Interview to a Greenkeeper: Pablo Morán
He gets a degree as a biologist at the University of Granada, which made him a practice contract in some golf courses from Almenara.He awarded a grant in Gleneagles (Scotland) and after some unexpected events, which include a pitch and putt construction in Costa del Sol.He had the Nicklaus project offer in 2005, Golf Park Mallorca. And that’s his beginning on the island.
MGT: All golfers know (or they should know) what a Greenkeeper does. But we would like to go a little bit far away… Which tasks are practiced in a golf course that could surprise people?
Pablo: A lot of tasks are carried out in a golf course but perhaps people don’t know about a lot of measurements: land analysis, leaves, irrigation, water quality, velocity measurements in Greens…
MGT: Which dedication demands a golf course in Mallorca? Obviously, weather is an influential factor…
Pablo: The main problem that a Mediterranean golf course has about maintenance is the grass management during summertime. High temperatures, no rain and irrigation water we use are damaging for the plant. In Mallorca, we must add the humidity factor, which, together with summer temperatures and awful irrigation water are a perfect breeding ground to stress the grass.
MGT: Which are the features you think are more appreciated by a golf player?
Pablo: I think it depends of the handicap of the golfer. There are a lot of golf players that all they want is having a walk in a nice environment and the result is not so important. So they appreciate a quiet and nice course. It is obviously for high handicaps. Meanwhile the handicap is starting to drop; player’s expectations go up in relation to maintenance, and the first thing is appreciated are Greens, streets quality too, bunkers and tees. But greens are above everything. As more golf courses the payers have visited, and the more they know this world, the appreciation for the design increases too.
MGT: You have always affirmed that your job is really vocational. We would like to talk about it…
Pablo: I think that for every job in life this is a useful premise in fact. As more you like what you do the more you will exert yourself. And of course, you will have more ability to offer excellence. Your limit will be budgetary only. In addition, the work on the course requires also time out of doors and it offers you days when anyone would envy me, or others that facing what the sky brings to you is not so nice as you would like to.
MGT: You work at Puntiró Golf course (Golf Park Mallorca). Which are the fundamental features it has about maintenance and its game?
Pablo: I think that saying it is a flat course is the common characteristic for both activities. They make a pleasant game and it is simpler on the way of maintenance. It is very well designed for the player enjoyment, no matter the level. And this design takes into account that there is a maintenance behind. The rough is an exception. The original design of the Rough is very photogenic, but it is an expensive and tedious maintenance.
MGT: Which importance has for a Greenkeeper playing golf?
Pablo: You must play in your course to judge it as a golf player. When you put on hold your aesthetic and agronomic view of the course and you are on the golfer skin, you understand so much better what they are looking for. Then, you can understand the origin of a golf player complaint or passion for your course.
MGT: With the economic difficulties we actually have, which are affecting to golf world on the same way to other sectors… How does it affect to your activities? Which one is the evolution you can see for next years?
Pablo: It is usual to say “As more sugar more sweet”. Crisis has eliminated a lot of sweet elements to prepare my cake. Although it is true that the flour is still very good, those sweet elements make more attractive the cake we want to sell. Crisis has taken off the capacity to maintain that details which more money and time occupy. And those that mark the difference too.
MGT: Which one is your opinion about golf sector in Spain?
Pablo: This is a wide question. But I will comment the relevant aspects which affects us. It is still proven that golf attracts quality tourism and that environmental sensitivity exists in those who manage the golf course resources, we are still crossed out as elitists and environmentally disastrous. The administration has been looking for new ways to punish the sector from a tax point of view. VAT increasing, new taxes for bad recycled water they offer us and a new legislation about the use of bad products that makes us only loosing competitiveness.
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