World Class Golf Instructor Hosts Clinic for StudentsFor those of us who feel like we’re running in circles when it comes to improving our game, I have good news. Accomplished clinician, speaker and author, Wally Armstrong, who is also a former PGA Tour player and world-class golf instructor, says we’re on the right track. According to Armstrong, who took some time to stop by The Legends Golf Club and host a clinic for our students, the key to improving your game is to become a “circle-maker”.
So why believe that it’s that simple? Because Wally Armstrong knows the game... and he can prove that it is that simple. Armstrong earned his lifetime PGA Tour membership after competing in more than 300 PGA Tour events in his career, and in the 1978 Master's, he finished fifth, setting a rookie scoring record of 8 under par at the time. In addition to those credentials, he has consistently been hailed as one of the most innovative instructors in golf, in great part because of his props. He uses everything from hula hoops to hockey sticks, hangars, extremely short clubs, long ribbons etc.
If you believe in the adage ‘if you can’t do, teach’ you couldn’t be more mistaken, Armstrong can do both. A 1966 graduate of University of Florida he earned both his Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Education, and All American honors in golf. Recognized by his peers as an unparalleled instructor, Armstrong earned praise from Gary Player who said “'Wally is a true master at teaching the feel of the swing."
Armstrong, who played on the PGA Tour from 1974 to 1984, and the Nike and Senior PGA Tours in the mid-nineties, led PGCC students through some of the basics of his philosophy, demonstrating along the way. Our students got the opportunity, some through volunteering and others through nomination, to test out his theories and training aids.
Director of USGA SW Region Talks TurfBeing a student at PGCC means you get to benefit from one of the greatest perks of our vast network of relationships…spectacular guest speakers. Southern California-based Patrick Gross is an agronomist, but he’s more than that, he’s also the director of the USGA’s Southwest Region, and he has made it a tradition to speak at PGCC Temecula for the last three semesters, with another visit slated for spring 2013.
It might not seem like the most rewarding work, to create something that is going to be trampled and marred repeatedly, but turf specialists see the higher purpose and resign their work to this fate. Famous golfers make headlines and big money because they play well, but beyond their instincts, skill and talent, one must also consider that these guys are playing on the best courses around the world. Looking at it from that perspective, turf specialists and agronomists are the unsung heroes of golf because their success is very much affected by the elements, and golfers better than anybody understand this. As a man who performs visits with the USGA at over 130 facilities each year, Pat Gross understands this.
According to Dennis Orsborn, instructor for PGCC Temecula’s Turf Management course, “USGA agronomists are employed to help managers of golf facilities provide the best possible playing fields and sound operations; they assist with the science of turf growing, and the business practices of golf maintenance operations.” He continues, “They will directly assist the golf course superintendent and provide Turf Advisory Services for the Greens Committee and management.”
Mr. Orsborn brings Pat out to speak because what better person for students to talk to than the guy who’s been at the helm at Pebble Beach prepping the course for the U.S. Open in 2010? “I have known of Pat for more than 30 years. I have also called upon Pat to visit and consult on several properties that I was responsible for in the past.” Guest speakers of his caliber always make for exciting classroom energy. “Pat was enthusiastic to come and share his experience and to help explain the role USGA plays in keeping golf healthy. He is well known speaker and golf turf expert, and he is renowned in our industry.”
Gross, armed with a power point on his experiences, always encourages comments and questions along the way. Orsborn continues, “It is always a pleasure! Pat is obviously a passionate and enthusiastic Ambassador for the game, and students are eager to interact and ask questions relating to his involvement and encounters in the industry.” Orsborn concludes that, “It’s exciting to have such a renowned and well connected individual in the golfing world.”
Pat spent time reviewing what the USGA does to prepare and manage a U.S. Open site such as The Olympic Golf Club in San Francisco, but Orsborn feels that “The best part of Pat's presentation is a countdown from 1 to 10 the most frequently asked questions by greens committees and course management. The number one, of course, is ‘Why do they have to aerate the greens just when they are getting good?’ So, why do they have to aerate the greens just when they are getting good? Maybe you should swing by the campus next spring, catch Pat in the halls and ask him.
PGCC Recognized as 2013 "Military Friendly School"If you caught wind of the recently released 2013 Military Friendly Schools list, which will be distributed in print and digital format to hundreds of thousands of active and former military personnel in early October, you will see it proudly displaying our name for the first time. The list honors the top 15 percent of colleges, universities and trade schools in the country that are doing the most to embrace America’s military service members, veterans, and spouses as students and ensure their success on campus.
“A school’s inclusion on the 2013 list of Military Friendly Schools shows commitment to providing a supportive environment for military students,” said Sean Collins, Vice President at Victory Media, the organization behind the publication, and Director for G.I. Jobs. “As interest in education grows, we’re thrilled to provide the military community with transparent, world-class resources to assist in their search for schools.”
The criteria for inclusion incorporate a survey of over 3,000 actual student veterans. This feedback provides prospective military students with insight into the student veteran experience at particular institutions based on peer reviews from current students. To make it on the list, these schools have to have world-class programs and policies for student support on campus, academic accreditation, credit policies, flexibility, and other services to those who served.
In addition to awarding a full-ride scholarship opportunity at each campus to select veterans through the Wounded Warrior Project, one of the most important ways that PGCC helps veteran students is through its participation in the Yellow Ribbon Program. Established in 2008 as part of the Post 9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008, the Yellow Ribbon Program allows higher learning institutions to enter into an agreement with the VA to fund tuition and fee expenses that exceed the highest public in-state undergraduate tuition and fees, and the VA will match it, up to 50%.
If you do the math, this means that both the VA and PGCC team up to cover up to 50% of a student’s tuition and fees each, essentially absorbing up to half of the cost of tuition, as a way of giving back to those who have already given so much. So what does this mean exactly? It means that our students can potentially earn a degree at no cost. PGCC’s VA Coordinator, Ann Martin, feels that the golf college’s participation in the Yellow Ribbon Program is groundbreaking “It’s a voluntary thing for the school and this is the first year we’ve done it,” she continues “About 5% of our students in Temecula are veterans, so this program has a lot of potential to help them.”
Among the other services offered to our veteran students is an annual meeting with a local VA representative. Our local VA rep has made a tradition of visiting the campus annually to provide information about all of the programs in place to benefit every sphere of our student’s lives, from personal counseling and marriage counseling, to education and housing. The meeting is optional, and the response has been encouraging. PGCC Temecula’s Director of Admission, Gary Gilleon, a veteran and graduate of PGCC believes in the importance of access to this information, sharing that “If students choose to meet with the rep, they get info about PTSD, if there’s anything going on with their lives that the VA can help with, budgeting, buying a house, debt reduction, counseling…you name it.”
At first glance it might be tough to draw the connection but, PGCC is a unique institution ideally suited to veterans who are embarking on a second career, or forging a new path after their service. Gilleon continues “Our students are disciplined and focused, they know why they’re here and they enjoy being here. Going from the military to golf is an easy transition because even if they’ve never worked in the golf industry, there’s always the skill set that they bring with them; organization, people skills, confidence, presenting, leading, directing. It all translates very easily into the golf industry.”