CCM Q&A: Fernando Padron CCM

Fernando Padron CCM worked in the sports industry before embarking on a career in golf club management. He was Director at Campo de Golf Villamayor and Los Angeles de San Rafael Golf, before becoming the Operations Director at Real Club Valderrama. Fernando gained his CCM in 2017. 

In this Q&A Fernando explains how the CMAE education pathway has helped him in his role at Valderrama when hosting high profile events. 

How did you come to work at one of the best known golf clubs in the world?

When I started to work in the golf industry, Valderrama was an icon and working there was considered like a dream. I soon gained reputation due to my hard work, honesty and problem-solving skills in humble golf courses. When I learned there was a vacancy at Valderrama I applied to the offer of Operations Manager and I showed my desire to join that great Club. I guess Javier Reviriego saw my attitude and skills matched his requirements and I tried to persuade him I was the right person…… and sometimes dreams come true!

What inspired you to get involved with the CMAE? 

I have been working in companies related to sports but when I arrived to the golf industry I was aware of my lack of knowledge and experience. If I wanted to work in the best golf courses I would have to do something different. And that different thing was the educational pathway of the CMAE. When I was the Managing Director of Golf Villa Mayor (Salamanca) I met Daniel Asis, President of Club Manager Spain, who explained to me all about the professional development of the CMAE and he became my mentor. Over five unforgettable years learning and sharing experiences with colleagues from all over the world. Highly recommended!

Valderrama is no stranger to hosting high profile golf tournaments, including the Andalucía Masters and the Ryder Cup. Can you give us an example of how the CMAE education or networked has helped you in this?  

The CMAE educational pathway has helped me in many ways and when we are hosting big tournaments is not an exception. Regarding the Valderrama Masters, it helps me to develop a strategic plan for the event that includes the competitive position of the Club, understanding the members needs and the financial resources. Taking care of the brand identity and marketing plan are other important parts of the strategy and this tournament is the main marketing action of Valderrama. Understanding the F&B department allows us to run the catering of the tournament, it´s a big challenge and we are very proud to do it. One of the courses of CMAE education is all about F&B.

The CMAE held their first MDP which was delivered in Spanish last year. As more and more Spanish managers embark on the programme what effect do you see this having on the club industry in Spain in the long term? 

In my opinion it is very important for Club managers to improve their knowledge and develop their skills and the education is the best way to get it. So, the more the merrier. But I support the idea of doing the courses in English instead of Spanish. To be honest, I still see differences between both options and at the end, the CCM exam is in English, so I would encourage Spanish managers to brush up their English in order to do the original educational path and even better, we will have more job opportunities abroad.

The CCM is a tough exam, lasting 7 hours in total and to sit the exam in a foreign language and pass is a huge achievement. Can you compare this to any other successes you have achieved? 

It´s true, the CCM exam is a very long and tough exam! And for non-native English speakers, even more difficult, so I´m very proud to pass it. Before my arrival to the golf industry, I had been working in the fitness industry as an entrepreneur and I feel very proud to open 4 fitness centers and make them profitable for 10 years. To start from scratch a business is a great challenge and I had to learn a lot of things about construction, laws, human resources, financial management and team leader. This knowledge has been very important when I started to work in a golf course and it helped me to do it in the right way. I think the key for success is the passion and positive attitude at work and never stop learning. That´s why I believe CMAE education is the best way for club managers to become better professionals.