UGOLF Iberia is the Spanish branch of the French group UGOLF SAS and they both belong to the parent company Duval Group. UGOLF and more specifically the Spanish section, UGOLF Iberia, manage golf courses for state and private owners following different management models. UGOLF has more than thirty years’ experience leading golf course management in Europe and running more than fifty golf courses around the continent.
At the beginning of this year UGOLF Iberia created Ugolf Murcia after taking over the management of three new courses, Mar Menor, Saurines and Hacienda del Alamo. These golf courses are all located in the Community of Murcia. The company has appointed Eduardo Ruiz as Manager of this Section. We have talked to him at length in this interview.
You have recently joined the team UGOLF Iberia. Tell us what your position is and what your responsibilities are.
That is correct; I have been the new area Manager for about a month. At the beginning of the year UGOLF Iberia created UGOLF Murcia to manage three new courses: Mar Menor, Saurines and Hacienda del Alamo. I have to thank UGOLF for the opportunity they have given me as there were many candidates for this position; I hope to be up to their expectations.
My responsibilities will be coordinating the management of the three golf courses located in three different resorts. It will be a complex task as we have to create management protocols for the three courses; up to now, two of them were operated one way and the third one in an entirely different way. Everything we create has to be the same for the three regarding both management and commercialization.
You already have established experience in some of the best courses and resorts in Spain. How do you take on this new challenge?
I take this in a responsible, exciting way and eager to work hard as usual. He laughs. Getting into detail, for a couple of months we will assess all the deficiencies and we will start the changes immediately. We have to be certain of all the things that do not work or could be done in a different way to minimize costs and increase income for the company. After this, the changes will be related to the management and service.
Today, our greatest challenge is selling more and better with restricted costs. Once we make our golf courses viable we will start increasing the service standard. We have three top golf courses with an extraordinary commercial potential and we have to make them as efficient as possible. My main task will be positioning these courses amongst the best in Spain.
What has been your first decision in UGOLF Murcia?
The first decision I took when I arrived was creating a sound working team to achieve the goals we have set. I was very lucky to have a great Commercial Manager, Paul Baker. I can say he came in the right moment as great sales people are not usually available when you need them. The next step was looking for possible candidates within the company for the positions of Head of Operations, Bookings and Administration. Two of the three positions have been covered by members of staff that were already in the company. Nevertheless, the other important position was covered by someone hired outside the company as we needed an excellent Head of Bookings and we found him in a local company. With an organized team and the support of UGOLF Iberia the management of these golf courses will be much easier.
We can see you have an important task ahead; however, you must also have future plans, don’t you?
We have several projects on the table that we will carry out soon. In fact, at the beginning of the year we started changing the bunkers in the greens in Hacienda del Alamo. We will continue the improvements in the club house and in the irrigation system. In Saurines we have planned to make a putting and a short game area as well as improving the club house. In Mar Menor we are working on a new maintenance plan in order to reach the required standard for a 5* resort. Our objective is having the best facilities in the area.