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Meet OJ Amaya, PGA of OJ Amaya Golf Academy in EastLake

Today we’d like to introduce you to OJ Amaya, PGA.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
As a native San Diegan, I first took up golf while at San Diego State University earning my degree in Accounting. I was immediately captivated by the game and the challenge it presented. My interest was so strong that I soon left the accounting profession to pursue a career in golf.

I enrolled at the San Diego Golf Academy (now Golf Academy of America) and upon graduation, began my PGA apprenticeship at EastLake Country Club in 1992. I became a Class A PGA Member and returned to the San Diego Golf Academy as an instructor in 1996. I then worked as a Certified Training Professional for Henry-Griffitts, the company that pioneered custom fit golf clubs, training other golf instructors in the art and science of teaching and club fitting. I returned to EastLake Country Club as a teaching professional in 2005 and was honored as the San Diego Chapter PGA Clubfitter of the Year. I was an assistant golf coach at Francis Parker School from 2006-2014.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
For the most part, I would say it’s been a smooth road. I guess like all new businesses, when I first started out, there was some apprehension as to whether or not the business would sustain itself. Fortunately for me, the EastLake area is a thriving community with many families seeking activities for their children. I’ve been at EastLake Country Club more than 12 years so I must be doing something right.

OJ Amaya Golf Academy – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Over the course of my career, I have developed a passion for, and become an expert in, teaching golf to young children (ages 6-12). Utilizing the US Kids Golf Learning Program as a framework, I have cultivated an extremely successful Junior Golf Academy. An integral part of the Academy is taking juniors out on the golf course utilizing EastLake Country Club’s PGA Family Tees. My week long Junior Golf Camps (held 5 times a year) are very popular and my weekly Junior Clinics are regularly sold out.

I am also the only teaching professional in the South Bay to field a PGA Jr League Golf team and have been doing so since the program’s inception in 2012. PGA Jr. League is a fun, social and inclusive opportunity for boys and girls to learn and enjoy the game of golf. Much like other recreational league sports, participants wear numbered jerseys and play on teams with their friends. Each team is captained by a PGA or LPGA Professional, who serves as the coach and is at the forefront of creating a welcoming environment for all to enjoy the game. PGA Jr. League Golf utilizes a popular scramble format that creates a nurturing environment for learning and development – both on and off course. With 42,000 participants in 2017 – and Ambassadors like Rory McIlroy and Michelle Wie – PGA Jr. League has wide-ranging appeal for both youth and their parents.

Beginning in 2014, I partnered with Golf Squad, a program that is in 10 states across the country which brings a structured golf education to elementary schools in the Chula Vista area. I am also currently working on starting a program with Golf for Autistic Children of America (GACA) this year to introduce the game to children with autism so that they can benefit from the many positives of the game of golf.

In addition to my extensive experience, I am a US Kids Golf Certified Instructor, am TPI Certified Level 1, Junior Level 2 & Golf Level 3, a Golfing Machine Authorized Instructor and join an elite team of Master Clubfitters for Henry-Griffitts, Inc. Serious golfers benefit greatly with O.J’s individually tailored monthly Player Performance Program. Your program will cover full swing, short game, on-course strategy and how to practice. Students find O.J. personable, caring and tuned-in to their specific needs.

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
To me, success is putting a smile on a child’s face for hitting a good golf shot. I see my main function as getting kids hooked on golf so that they will enjoy the game for a lifetime. Many of my students have started with me when they were very young and have gone on to play on their high school golf teams. That gives me great satisfaction.

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