MYRTLE BEACH — Jim Hart, the director of the Myrtle Beach campus of the Golf Academy of America for the past 4½ years, will now oversee the entire network of five GAA campuses.
Hart, 57, has been named president of the GAA, the world’s largest and longest-running two-year golf career college.
“I love the Golf Academy,” Hart said. “I like what we’re doing here. We’ve got really outstanding schools, have outstanding PGA [of America] golf professionals who work at our schools, and a dedicated staff of other instructors and staff members.”
Hart will be responsible for GAA’s five campuses nationwide located in Myrtle Beach, Orlando, Fla., Dallas, Phoenix and San Diego.
The Golf Academy last expanded in January 2012 with the opening of the Dallas campus and has its largest enrollment in history with more than 1,000 students in the 16-month golf career training program. Hart will also oversee a faculty of 45 PGA professionals and four PGA master professionals.
Myrtle Beach is the largest of the five schools with an average student population of 325, and Hart will continue to reside in the area and be director of the Myrtle Beach campus off U.S. 501 while serving as GAA president. He visited the other four campuses in the last three weeks.
Hart holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida, where he lettered in golf three of his four years, and a master’s degree in management from Webster University.
He moved to the Grand Strand in 1981 to become a tournament director with the Carolinas Section of the PGA of America, and served as CPGA executive director for 14 years through August 1999. He became president in 2000 of Fair Way Golf Management, LLC, a company that owned multiple golf facilities throughout the Carolinas.
Hart replaces Mike Largent, who will continue to serve in an executive role for Education Corporation of America, whose educational properties include the GAA, Ecotech Institute, Virginia College, Culinard, the Culinary Institute of Virginia College and New England College of Business and Finance.
Largent replaced retired GAA president Chris Hunkler in July 2011 and has recently increased his duties as an ECA regional vice president. Hart said he expressed interest in the president’s position when Hunkler retired.
“We are thrilled to offer Jim this position,” said Tom Moore, president and chief executive officer of ECA, through a press release. “His extensive experience in the golf industry shapes all he does and we regard him as an exemplary individual to lead Golf Academy of America to new heights. Our mission is to ensure that our graduates are prepared to meet the needs of employers across the golf industry and Jim’s skills and background speak for themselves in that regard.”
Contact ALAN BLONDIN at 626-0284.