After 20 years in the Navy, a dream career in golf

After 20 years in the Navy and three days before his retirement, Rick Vaughn pursued his golf dream at the Golf Academy of America in San Diego.Rick put plenty of thought into his retirement – 2 years to be exact. He know he wanted a career in golf so while researching various golf schools he attended the “Future Student” seminar at the Maderas Country Club sponsored by Golf Academy of America and the rest is history. That was all it took. I knew what steps I needed to take to begin my career in the golf Industry.”

While a student at Golf Academy of America, Rick met several other veterans attending the golf college. He realized early on his military work ethic would serve him well, along with the new networking skills he was learning at the college.

Prior to graduation Rick researched various golf facilities that interested him in the Coachella Valley area of Palm Desert, specifically Troon Golf properties. Each month Rick expanded his networking with the Head Professionals at Indian Wells Golf Resort, The Classic Club, and the Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort–all Troon Properties.

Persistence paid off. Two months before graduation Rick sent follow-up emails to contacts in the desert about possible employment opportunities. One reply read, “Call me ASAP”. Rick immediately contacted Jeff Beier, Head Professional at the Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort. Jeff had an unexpected opening for an Assistant Golf Professional and wanted to interview Rick for the position the following week.

Rick immediately turned to Golf Academy of America’s Kevin Connole, PGA, for advice. Kevin helped Rick prepare for the big interview–Rick’s first job interview ever! The next day, Jeff Beier called Rick and decided to do the interview over the phone. After 35 minutes, Jeff asked, “So when can you start”?

While continuing his courses at GAA, Rick served as Assistant Golf Professional with Troon Golf Management at the Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort in Palm Desert, California. Since then, he has not only spread the secret about the “Golf Mecca of the West” to fellow students, but has referred a student for employment and seen three other students from his class join him at other facilities in the desert to begin their careers in the golf industry.

Rick says, “This isn’t a job, it’s not even a career. This is a life that I love to live every morning that I wake up. I’m grateful for the knowledge and preparation I received at the Golf Academy of America – it was the best thing that I could have done after my career in the Navy.”

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