Golfing tradition at Royal Las Brisas

Interview with Ricardo de Miguel, Golf Manager at Real Club de Golf Las Brisas

Las Brisas Ricardo de Miguel

Ricardo de Miguel started helping his father at the Real Club de Golf Las Brisas in 1968 when he was 10 years old, although at the time the club was called Golf Andalucía la Nueva. It is safe to say that the club really does run through his veins.

Starting out as an amateur then as a professional player, Ricardo de Miguel was fixed on being a club professional at a time when not many would have gone down that road. In 1996 the board of Las Brisas put him forward to replace his father when he retired. It was an honour for him to return to his lifelong club and stay involved in golf, even if not as a professional player. If there is anyone who can tell us what Royal Las Brisas is like, it is Ricardo de Miguel.

Seve Ballesteros y Ricardo de Miguel

What has your role been at the club over the years?

In my first spell from 1982, I was club professional giving classes to members, and in my second spell from 1990 I was sports director. In that second stint I was also in charge of running the club shop, reception staff, the starters and marshalls and the club room. Latterly, I was responsible for managing the competitions.

How has Real Club de Golf Las Brisas changed over all that time?

You have to remember Las Brisas was one of the pioneering courses on the Costa del Sol and, like tourism in the area, golf has evolved into our main industry. At the start, the important thing was to attract the tourist market, especially when Puerto Banús was opened. This proved a great boost for golf and brought celebrities and royalty to the area. The club then started to get very busy, helped by its quality design, perfect location and the enviable Marbella climate.

Later on, when Las Brisas was sold to the members, the policy changed and they stopped selling so many green fees to the public and radically changed the format, becoming a private club.

Throughout your career you have played many golf clubs. What makes Real Club de Golf Las Brisas different from the rest?

I have played many courses in many different places. Every time I came home to Las Brisas I always told myself I was working in the best place and on the best course; what more could you ask for?

What do you like most about your job?

What I like most is the variety – all the things to be done every day. Monotony is not part of this job. I also enjoy engaging with members, to be able to provide them with whatever they need. Here at Las Brisas all the staff are very committed and understand the importance of meeting members’ needs.

What would you most like to spend your time doing when you retire?

My biggest hobby is motorbikes, both off-road and on-road. I like all sports in general and especially look forward to more time to play golf. Almost everything in life comes and goes, but time only goes. When I retire, I aim to make the best use of time, which gets more valuable as the years go by.

What is the best thing golf has given you?

Well, golf has given me everything in life. Being able to meet so many people from all walks of life.

If you had not been a golf professional, what would you have liked to have been?

I’ve never really considered another option, given how varied this profession is.

What would be your perfect match?
My father, my brother and my son. Although during my time as a professional at La Cala Golf the game I enjoyed the most was with Jan Sonnevi, Derek Strachan and my assistant Thomas Jensen.
Which players, past and present, would you choose?

Of the older ones, without a doubt Ben Hogan, his technique is being studied to this day. Of the new ones, Jon Rahm is a great player, just like Seve was, but what I like most about him is the change in his character, for the better, since he turned professional.

How do you think the world of golf has changed since you started?

In sporting terms, players are much better physically and technically now. This, combined with the improvement in kit and upkeep of the courses make the change radical, in my opinion. As for the social side of golf, the difficulty is the huge numbers wanting to play now, especially since the pandemic.

But for me the big difference is what has happened to golf etiquette. Things used to be stricter when it came to repairing pitchmarks and divots, dress code, etc. I miss that aspect, although many players observe it impeccably, of course.

The last few years in golf have been somewhat turned upside down by the start the new LIV Golf circuit. What is your opinion of that?

I think people want new things and LIV is a great show. I am clear LIV and the PGA must come to an agreement, otherwise the financially weaker one will end up disappearing because the sponsors want the best players and the largest number of spectators.


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