“Our sports agenda is the most active of any regional federation in Spain”
A law graduate from the University of Málaga, with extensive experience in the banking sector, Miguel Ángel Navarro – the brother of two well-known golf course managers on the Costa del Sol – has taken on a new professional challenge: leading the Royal Andalucian Golf Federation with a firm hand on the tiller as secretary general and manager of the organisation.
1 - What is the first thing that went through your head when you realised you were going to become the Royal Andalucian Golf Federation’s secretary general?
- The first, I have to say, is that it was a matter of pride that the president of the federation would think of me to take on this responsibility. It’s been a major change of direction in my professional career, and I accept the challenge with a great deal of enthusiasm, and the hope that I can fulfil the expectations placed in me.
2 - What is the main challenge currently faced by the federation?
- The main challenge is always on a sporting level, and in this case to maintain the brilliant results achieved at all competitive levels so far. At an organisational level, the objective is to renew activity after two years at a standstill, taking advantage of this occasion to revamp the management system.
3 - Do you have any idea how to regain the registered members who have left the federation in recent years due to the crisis?
- I believe that we have now reached the turning point when it comes to the drop in the number of members. We now want to work hard to regain those affiliates we have lost over the past few years and to achieve growth among new golfers, developing promotional activities in schools, universities, golf academies, etc.
4 - How will you convince courses that remain outside the federation to join up?
- By offering a series of services for courses, such as insurance, free use of the Flashcaddy programme, the possibility of holding official competitions, etc. These services ensure that, for commercial courses, joining the federation is a truly interesting option. In addition, the general assembly on 24 May agreed a new system of fees for clubs which makes it more attractive for them to join the federation.
5 - Andalucía has top amateurs including Noemí Jiménez, Mario Galiano and many others. In what way does the federation help develop the base of young golfers in Andalucian?
- Our sports agenda is the most active of any regional federation in Spain. Starting from the “Pequecircuito” and other youth circuits (Benjamines, Alevines, Infantiles, Cadetes), we have maintained a competition level that has in the past – and I’m sure in the future – given us some excellent results. Recently the first stone was laid for the CETD (Centre for Specialist Sports Technique) at La Cañada, set to become a nursery for players who will bring us even more joy in the future.
6 - Relations between the federation and professional golfers have had their ups and downs over the years. Have these problems been solved?
- That’s true but the executive committee has named a president for the professionals committee who, right from the start, has had the support of the Andalucian PGA.
7 - The federation has organised numerous tournaments to help develop golf among youngsters. What more can be done to increase the number of golfers, both children and adults, in Andalucía?
- As I mentioned before, we plan to promote golf in schools and universities. We are supporting the creation and maintenance of golf schools, some of them set up by clubs without their own courses, and we’re sure that they will provide excellent results.
8 - The Costa del Sol’s courses are, in general, registering good levels of activity. Is it the same situation in other parts of Andalucía?
- Unfortunately no. There are areas in Andalucía, such as Almería, Atlantic Cádiz and Huelva, where there is still a serious shortage of golfers.
During a recent visit to the federation by tourism representatives from the Spanish Senate and Parliament, we stressed the need, in particular, to boost activity at airports such as Almería, to make it easier for foreign golfers to visit our golf destinations.
We also paid a visit in Madrid to the secretary of state for the tax office (Hacienda) to try to impress upon him the importance of recognising the golf business as part of the tourism industry, in order to make it subject to a reduced rate of VAT (IVA).
9 - With your workload as secretary general of the federation, do you still have time to play golf?
- Actually, up to now no, but I’m sure that will change.