errors folks, I do know the difference of "there" and "their". I used "their" improperly as well as a couple other grammar errors and that goes to say, "proof your writing every time before submitting".
    Gunner

    -1 Votes
  • Es
    Esplendido Jan 28, 2011

    HA! I cannot believe I found this website with this complaint! Smithdiver, I was also an instructor with the golf academy of America when it was still the San Diego Golf Academy. Salutations.
    I have a few things to contribute as well. First to those who already went to this business to get a degree, I apologize for what I am about to say, it is not meant to harm you. For others who have not gone to this school, just beware. Everything I have read that Mr. Smith Diver has said is from someone who obviously knows as much, if not more, than I do. I taught at this school for a few years and it used to be a rather small school until the money started rolling in. It seems money really changed things and it was bought out by the education corporation of America. That is when things went down hill fast with new rules, new policies, new bosses and a new purpose. They brought in highly skilled sales staffs and started with advertising which was even international. Ironically it is not the primary focus of the "ECA" but a necessity to get cash in relation to government funds for tuition. This is partly where I see that the "scam" lies.
    It is true that the diploma is not regionally accredited, but I know that you come out knowing more about the golf business than when you enter. For employers who might be considering a graduate, just check with the staff at the school where they graduated and see how many personal references from the PGA staff members you can get to commit because it is like someone said early in the thread, it is what you put into anything what you will get out.
    I agree the tuition is higher than a cats back and that is bad news for those who signed the contract or finished already. You can compare the tuition to any University and find that out. A University has regional accreditation, that is what you need to be considered most genuine or "legitimate" as I see it referred as. There are so called "schools" that actually have no accreditation at all and those are called "degree mills". I would not place the GAA in the "degree mill" category but others might and could if compared to a regionally accredited school.
    Now some more bad news for anyone considering this school. The students are very often (not always) under performing, often moderately illiterate "sluffs" who come from wealthier families from my experience. They often have very bad attitudes and a horrible work ethic. Again, not all for sure and for those who are serious when they come, are highly discouraged by these unmotivated "silver spoon" individuals as they try to get the most out of the program.
    This isn't a program meant to make you a tour pro, it is a golf business school that cost loads of money. In order to pass any of the courses all that is essentially required is to show up and sign in.
    You could certainly get on the job training from any golf course especially if it had a professional. So I agree whole heartedly with Mr. Diver as he suggest going to get a job instead of paying for that same knowledge. The way things have changed in the PGA, it is quite necessary for new entries into the ranks to have a degree, not a AA or GAA degree, but a legitimate one, preferably get your Bachelors so you can compete for jobs. I also know that if you are employed as an apprentice making $8 per hour, the golf course might and probably will pay your apprenticeship dues and your PGA schools. Just compare those factors to paying $30, 000 and getting no PGA apprenticeship points or schooling or on the job experience you will miss out on.
    So yes, the ECA is a big business often digging deep into the pockets of the unaware, you don't need this school, it takes as long as a regionally accredited two year school and is more expensive, so why go there? Sorry to my former workmates, I think you will do fine without the few that read this post but you all know it is true and moral to pass along, so if you must, get over it and live in the real world.
    But I don't invite others to email me because I know this organization is a mystery, potentially dangerous and I do not trust what they might do to anyone who interferes with the money flow. Be careful Mr. Diver but if you need someone to confirm your claims you can give a message through this forum and I will at least be able to verify through my own experiences that what you say is quite accurate and matches my knowledge of facts.
    To you other PGA members who are still with the GAA, guys your house is on fire so don't throw gasoline on it or it seems Mr. Diver will throw more matches. The claims are real and furthering the discussions is only going to get more attention on the reality of a very expensive wasted 18 months getting a degree that is not transferable for 30 grand plus expenses. Yikes.

