Feb 12, 2024

Anna Kittelson joins GAP staff

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News, Women

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News, Staff, Women

Kittelson becomes Manager of Adaptive Golf

GAP announces the addition of Anna Kittelson to its staff as Manager of Adaptive Golf. In this newly-created position, Kittelson will be responsible for administering GAP’s adaptive golf programming as well as promoting and supporting the at-large adaptive golf community.

“Being offered a job to run a program that I did so much research about is rewarding,” Kittelson, 23, of Glen Mills, Pa., said. “I tell people it’s like I got my dream job.”

Beginning in May 2023, Kittelson interned with the GAP Championship Department. While interning, she increased her knowledge of the adaptive golf world through research, and by traveling to other adaptive golf events throughout the country. Her travels took her to several Allied Golf Associations’ adaptive golf events, and even included a trip to the 2023 U.S. Adaptive Open at Pinehurst Resort & Country Club in Pinehurst, N.C.

“The primary role of my internship was to figure out what adaptive golf is, what the market is for it, what organizations are already doing it and how would something similar fit into the Golf Association of Philadelphia,” Kittelson said. “Through traveling, I got to meet people and understand a little bit more about how that community can grow, and how we can assimilate it into our organization.”

GAP is currently working on 2024 adaptive golf programing, which will include both instructional and competitive events. 

“I encourage you to come. It’s going to be fun,” Kittelson said. “It’s going to be community building. It’s not just about the competitiveness of the sport, it’s more about the friendships and the community.” 

“From day one, we knew that Anna was the perfect fit for us at GAP. Her outgoing personality is infectious and has helped her make some great connections in the adaptive golf world,” Machi said. “Her strong work ethic and desire to grow this program made the decision to bring her on to the GAP team full-time as our first Manager of Adaptive Golf an easy one.” 

A job opportunity in college allowed Kittelson to marry personal interests with professional ones.  

In need of a flexible job while completing her undergraduate study at University of Delaware (UD), Kittelson joined the Care.com app in 2022. Care.com lists caregiving jobs including babysitting, tutoring, housekeeping and special-needs care. Experiences within this work opportunity sparked her adaptive golf dreams. 

“I was caretaking for a younger adult with autism [Bryce] and his mom asked me one day if I would take him golfing and I was like, ‘Yes. Absolutely. It should be pretty fun,’” Kittelson said. “When we went golfing he played golf for three hours and we went again the next week and he did the same thing. We just hit a ton of golf balls. It kind of was an epiphany. I was like, ‘OK, there has to be a career in this.’”

Kittelson is a 2023 UD graduate where she earned her undergraduate degree in exercise science and played on the women’s golf team. During her 2022-23 season, she earned All-CAA (Colonial Athletic Association) First Team honors; CAA All-Tournament Team honors and tied for second in the CAA Championship. Her season-round scoring average was 73.2, the second-lowest in program history. She is currently working on a master’s degree in public administration with a specialization in non-profit management from UD. She is on track to graduate in May.     

Kittelson comes from a military family. Her father, Brian, is a retired Doctor of Nursing Practice for the U.S. Air Force. Due to the nature of his job, the Kittelsons moved frequently. Anna has lived in seven states. Her family’s most recent move was to Boise, Idaho in 2018. 

Independent research and discussion with Bidermann Golf Club’s head golf professional Anthony J. Malizia, III connected Kittelson with GAP Assistant Executive Director Mario Machi. Since 2021, Kittelson has spent summers working as a pro shop attendant at Bidermann. 

“Late in 2022, I was talking to Anthony Malizia about future GAP initiatives and I mentioned adaptive golf. He immediately noted that they had an employee at Bidermann who was really passionate about adaptive golf and wanted to work in that space,” Machi said. “I set up an interview with Anna, and it was obvious right away that she was the person we needed to hire. We created a 12-month fellowship for her within our P.J. Boatwright Internship program.” 

Kittelson even etched her name into the GAP history books by winning the Association’s 2nd Women’s Championship at Riverton Country Club. Now, Kittelson will add even more history to those pages. Penned in bold is the title of her next chapter; GAP adaptive golf. 

GAP

Celebrating Amateur Golf since 1897, GAP, also known as the Golf Association of Philadelphia, is the oldest regional or state golf association in the United States. It serves as the principal ruling body of amateur golf in its region. The Association’s 345 Member Clubs and 110,000 individual members are spread across Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey and Maryland. The GAP’s mission is to promote, preserve and protect the game of golf.

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