Los Naranjos, one of the Costa del Sol’s most prestigious golf clubs, has just signed Julián Romaguera as its new general manager. In spite of his relative youth, 29 years, Romaguera has accumulated extensive experience in golf club management, in both Asia and America.
omaguera graduated in business management and administration in the United States, specialising in the management of businesses related to the world of golf. After completing his studies, also in Florida, he did a masters degree in golf course management.
In recent years, he has lived in Asia (Singapore, Thailand and Cambodia) and Mexico, working in the golf industry and especially involved with golf course management and sales marketing. In addition to Spanish, he is fluent in English and speaks French well. Travelling around so many countries during his professional development has also enabled him to learn the basics of certain languages, such as Khmer (Cambodian), Chinese and Thai.
His most recent professional job before “landing” at the Marbella club Los Naranjos was managing Riviera Maya Golf Club, the Bahia Principe Luxury Hotels group’s first course in Mexico where, in addition to heading the golf club’s management, he also provided support for the residential phase and construction of new golf courses by the group in other destinations.
“When the Sofitel hotel chain offered me the opportunity of going to Cambodia,” he says, “which at first didn’t seem like the ideal destination, for me it was a very appealing challenge, and eventually it became an exceptional experience, both professionally and in life. To go to such an under-developed country, where I had to take all the initiative, do absolutely everything and train the others almost from zero, helped me grow professionally and greatly enjoy my work.
“There I managed a spectacular course that has been the venue for the Cambodian Open, on the Asian Tour, for several years. It was a very gratifying and enriching period, because straight away I found myself immersed in a different culture, a different way of thinking, and that contributes a lot to your development.”
- From there you went to Mexico…
- Yes, to the Mexican Caribbean, near Tulum, 30 minutes from Playa del Carmen, with the Bahía Principe hotel chain. I was at a truly outstanding course, Riviera Maya Golf Club, a Robert Trent Jones design of 27 holes. I was there nearly two years.
But the moment arrived when Julián had to consider seeking a balance between his personal and private life, and he decided – after 10 years away – to return to Spain, the closest possible to his family. “I had some good fortune because the Los Naranjos opportunity arose and this was fortuitous because the club fulfils my expectations in every aspect, including being closer to home.”
- We imagine that the experiences you had as a golf manager in south-east Asia and Mexico would have been very different to those you can expect here…
- The main difference is the markets. Being in such different places has allowed me to learn about and adapt to very distinctive markets. That provides a great deal of versatility. In Mexico they were mainly Canadians and Americans; in Cambodia, Koreans, Chinese and Japanese. Here the market is mainly European, but being familiar with others gives you the opportunity to try to work with them from here.
- The standard of our courses is lower or higher than those places where you have been?
- We have some enviable courses: this combined with the climate, the gastronomy, the security, their close proximity, etc., provides us with a highly desirable destination.