Gabriel Sota CCM is a golf professional and master club maker and son of pioneering European Tour winner Ramon Sota and a cousin of the legendary Seve Ballesteros. Gabriel gained his CCM in 2017.
In this Q&A Gabriel explains where his passion for club making comes from and how he prepared for sitting the CCM exam
You are the cousin of golfing legend Seve Ballesteros. Was he a big inspiration in your life?
Yes he was a very big inspiration in my life. Seve was shooting some bunkers shot in the practice green area. He was doing very well, have a yard, ten inchs, five inchs, hit the pin and after many incredible shots asked me about his practice and I told him in my opinion is perfect Seve. His answer was “Gabriel you are wrong because I did not get into the hole any ball yet”. I move my head admitting he was right. The next second ball he shot he got into the hole and he told me, now yes I can go to practice another different shot to improve.
You are a very talented golfer. What made you go down the club maker route rather than touring professionally?
Well I must confess you after see my cousin hitting twelve consecutive almost perfect shots with a wood. If you see the number one golf player in the world hitting the same shot with a fairway wood from the ground to a pin at 220 meters and every shot landing in just twentyfive square meters. You understand how much work, practice and determination there was in my cousin hands and mind, and probably in that moment I was feeling very disappointed watching almost the perfection.
Where did you get your passion for club making from?
My passion for clubmaking and clubfitting was born thanks to my father. My first workshop was my father´s workshop in Pedreña and very bad, because I started breaking my father´s fresh repaired club and I felt very sad, so I decided to help repairing clubs. Besides my pupils all the time ask me about their clubs and which should be the proper club for them. I enjoy helping people, coaching, teaching, clubmaking, clubfitting or just speaking, all of them are different ways to enjoy while we are developing golf in every aspect and socialize.
Achieving your CCM status, given that you took the exam in a foreign language to yourself, is a tremendous achievement. Other than the satisfaction of attaining this status how else have you benefited from the process?
Well after achieving my CCM status everyone feel very happy, of course, but you know the same before than after the exam, the exam is an incredible experience plenty of stress and a huge knowledge to demonstrate in a very tough and long exam but this is part of the Club Manager knowledge pathway, starting when you begin as a Director of golf and after you start with your first Management Development Program knowing you will never stop learning and enjoining. So I think my benefit is continuous education and knowledge.
What did you do to prepare yourself for the exam day and what advice would you give to others who will soon be sitting their exam?
Great question, first being humble and asking and listening at CCMs. They all recommend me to read the Contemporary Club Management book more than twice. Besides we had skype meetings to speak about the book, very long telephone calls, and emails to share and write in different ways how we understand what we read to improve our knowledge. And a lot of practice, case studies to write in English and understand properly every problem. I keep my excell file plenty of English words and its meaning, oh my God!. Anyway it was a pleasure study Club Management and to spend a lot of time learning English to prepare the exam. I want to take this opportunity to say thank you very much indeed to many CCMs, thanks and specially Silvia.