    0 Votes
  • LizardHead Jan 29, 2011
    This comment was posted by
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    Here is my take on GAA:
    Now, mind you, I attended the San Diego campus back in 2002 when it was called the San Diego Golf Academy. It was owned and ran by some goofy broad that inherited it from her Father who had started it with Tim Somerville way back when. After an apparent falling out, Dr. Somerville went on to found Professional Golfers Career College (PGCC) a few miles away. This was, from what I understood, the start of a bunch of drama. But I digress, for that was before my time. Let me get to the point.
    I attended GAA (then SDGA) in 2002. I knew less than nothing about golf. I simply went because I had a bunch of money wanted to learn the mechanics of the golf swing. I had no intention of learning the "business of golf". At the time, the campus was located in a strip mall in Vista, CA. There were none of the fancy facilities that are part of the GAA commercials today; no swing analysis machines, neato computers, etc.
    We went to classes on rules, history (Old and Young Tom Morris), and general business.

    Now, before the flame brigade commences, I am not putting the program on blast. There were some pretty good guys there. Mike Flanagan, whom I believe is still @ the San Diego branch, was as solid as they come. This guy knew more about golf as a business than anyone I have met.; Jerry Brady...cool, laid back guy that was biding his time. I believe he is now up near Seattle somewhere at a private equity; Art (forgot the last name) was a stocky version of Gary McCord; a guy named Randy Something-or-other. We all called him "He Hate Me", due to his severe lack of anything resembling a personality; and, of course, Tim Eberlein, Master PGA Guy. He is still with GAA somewhere. Very anal, very holier-than-thou, but a damn fine representation of a Golf Professional.
    Now that I have the caveats out of the way, I will continue...

    I had no business being at that school, but they accepted me anyway. Not sure why. I had no respect for the history of golf (although I still remember the Morris', thanks Art), or the business angle. I has a sufficient amount of business knowledge before attending that anything I may have learned was moot. I simply was on a quest to learn some kind of "swing". Did I learn that, you ask? Well, yes and no. I learned that I could fan the club face and, as long as I squared it back up on the way down, I would strike the ball better. That, as we all know, won't cut it. I began to dislike the program after the 1st semester...of course all the drinking I was doing wasn't helping either. By the 2nd semester, I had enough, and wanted to let my fellow students in on a little secret.

    See, the entire cirriculum is designed to repicate the 3 stages of the PGA apprentice program. So, you pay $15k and get a "leg up" in the industry. This, by no means will "entitle" you to favoritism when it comes time to start you search...with a $15k loan under your belt. This bothered me. I, being a type-A personality, didn't suppress my opinions, and it got me in a little hot water. I also stopped going to "class", as I had accepted that it was garbage...not because it was, but because I saw that there was a easier way.

    At the end of the 2nd semester (and a week before I was kicked out), I got a job at an American Golf managed private facility called Lomas. They knew I wasn't fit to be a "Golf Professional", but allowed me to amuse them. Wouldn't you know it?? My swing started taking shape. I spend day after day scrubbing clubs and washing carts for snotty [censor] that thought they were named Trump. I didn't complain...there was a strategy involved. Doom on them. I rapidly approached my 6th month of gainful employment with Lomas none too soon...

    On the 1st day of the 6th month, I quit; went back to my rental house (on the beach, thank you), and packed my gear. I was headed for the PAT in Phoenix. I made my roommate a bet; that I would become a "Golf Pro" before anyone else in our graduating class. We shook hands, and I was off.

    Two weeks later I had a job with Troon Reservations; 2 months after that, I scored a sweet "Guest Services" position with a new facility opening west of Phoenix called the Raven. It took me about 6 months to work my way into the shop there...then they found out I was "involved" with a Refreshment Car Hostess" (thats what they called the BevCar), and I was terminated. I didn't mind too much...I ended up marrying that girl...we are going on 7 years together. It was worth it.

