Joe Neff, Director - Joe is the creator of the VGP. He started the program in 2012. He’s a retired Marine Lieutenant Colonel and a track and field coach for over forty years. He was a USA Paralympic coach in track and field in the 1992 Paralympic Games in Barcelona, Spain and the 2013 head coach of the Marine Trials track team.
Andrew Hernandez, Deputy Director - After a distinguished 21 year military (Retired Master Sergeant, USAF) and 20 year State of California civil service career, Drew is now enjoying a well-deserved retirement with family. He volunteers his time to the men and women in the Veterans' Golf Program and other veterans living in the Sacramento, CA area.
Char Neff, Treasurer - A graduate of San Jose State University, Charlotte was raised in a military family. As the wife of a Marine, she already understood the challenges of separations and relocations. A retired teacher, Charlotte taught elementary school for 45 years. No she doesn’t play golf, but she does enjoy helping the VGP as an administrative assistant.
Paul Oetinger, Program Operations Director - Paul as a drill sergeant and a medic in the United States Army. Paul works with veteran’s programs that use golf as a modality helping veterans to break through the constriction of isolation and depression. Paul has worked as a golf instructor and tournament director.
Nancy retired as an editor/writer from California State University, Hayward (now CSU, East Bay) after a long career as a teacher, writer, editor and public information administrator. She holds degrees in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley, and in education from CSU, Hayward. The San Jose, Calif., native has written books for the National School Safety Center, served as a legislative aide to the late Rep. Robert T. Matsui, and worked many years as Public Information Officer for Sierra Community College in Rocklin, Calif., and for the California Community Colleges Office of the Chancellor. She joined the board of the Veterans Golf Program as news media advisor.
Michael is a retired journalist with more than 40 years working on newspapers, including stints as reporter, columnist and editor. He retired after teaching journalism and advising for the student newspaper at California State University, Hayward (now CSU, East Bay). The Oakland, Calif., native holds degrees in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley, and in mass communications from San Jose State University. He worked many years at The Sacramento Union newspaper. He joined the board of the Veterans Golf Program shortly after its founding.
Mark is a graduate of California State University, Sacramento, with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration. Upon graduation, he was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps. During his 3 year commitment, he served as a platoon commander with the 1st Battalion, 5th Marines. Mark’s unit was one of the first Marine units involved with Operation Desert Shield and the lead element for Task Force Ripper in Operation Desert Storm. After resigning his commission, Mark accepted a sales position with UARCO, a national printing company. Several years later, he opened his own promotional merchandise business; Ideal Printing, Promos & Wearables, Inc. In 2008, Mark co-founded the National Marine Corps Business Network, a business network exclusive to Marines and Navy Corpsmen. The network has several active chapters across the country totaling 6000 members nationwide and growing.
Ted Hart, Coach - Ted has been a master club builder and fitter for 65 years. He served on the advisory staff for golf for the City of Los Angeles Recreation Department. Ted currently coaches our members of the VGP.
Dane, Coach - Dane became an assistant golf professional while attending the University of New Mexico in the mid 80’s and is a class A member of the Professional Golfers Association of America. Dane has worked from the ground up in the golf business and has a wealth of experience in nearly every aspect of golf; from owning and operating multiple golf equipment stores in the Sacramento area to playing on developmental tours on the west coast. The past 18 years Dane had been the Head Professional/General Manager at two Sacramento County municipal golf courses. At those facilities Dane taught and implemented many innovative developmental golf programs as well as built very successful teaching programs that included a golf fitness performance studio, and a junior golf academy that got golfers started out on the right path and increased the fun they have playing golf. Dane has a passion for learning and helping people enjoy and get better at golf. Early in his career, Dane began crafting the language and teaching style that best help golfer’s solve issues in their game. “My membership in the PGA has given me the opportunity to study the game under the best instructors in the country”. Dane is a PGA Hope Certified Instructor and has developed a style of instruction over many years that teach students how to be their own coach so that they can enjoy golf for a life time.
Natalie Vivaldi, Coach - Natalie attended the University of Colorado at Boulder for 3 years and competed in the PAC 12 Women’s Golf conference. She transferred in her senior year to San Diego State University to compete in the Mountain West Conference. She was a valuable member of both teams competing in nearly every event. Upon graduation she went to Q School and placed high enough to give her status on the Symetra Tour. She competed on the Symetra Tour and Cactus Tour following collegiate golf working on getting her LPGA status. In 2020 she underwent shoulder surgery and will be working on getting back to the tour in mid-to late 2021 and 2022!
Tony Schwartzi, Coach - Tony brings over 25 years as a golf professional to the Veterans’ Golf Program. He is sought after by top golf manufacturers for his knowledge of club fitting. As a Director of Golf Instruction and Head Professional he is in demand for his teaching knowledge. He has worked in numerous capacities during his career as a golf professional.
Tony’s career has been highlighted by his many awards in the areas of Customer Service and Custom Club Fitting. He has twice been selected as a Top Ten Teaching Professional in Northern California. Tony combines his knowledge of solid teaching principles with an individualistic approach to take his students to the highest possible levels. His individualistic approach takes in to consideration the physical capabilities of his students and motivational levels.
The veterans in the Veterans’ Golf Program are grateful to have Tony as one of our coaches. His professionalism and concern for each veteran make him the perfect teacher for the team.