CCM Q&A: Carlos Linares Saez CCM

Carlos de Linares Saez CCM is General Manager at Ocean’s 4 Golf Club in the Dominican Republic having previously worked in management positions at several clubs across Spain, including Norba Golf Club, Altea Golf Club and The Royal Automobile Club of Spain. Carlos gained his CCM certification in 2018. 

In this Q&A Carlos explains the difficulties of running a club in small city and the main differences between Spain and the Caribbean. 

What prompted you to get involved with CMAE?
Back to 2007 I wanted to keep improving my managerial skills in order to be a better professional. At that moment Daniel Asis founded Clubmanagerspain (CMS)in order to promote sharing knowledge between other club managers and training days with several matters related to the Club Business. Daniel through his passion for this industry transmitted it to me and I was lucky to be sponsored by CMS to go to the 2011 World Conference in Orlando after that I have attended 7 World Conferences and by February 2020 it will be my 8th. When Clubmanagerspain started in a partnership with the CMAE I joined the development program in order to achieve the CCM.

You spent a few years at the RACE Country Club Club in Spain. How would you describe what sort of organization that is and are there any links to the RACE club in England?
I spent 5 years in this organization that it is a drivers Club founded in 1903 with the aim to promote the use of the car and support in the issues related in the driving. Their members (21,000) own one of the largest Country Clubs in Spain with several sport facilities such as tennis courts (25), 18 hole golf course, swimming pools, horse riding courts,4 club houses….I had the privilege to become the assistant to the General manager for 4 years and the last two years combined as a golf director. In such a large operation I was able to learn a lot.

You also spent 3 years at Norba Golf Club in Caceres, which is not regarded as a golf ‘hot spot’ in Spain. What sort of difficulties came with this? Did you rely on Spanish golfers and members or did you get a good number of golf tourists?
My experience in Norba was very different compare to the previous one with a small country club and a fewer number of members, however it was very family oriented and I could learn a lot from running this operation. The main difficulties were related to the negative rotation of members and the location itself because it was a small city so we had to offer newer activities more attractive to young people and promote the product through the investment. At this time I had a chance to lead a big project that involved the change of the whole irrigation system of the golf course and change the green complex bunkers. This was even more changeling because our financial capacity was very limited so we didn’t have any chance to fail. The driving of the operation and the final results were such a success. Nowadays Norba is a referent in water management and sustainable maintenance.

You are now working in the Dominican Republic. How well does your skills learned in Spain and as a CCM translate to the Caribbean?
The Caribbean is a great experience because this operation belongs to a large corporation that his main core business is the hospitality business with 14 all inclusive hotels in Dominicana and several in Jamaica, Mexico, Canary Islands and Baleares. A few years ago they enter into real state and the golf facilities are the main amenities that give value to their developments so the property are always willing to invest and create a better product that increases the perception of a potential buyer.

How does Club Management compare between Spain and the Caribean?
The main differences are related to labor legislation, and the general personality of the local people that I work with. It is a total different culture and you have to accept some things in order to create a proper organizational culture.