    It took me a month to find a new spot, and it was as an Assistant a low-end daily fee down the road...a hackers course. I did, however, get to manage ALL the tournaments and annual play pass sales. I took that dump into the black within 8 months. I was then named the 1st Assistant. How was my golf game at that point? Well, I am happy to say that a hovered around an 8 handicap by that time. Did I learn it from GAA? No...I read Ben Hogans 5 Lessons. Thats all it took.
    After being named 1st Assistant, I called by old golf roommate to report that he had lost the bet. He relented...and I quit the next week. I had proven my point. If you want to be in the golf business...just go do it. You don't have to pay a school to teach you stuff when you will end up washing carts anyway...while trying to pay a huge student loan on $5/hour + grats. Here is an interesting factoid: before I quit, I needed to staff up for my replacement. I called GAA (SDGA) and told them who I was and that I needed students in my area to fill spots. They were offended and flabergasted that I was in the position I was in. I kindly told them it was due to my own fortitude, and not their curriculum. They never sent any people my way. Doom on them.

    What did I do after my quest was over? Well, I opened a skateboard shop in Sedona, AZ; which morphed into 4 within 2 years. I sold the whole nut 2 years ago and retired...at 39 years old. I still play golf occasionally with my buddies from GAA graduating class of 2002. NONE of them are in the golf business.

    postscript------- I NEVER used or mentioned GAA or SDGA on any resume or during any interview for my break into the golf business. I ommitted any reference to them by design. I often think about some of the instructors from SDGA, and thank them for what they had done for me in the short time I was there.
    The fact still remains, I went from an adamant non-golfer to a 1st Assistant running daily golf operations, tournaments, sales/marketing, etc...in 16 months, and it wasn't because I went to SDGA. It was because I WANTED it.

    1 Votes
  • LizardHead Jan 29, 2011
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    Like smithdiver, I also made a couple grammatical errors. It is only because I am sitting in my Lazy Boy in front of the tv, typing in the dark.

    BTW...a few of us that went to SDGA and are no longer in the golf biz formed a Facebook tribute group.

    http://www.facebook.com/#!/group.php?gid=7397995813

    -1 Votes
  • Qu
    quacksalot Jan 29, 2011

    I have to admit I am so very regretful I owe so much money for going to this golf school. I hope people understand more than I did when they visit the first time. They do promise the moon and deliver McDonalds.

    0 Votes
  • Pr
    Preachintheghetto Feb 09, 2011

    I dont really have a dog in this fight but I am an interested bystander. I am thinking about starting at GAA next fall. I just wanted to make a comment about how SmithDriver said that he has no reason to lie. His logic is not very solid. Just because you are not financially invested, anymore atleast, does not mean you would not lie about stuff. I work in an online business where we coach people to make money. The process works. We have people that make 5-6k a month on their websites, but they are the ones that work hard. We also have clients that post on boards like this telling people we are cheaters and scammers. It is definitely not true... the only difference is some people choose to work hard and learn. Others think it will be handed to them with no effort. I am not saying he is a liar or that he is lazy... but I am saying that his experience does not mean that is what the whole school is about.

    0 Votes
  • Rs
    rsvance32 Feb 12, 2011

    Okay, I am currently employed and making descent money ($50K yr) and doing something that I enjoy. I do not want this job longer than another year or two. I'm an Operations Manager at a large construction company. It's a good job, but it's not what I love. I'm 28, wife is 27, and we are happy doing what we do. But it's not what I want much longer. My dream is to work in the golf industry, maybe as a sales rep for a good company like PING or Titleist or something of that nature. But due to this economy, I can't use my Bachelors degree in Business and 7 years of selling/managerial experience to land that type of job. I see where the GAA has many bad reviews, but it seems like it may be a good opportunity for me to get in the door to the career that I desire. I'm open to anything from anyone on suggestions to getting to my dream career!

