Interview Ignacio Apolinario Zárate, Managing Director Santa Clara Golf Marbella
Marbella Oclock has come to Santa Clara golf, to talk to its manager with more than 13 years already in charge of this magnificent golf course with unbeatable views of the Mediterranean.
M.O. We know you're a big fan of golf, but when you're not working, what else do you like to do?
I.A. I like to enjoy my family and friends, and especially travel. My favorite activities are skiing and surfing.
M.O. What do you consider to be your greatest virtue?
I.A. It's hard to say, though I think it's the hard, steady work. I love my job and I don't mind spending as much time on it as I need to.
M.O. New technologies are increasingly present in the world of golf club management. Which ones could you highlight at Santa Clara Golf?
I.A. It is true that technology advances day by day, and it is necessary to continuously adapt to changes. This is difficult for people with a "classic and traditional" training, but there is no other way around it. What has changed most is communication and information gathering. Santa Clara Marbella has been adapting to these changes, especially with regard to social networks.
M.O. In your club you have one of the best practice areas on the coast, tell us a little about it and your school.
I.A. Santa Clara Golf Marbella has a magnificent driving range, almost unique on the Costa del Sol. It has two tees: the upper one is where the School of Golf directed by David Guarch is located, with a covered area with carpets and an open-air grass area, and the lower one is totally made of open-air grass. The School also has a practice bunker and a short game area.
M.O. What would be the profile of your partner or type player?
I.A. Since 2019 Santa Clara Golf Marbella does not have any members. The golf club is purely a "pay & play". The client is usually a foreigner with an age profile between 30 and 75 years old. Most of the bookings come from the tour operation.
M.O. What importance do you give to fairs and congresses related to the golf industry, do you usually attend?
I.A. Attendance to fairs is of great importance for the golf industry. Santa Clara Golf Marbella usually attends specific golf fairs and not general tourism fairs, such as FITUR. Last year we attended the IGTM fair held in Marrakech and we will surely attend the one to be held this year in Wales.
M.O. What would you recommend to a newcomer to the world of golf who is thinking of taking up course management?
I.A. I would recommend hard work and continuing education. It is true that in the last few years there has been an increase in managers with better training than before and who have come into the industry with a master's degree in golf course management. However, I am quite critical of this type of course, since business training is not obtained simply by attending a master's course of this type, but with good higher education and work experience.
M.O. What would you consider your greatest achievement at Santa Clara Golf?
I.A. After more than 13 years as manager of Santa Clara Golf Marbella, the main challenge is to keep the company on the path of profit. And in these years we have achieved
M.O. What quality do you value most in an employee of your club?
I.A. What I value most is hard work and dedication. At Santa Clara Golf Marbella the staff is very solid and there have been very few additions to the staff. Our workers tend to stay with the company for many years.
M.O. Famous is on social networks the dog that plays Marshall in Santa Clara, can you tell us a little bit about that story?
I.A. His name is "Curro" and he's an Andalusian podenco. This dog showed up one day on the golf course and there was no way to kick him out. Anyway, in the end he stayed between us. We don't know where he sleeps and the players usually bring him food. At first he was very reluctant to approach people, players and employees, maybe because he had been mistreated, but now he is more docile and if you bring food you will have him by your side.
The funny thing is that on a visit to Los Flamingos golf club, it turns out that there was a dog there exactly like Curro, but it was a female. Would it be Curra? I'll leave you to it.