Bernat Llobera and Yago González, directors of Arabella Golf Mallorca and of Son Antem Golf Mallorca respectively, met 20 years ago. They both have a passion for golf, and therefore were good enough to respond to Face to Face.
When, how and why did you start playing golf?
Yago González (YG): In my family there is a long golfing tradition which started with my great-grandfather. Together with my brothers, I started to play when I was very young, three years old, in La Morajela, in Madrid. At the beginning, as it was a family hobby, I didn’t have much choice but to follow them, but the truth is that later on I began to like it, even until today…
Bernat Llobera (BL): In my case, I began at nine years old, after winning the raffle that they organised at my school in Pollença to play golf with 39 other children at Golf Pollença. There were 10 students picked per school, and I got lucky. I liked it from the first moment, and I was hooked. That’s life…
Why would you recommend playing golf?
BL: It’s a sport that has you hooked because there is always a margin for improvement, whether or not your level is good. Furthermore, you can play with anyone of any level or age, so the range of possibilities is enormous. It also allows you to play outdoors in a natural setting, and that is important.
YG: On top of that, golf allows you to enjoy it from the first day. Our sport stands out because of its social component, because you can talk to your friends, have a beer when you finish the round… You don’t compete against the other person, and as well as being enjoyable, it is a healthy sport.
What’s the most important part of playing golf well?
YG: To play golf well, just like in any sport, you need to train a lot. And to enjoy yourself, which for me is the most important part, it’s a good idea to have clear expectations. That’s to say, for me to know how to evaluate my level and my goals; to know what I want to achieve, being realistic.
BL: In this case, I subscribe to what Yago says. Indeed, to play golf well, you need dedication and sacrifice. And I would highlight, just as he says, that it permits a high level of enjoyment, of fun.
Is it possible to have a Nadal in Balearic golf?
BL: Possible, yes, although obviously it is also very difficult. The clubs, as well as the golf schools, as well as the Federation itself, have worked to ensure that there are more children than ever before playing golf. We can’t rule anything out…
YG: Let’s see, Nadal is a legend in tennis and in world sport. That said, as Bernat rightly said, nowadays we have all the elements and the foundation necessary so that if a boy or girl has the necessary talent to be a major world player, they are in the position where they can develop it to the full.
Both of you have studied and worked on golf courses in the United Staes. What can we learn from them?
YG: In the USA in golf they are one step ahead of us, in maintenance as well as in marketing or the material. With that in mind, we should copy what they do well. On the other hand however, they are facing a crisis in terms of their business model, and we must take good care not to make the same mistakes.
BL: Indeed, we have to put into practice what the Americans do well, which is a lot of things. For instance, the accessibility to golf courses, and on some golf courses, at truly economical prices.