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Golf Academy Drawing More Military Veterans


U.S. military veterans are increasingly turning to Golf Academy of America to begin a second career. Utilizing Golf Academy of America's comprehensive training in the golf industry and the availability of funds for educational training from the GI Bill, military veterans now make up an all-time high 23 percent of the student body at Golf Academy of America's five campuses around the country.

Military veterans have recognized Golf Academy of America's 82 percent job placement rate in the golf industry when pursuing a second career. Even military veterans with only a modest background in golf learn skills and work habits fundamental to success in the golf industry.

"Military veterans have ideal backgrounds to succeed at Golf Academy of America and in the golf industry in general," said Academy president Jim Hart. "They come here disciplined and ready for a new challenge."

Students receive hands-on training from an expert staff including PGA of America professionals, master craftsmen, business leaders and well-known instructors. The 16-month program, which offers a fully accredited Associates Degree in Golf Complex Operations and Management, includes free access to local golf courses. Veterans' organizations on campus help former military personnel adjust to student life.

The GI Bill not only provides all tuition costs, but also pays Golf Academy of America students a monthly stipend.

"Coming to Golf Academy of America is a great opportunity," said GAA graduate Chauncey Mitchell, who made 843 landings on aircraft careers as a Navy pilot during his military career. "I was fortunate to have the opportunity to do something I wanted to do after I retired. I was attracted by the zero-based training - just like the military."

Mitchell, manager of military partnerships for Golf Academy of America, improved his golf scores from the 120s to the low-80s as a student at the San Diego campus. Graduates have gone on to get jobs as pros at prestigious private clubs and top-100 public courses.

Ryan Williams, a 21-year Army veteran and current student at Golf Academy of America's Dallas campus, said he immediately felt at home. "I was shocked to see all the military guys in the school," said the retired sergeant. "When I got back, I was frustrated doing jobs I didn't want to do. Now, I'm learning a skill that will allow me to work doing something I enjoy."

Some military veterans come to Golf Academy of America with a solid golf background, too. "The Golf Academy of America has been a great learning experience for me," said retired Army Col. John Lenk, who played on the Army Golf Team at Ft. Rucker, Ala. "Plus, I've enjoyed helping and advising some of the younger students. There's a great support system here for military veterans."

Khris Greene, a 26-year veteran of the Air National Guard, said attending Golf Academy of America is a great first step for veterans returning to civilian life. While studying at the Phoenix campus, the retired colonel developed "G-Spark," a 12-volt adapter utilizing the battery in golf carts to power cell phones and other electrical devices. Greene's device makes it easy for golfers to remained "plugged in" while on the course.

"A lot of veterans need to find a career when they leave the military," said Greene. "If you just sit at home, life will pass you by. Golf Academy is a structured way to gain the training needed to find good jobs in the golf industry."

About Golf Academy of America

Golf Academy of America campuses are located in San Diego, Phoenix, Orlando, Myrtle Beach and Dallas. The schools are owned and operated by Education Corporation of America, headquartered in Birmingham, Ala. For more information about Golf Academy of America, call 800/342-7342 or visit www.GolfAcademy.edu.