    0 Votes
  • Gl
    glfnut74 Feb 17, 2011
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    I am also considering attending the GAA in Arizona. I am NOT interested in earning my Class A PGA card. My goal is to break into the golf industry in some other fassion because I love golf and I have a ton of skils that afford me the choice of making a rewarding career in the golf industry. I already have a 4-year degree from an accredited institution. I'm 36 years old and have a wealth of work experience in a number of industries from hospitatlity and guest services, to media, marketing and sales. I'm also a former Active Duty member of the armed forces, so with all that on my resume, I'm not concerned about weather or not this school will be able to guarantee me a job when I graduate - I guarantee myself that. I will work hard at learning everything I can about the game in addition to improving my own game so that I can compete at a high level and MAYBE give one of the tours a shot some day, who knows? Bottom line is how does one break into the industry without any "formal" golf education? I am not interested in working 80 hrs/wk picking up range balls, booking tee times, folding ridiculously overpriced shirts, changing out members' golf spikes, giving lessons to hackers who's ultimate goal in life is to win the club championship and do all of this for damn near poverty-level income and an even lesser appreciation level. No offense to those who are going through all that to earn your class A card. You have a passion I could never understand and I hope you achieve all you have set out to do, but that is clearly not for me. The GAA seems to offer the opportunity to learn about the game and the business of golf in addition to improving your own game. With a 15% military discount, it would cost me about $25k to attend the school. I look at it this way: Is it worth $25k to get out of the dead-end corporate job I have now to pursue something I love and am good at where the career path has a seemingly endless amount of roads to take? I suppose I could just keep doing the safe thing working in a cubical all day, staring at a computer screen 40 hrs a week like a mindless servant who gets paid an average salary that covers the bills, but makes me miserable or I could just go live the dream and see what happens. So with all this talk about the GAA being a scam, I'm open to other suggestions. Thanks!

    0 Votes
  • Ma
    Mainegolfer Feb 22, 2011

    I am also making tentative plans to attend the GAA in Myrtle Beach in the fall. I am 29 with a BA in Economics, but live in Portland, Maine where there is very little opportunity to use that degree in any capacity. My girlfriend, soon to be fiance, is finishing up her second degree this spring and considering that I've been supporting her for the past 3 years it is now time for me to relocate and pursue a career that I am passionate about. We visited the MB campus this past fall and my honest reaction was that it was a professional environment with an abundance of experience and knowledge that I would be able to tap into. It seemed like there were plenty of networking sources that, if taken advantage of, would be highly conducive to developing a successful career within the industry. After reading the entries on this thread and even personally contacting SmithDiver through email, I am very confused about my next step and if relocating and pursuing a relationship with the GAA is really the right move. I guess my main concern is not the money I would spend, but whether or not, assuming I make the most of any opportunities and truely value the education that I will recieve, I will be better off from a pure knowledge sense. In other words the price of any education is always relative to what you are able to turn the knowledge and experiences into. I'm ok with adding another 30K onto the 100K that both my girlfriend and I have accumulated for our education if it gives me a legitimate leg up within the industry. In this economy where everyone has developed a "me first" mentality and it truely is survival of the fittest, I'm an advocate of pursuing passions as opposed to chasing money. Loyalty and ethics are lost on today's society and if there is no way to garauntee a long standing relationship with a company making a certain appreciating salary, then why not give yourself the opportunity to wake up and truely enjoy what you do for a living. I say all that to say this, does the GAA provide me with an honest opportunity to pursue a career in a dream industry regardless of the money I will spend and the devious intentions of the organizations involved?? I just want an honest answer from someone who took full advantage of what the school has to offer and made the most of it.
    -Good luck to all on your decisions and thanks to all for any info or experiences provided.

    0 Votes
  • As
    ASUPGM Feb 28, 2011

    OK. First I AM a PGA Class A Professional and went to Arizona State University PGM, have a great job in the industry working with THE BEST 3D, launch monitor, and simulator tech in the world, (not being a Assistant pro answering phone calls) and oh yeah...I'm only 23. To glfnut74...why would you NOT get your Class A? Unless you want to work 75 hours a week and fold shirts, teach hacks, and earn next to nothing for 4+ years, I'd recommend it. Yeah, it does take time to get your Class A, and if you work as hard as you say you do, it should not be an issue. Why waste all that hard work to get nothing when you can apply it somewhere and earn something worthwhile? It has nothing to do with how much you know about the industry or how smart you are. Its about credentials. Its like going to the doctors office and them saying "ok well would you like to get operated on by a MD, or someone who knows a lot but is not a MD?" well obviously you want surgery from an actual doctor. I can tell you more and more employers want PGA Professionals and honestly you will get overlooked if you do not have that credential. You will have more respect from employers and peers.

