College of Golf Alumni Join to Share Love for the Game with Treasure Coast Youth
First introduced to the game of golf by her father Bret when she was 12 years old, Keiser University College of Golf (KUCOG) graduate Gabbie Budd began working at her local Ellenville, New York Shawangunk Country Club when she was just 14.
Now serving as a Chapter Coach at First Tee – Treasure Coast under the leadership of fellow KUCOG alumni member Anthony Coletta who serves as Director of Operations, Budd recently shared that in addition to her Keiser University education, she’s grateful for the industry connections that have helped shape her career path. “Anthony has been an amazing person to work with. It’s clear that he loves what he does, and he cares about the First Tee and everybody who is part of it. Every time I interact with him, I feel better about my day,” said Budd while adding that Coletta’s positive feedback is one reason the team is so successful.
“I think I always knew that I was going to be in the golf industry. It just took a few years of exploring to figure out what area of the field I would thrive in,” smiled Budd. “Not only did I have a personalized college experience due to small class sizes, but after graduating I still have close Keiser University connections and I frequently find myself working with former professors and classmates,” she said.
With day-to-day duties including visits to various communities throughout Florida’s Treasure Coast to introduce young golfers to the past time, Budd said she’s happy to pass along her love of the game to future generations.
“I feel that I am providing an opportunity that I would have personally benefited from as a kid. I want kids to know that their dreams aren’t too big and that through hard work and determination they can be successful,” she said while also sharing her appreciation for leading KUCOG and LPGA Player Development program instructor Donna White. “I have her to thank for helping me realize my dreams and for helping me get to the point that I am in my career,” she said.
Located at Keiser University’s Flagship campus, the College of Golf offers a 1,500-square-foot indoor training facility, which includes a putting area, advanced launch monitor technology, V-1 and Swing Guru video analysis systems, an interactive golf simulator powered by Sports Coach Systems, a Motion Analysis Technology by TaylorMade (MAT-T), a 3-D swing analysis system, and a golf club repair lab equipped by Mitchell Golf Equipment. Keiser University’s PGA-credentialed faculty are available to College of Golf students for individual and group instruction, and those same faculty are available to assist the Seahawk intercollegiate squads to improve their golf skills. In addition to the indoor facility, students also have access to a 6-acre outdoor, on-campus golf range facility with 12 hitting stations, a 9,000-square-foot putting green, and a 14,000-square-foot chipping/pitching/bunker green.
Founded in 2012, First Tee – Treasure Coast embraces the Core Values of honesty, integrity, sportsmanship, respect, confidence, responsibility, perseverance, courtesy, and good judgment. Having grown each year since its inception, it is one of over 140 chapters throughout the world and one of 15 chapters in the state of Florida. Programs are typically taught by PGA and LPGA-certified instructors trained by First Tee. Members of The First Tee who have obtained a high school degree with a 3.0-grade point average are encouraged to apply. To learn more and to obtain a scholarship application, potential candidates should contact Carl Mistretta, Executive Director of The First Tee at [email protected].
The LPGA Teaching Division was founded in 1959 as an outgrowth of the LPGA Tour. The newly renamed LPGA Professionals boasts the largest membership of women golf professionals in the world. LPGA Professionals are certified as golf instructors, coaches, and business managers through a comprehensive curriculum designed to meet the changing needs of the golfing public. More than 1,800 strong, they are dedicated to the advancement of golf and serve throughout the golf industry as head professionals, assistant professionals, teaching professionals, directors of golf, owners of golf schools and facilities, golf administrators, college, and high school coaches, and more. LPGA Professionals support the LPGA’s various grassroots programs that were created to involve women and youth in golf as well as contribute to the overall growth of the sport. These include LPGA*USGA Girls Golf, LPGA Tour Junior Clinics, the LPGA Lesson Zone, and LPGA Golf 101 programs.
Keiser’s Associate and Bachelor of Science degrees in Golf Management prepare students for a wide variety of positions in the golf industry. The programs provide students the educational background and training to provide golf instruction, manage golf course operations, ensure proper maintenance of golf facilities and equipment, as well as how to incorporate the play of golf into the broader hospitality and recreation domain.
Keiser University is a private, independent, non-profit university serving nearly 20,000 students at 21 Florida campuses, online, and two international sites. Co-founded in 1977 by Chancellor Arthur Keiser, Ph.D., and Evelyn Keiser, Keiser University currently offers more than 100 degrees from associates to the doctoral level. Keiser University is a designated Hispanic-Serving Institution, a member of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, and was ranked No. 1 in the U.S.in providing Social Mobility by U.S News and World Report in 2023.
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Keiser University is pleased to join forces with guest lecturer, and New York Times Bestselling author Don Yaeger, to offer The Greatness Leadership Initiative: Transforming the World in the Face of Change. This open, online course is available free of charge to all in the Keiser University community. Stay tuned for more information!
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