Golf Academy of America - Carlsbad is in its second semester of playing club golf in the NCCGA. Each season they have swept the Southwest Region out in California, and made a trip to the NCCGA National Championship. Last season they finished T-4 at Bryan Park in their National Championship debut. This season the club is ranked #18 entering TPC San Antonio.
I had the opportunity to speak with Rich Iorio, the GAA-Carlsbad Campus Director, as well as seven members of the club team.
Can you briefly describe what Golf Academy is?
Iorio: GAA prepares qualified individuals for a career in golf. We focus on the 3 pillars to constitute a successful career in golf, which are game, business and technology. There are many different positions that the students can go into; in fact, there are 104 business positions that students can go into.
Could you guys introduce yourself, say your favorite thing about competing under the NCCGA and what your dream job in the golf industry is?
- Paul Grisham from Braden, CA: I enjoy the camaraderie and the competition and I would like to be an assistant pro at first and then move up from there.
- Brandon Awford from Seattle: I enjoy the competitiveness and I would like to be an assistant pro back home.
- Jeff Weber from Indiana: I like the competitiveness, tournament atmosphere, and high quality competition. I would like to be a head pro and do some work with club repair and club fitting.
- Ethan Heim from California: I like being able to travel to different parts of the country. I would like to play on tour or be a tournament director on tour.
- Dominic Lizarraga: I am a 40 year old retired vet and I have been playing golf for 20 years now. I just want to be happy the rest of my life and be around grass. I want to be a teacher and travel to different golf courses. I am looking forward to playing TPC San Antonio.
- Kureish Samanodi: the thing I enjoy most is the competitiveness and experience. I am originally from the Philippines but the competition there is a lot different. I would like to be a teacher or instructor after GAA.
- Sean Duckering from just outside Fresno, CA: I like the NCCGA because it keeps me competitive. My aspiration from school is to continue playing golf but with a high quality job; maybe be an apprentice to get into the PGM program.
In just two semesters, GAA – Carlsbad qualified for two nationals. Does the team anticipate winning at nationals?
The team is going to shoot for the stars, they want to win and there is no doubt the team is capable of winning the championship.
Anything interesting going on within the club?
Lizarraga: Next semester we are going to hold a charity golf tournament to raise funds to get matching uniforms and get dinner at the tournaments. GAA pays for most everything however I want to take it to another level and make it a special experience to be on the club golf team at GAA – Carlsbad.
**Brandon Harrold is the NCCGA President. Contact him on Twitter @NCCGA.