    The GAA DOES NOT force you to get your PGA Class A card, which IMO is a huge mistake. If they actually made students get that, I believe it would be much more worthwhile and worth the money.

    I agree that there are going to be some complaints, but again only my opinion, go to a PGM University. Don't waste your money on a so called "accredited" AA Degree when you can get a 4 year Bachelors degree AND your PGA Class A. Money is much better spent, connections are better, and I can tell you from experience, PGM graduates get more respect from anyone in the industry not only for their education but because that nice logo on the top of their resume.

    0 Votes
  • Du
    dufferplus Feb 28, 2011

    I still haven't seen anyone answer the questions of the guys who are considering GAA. Don't take the word of someone who obviously went into the school with the wrong attitude or expectations. The school was totally honest with me, told me exactly what to expect and what it would cost. They were also upfront about the alternatives. Don't compare apples to oranges. They did exactly what they said they would do, I worked my butt off, and I am now in a job I love.

    I bet people trash Harvard and Yale on sites like this one...anonymously, of course. All I expect is for a school to be honest with me. These guys were. And it was exactly what I was looking for. Maybe it is for you, too. Maybe not. But ask the right questions and they will answer them. They never lied to me.

    0 Votes
  • Co
    conspiracy_theory Mar 01, 2011
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    They got to Smithdiver! His email address is no good anymore.

    0 Votes
  • Hi
    Hide your Kids/Wife Mar 16, 2011
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    a verified customer
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    Having recently graduated from the Orlando campus I have mixed feelings about my experience at the Golf Academy of America. While the knowledge you learn at this academy is immense, I feel that one would be better suited at a PGM program or working at a golf facility and entering the PGA Apprentice Program. Golf Academy instructors are either excellent or awful, and their professionalism is often questionable at best. I will go through a few of the positives, and the negatives I have experienced while attending the Golf Academy of America.

    Positives -
    1. The opportunity to obtain lessons from multiple PGA Professionals and formulate your own teaching methods from how you were taught.
    2. Tournament play every Monday prepares you for the PGA Playing Ability Test, and allows you to set and reach goals within your own game.
    3. Integration of technology in the teaching and tournament administration can separate you from other aspiring Golf Professionals.
    4. Tee Times are available almost daily, and if you learn after to First Semester to manipulate your schedule correctly you can play 3-5 rounds per week no problem.
    5. Advanced Teaching allowed me to work with students entering the program and gave me the quality experience needed to instantly begin giving lessons.
    6. Was able to have a free range plan at a facility that 2009 PGA Teacher of the Year Mike Bender was located at, and was able to watch/listen to him give lessons quite often.
    7. Jennifer at the Front Desk, the glue that keeps at all together. Her positive attitude, work ethic, and interpersonal skills are something we could all learn something from.

    Negatives -
    1. The cost.. 30k for tuition is moderately understandable considering the amount of free golf rounds, and range balls you are entitled to. However, please understand that the cost of living will tack on another 20k to your experience, and that is if you live fairly modest. 50k experience = overpriced for their accreditation.
    2. Professionalism of several faculty members. While I am not a sensitive person by any means, I do get offended when a teacher feels that referring to people/actions as homosexual/faggy/gay, using the word [censor] 81 times in a 2 hour class (we counted one day), and is consistently cracking jokes at other peoples expense. It is simple minded behavior and should not be tolerated in an atmosphere in which you are teaching people to be professionals. Most faculty members do not engage in such actions, but it happened with a few and I sat through it unfortunately.
    3. Quality of the admitted - Instead of simply [censor]ing about how many dipshits I had to encounter while at this school I will provide a solution to help clean the place up. Administer a background check on incoming students and refuse entry for those that have a felonious past. We had several people in our class that had felony drug distribution, assault, weapon possession, and theft charges. High School Diplomas should be required of any student wanting to attend GAA. The amount of G.E.D. educated high school drop-outs that attend GAA is quite apparent when working on group projects, and listening to presentations. Watering down the admissions process may generate revenue in the short term, but it will ultimately be the downfall of GAA.
    4. Time wasted in the classroom was quite a large problem at the Golf Academy. Half of the teachers failed to gain control of their classroom and often this led to people talking, texting, sleeping, interrupting each other, and doing other schoolwork. I often felt while sitting in class that my time was not being respected by the faculty or my peers.
    5. Facilities - GAA does not have a green grass practice facility on site, and this is a major downside compared to their local competition at PGCC. You can only give so many lessons in video simulators before it becomes mundane and unhelpful. The building is located in a strip mall off one of the busiest roads you could imagine. The facility is designed to host about 150 students, not 275.
    6. Professionalism once again. These faculty members do not have office hours, do not follow the syllabus, and cancel classes without sending out mass e-mails. Having attended a quality University in the past, I found this to be amateur hour far too often in terms of teaching methods.
    7. Placement - If having someone walk around and hand you a print out from PGA.com with available job listings is placement then this place did their job. I found my job on my own, and am thankful for having developed a network of people before attending the academy. It isn't about what you know, it is about who you know. Never forget that.

    With all of that being said I feel that this school can do some positives for an individual depending on their goals. If you are a 15 handicap, and need to improve before you could ever imagine passing the PGA Playing Ability Test then go for it. I did learn a vast amount of things pertaining to all aspects of the game of golf, and for that I am appreciative. However, I felt my time was scarred by the interactions with the other students, and the way I saw things being ran. They had to dumb down a lot of the material because the quality of person at GAA simply would not succeed in a challenged environment. They do have a lot of quality PGA Professionals there, but many of them seem so burnt out from dealing with the disrespectful students that they have a guard up. To the person who stated that this is these individuals last shot in the golf industry is absurd. Every thought that people may want to be around for their family at some point in their career, and not wanting to work every weekend while their children are home?

    In the end.. this school is a business, and cares very little about your personal growth. Get a job at a golf course, practice your [censor] off, pass your PAT, and enter the PGA apprentice program. You will have to enter the PGA apprentice program anyway, and this costs quite a bit of money as well. Skip the 50k, and make money while you learn and practice the game of golf. Also, this is strictly my opinion, take it as you may.

    0 Votes
  • Ma
    Mainegolfer Mar 27, 2011

    Does anybody have any thoughts about the alternative of the Professional Golfers Career College? What are the differences? Similarities?

    0 Votes
  • St
    Strads33 Apr 05, 2011

    Thank you all for saving me so much money, I was actually thinking of sending my son there after High School. I received a packet in the mail that seemed a bit cheap, but that's just my opinion. My wife saw it and first thing she said was "Hell no". Thanks again

    0 Votes
  • Su
    sunfish Apr 06, 2011

    I am a recent grad of GAA Orlando. I can say this, they DO NOT fill your head with false hopes and dreams of making it big in the golf industry. Most of the young people entering the school had these big dreams long before they arrived. I heard almost daily how difficult it is to make a living in the golf business. That being said, most people that pursue a golf career don't do it for the money. So, if you have some big ideas of making $100k a year in the golf business, forget it. As for the golf academy, they deliver exactly what they claim, which, is an inside look at the golf business. They offer great instruction, TONS of golf, pretty much all you can play, Most importantly, you will meet the right people, which is worth more than any Degree you might get from a so called "accredited" school. Lets face it, most college degrees are only as valuable as the person that earned them. I think we can all agree, it is truly "Who You Know". At GAA, you get to "KNOW" all the right people, and you cant really put a price on that.

    0 Votes
  • Ga
    GAA Phoenix Grad Apr 07, 2011

    As a graduate of the Phoenix campus, I have to disagre with all the complaints. The staff and faculty are exceptional and everyone is very honest from the first time I began to enroll. I worked hard and applied myself. I did everything asked of me and secured a job before graduation. GAA has invested millions of dollars in their new facility and the networking with al the golf courses and PGA professionals in the Phoenix area was great. They have the best technology, excellent instructors who care, great PGA professional staff, and much more - I recommend you take a campus visit and see for yourself.

    0 Votes
  • Co
    conspiracy_theory Apr 15, 2011
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    If you can go to FL, check out the College of Golf at Keiser University. It is regionally accredited which is a big deal for continuing on to a higher degree, it's not for profit, and you get credits from the PGA toward your membership. It's pretty much the same program as the other schools and the facility is awesome!

    0 Votes
  • Su
    SubwayJeff Apr 19, 2011

    I am currently looking into attending the GAA. I see on here that a lot of people are saying that the degree is worthless. I don't quite understand that because ACICS is the largest NATIONAL accrediting organization of degree-granting institutions. I believe someone said you should go somewhere that is regionally recognized. That doesn't make sense to me. Isn't national better than regional. Also the ACICS accredits ITT Tech, The Art Institute of America, Everest, and many more. I don't think the degree would be a joke because you are telling people from all those other institutions that their degree is a joke as well.

    0 Votes
  • Js
    jskdfhkjbdnkfbd Apr 20, 2011

    The Golf Academy of America is a scam. Save your money. They simply make you pass their ### tests which teach you nothing and test you on nothing. There are only a few great instructors but the bad ones take the whole place down. They promise you 86% placement after they wine and dine you on the tour of the school but in reality they don't do anything. The director of career development is pompous and will send you the job info after the deadline. I wish i had stayed at home with my $30, 000. Only go if you are a veteran because its free but that is it. I live and breath golf (i knw its sad) but these ###s robbed me of my dream and my money. So in conlcusion ### this school ### the administration and ### their diploma. Also people in the golf industry will laugh at you when you mention the school which is great for a job interview. And in case I was not clear do you rather buy a new car or get an expensive piece of paper which means nothing? Your call.

    0 Votes
  • Za
    zamoramarine May 03, 2011
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    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    I am currently attending the GAA in San Diego and I must say that it is been exactly what I expected. I am able to say that because every person that I spoke with that works there was completely honest with me when I was looking into it. I have noticed that the individuals complaining at school are slackers, complainers, and mostly expected that they were going to be Tour Pros by the end of the program. You have to understand who and what they are about. I served in the Marine Corps and the guys and gals that complained about the Marine Corps were mostly shitbags. It's funny because that is exactly what i am seeing at GAA, complaining shitbags. If you are thinking about attending --- GO FOR IT! It's all about networking and getting that leg up on the other guy. Just keep in mind that it is a business, and with any business you have to work hard.

    0 Votes
  • Hx
    HxC May 10, 2011

    As an honors graduate of the Golf Academy of America, as an Assistant Golf Professional at one of the most elite clubs in Southwest Florida, I can tell you that GAA took my golf career to a new level. I would not be where I am today without the knowledge and skills that GAA provided me with. Every student in my graduating class have great jobs in the business now. The people who graduated, didn't apply themselves and coasted through do not. Sure they got a degree, but they made no effort. You get out what you put in. I put in alot of hard work on my golf game and class work, improved my Handicap index from 5.5 to 0.2, and graduated on the Dean's list. Work hard, and GAA is amazing, be useless like most of the people who had to rant about their experience on a random message board and get a job in the cart barn...your choice.

    0 Votes
  • Hx
    HxC May 10, 2011

    This a correction for my previous post...

    Every student who graduated on the Dean's list* now have great jobs in the business. The others who coasted through and made no effort do not.

    0 Votes
  • Ct
    ctgolfer25 May 17, 2011

    I would like to know if I did attend this school and graduate, do I still need to go through the pgm apprentice program offered by the pga or could I get a job right out of this school as a assistant golf professional.

    0 Votes

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