Miguel Marín received his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration at Coastal Carolina University with specialties in management and marketing, as well as a specialization in Professional Golf Management with the PGA of America. Mr. Marín has been working for Grupo Verde Azul since 2012 as manager of The Buenaventura Golf Club, a course that is a benchmark in the region, designed by Nicklaus Design and operated by Troon Golf. In addition, since 2013 Miguel has also been the manager of AGICO S.A., a company responsible for the maintenance of some of the green areas of the projects of Buenaventura and Casamar. Previously, Marin held several positions in Spain and the United States, such as director in Montenmedio Golf & Country Club (2008-2012), Golf Director Assistant and Head Golf Professional at The Peraleja Golf (2007-2008) and Head Golf Professional Assistant at World Tour Golf Links (2004-2006).
THE CASERO STORY
I started playing golf as a teenager and, after loving the game for a few years, I realized there was a business program in America for Professional Golf Management, so I decided to move all the way from Spain to South Carolina for college to follow my dream of having a career in the golf industry. It wasn’t an easy decision to leave everything behind but studying at Coastal Carolina University has been a great decision as they have an excellent golf program.
You wake up in the morning — what’s your driving passion?
My passion is providing my clients with a superb experience. Every morning, the entire team here prepares the course to have everything ready so that our members and guests can
enjoy our great facility and excellent service.
For those who have never been to Panama — what makes it a special to visit?
It’s a unique country where you can find a variety of ecosystems with stunning places all over. The climate is absolutely great all year long and that’s what makes it makes a great destination.
How many 18-hole golf facilities exist in Panama now?
Right now there are eight 18-hole golf courses and three 9-hole courses. You can find the courses throughout the country in 3 different regions; city, beach, and the mountain town of Boquete.
Total number of golfers in the country?
Right now there are almost 2,000 golfers, but since it is growing in popularity in Panama, the number is expected to rise.
How did the relationship start in getting Jack Nicklaus to design what would be the Buenaventura course?
Here at The Buenaventura we look for excellence so that is why we decided to go with Nicklaus Design as they are widely regarded as the world’s leading design firm. With a philosophy of working closely with clients, enhancing the natural environment, and creating courses that are both challenging and enjoyable for players of all levels, we knew Nicklaus Design would be the best fit.
Given the state of the market now — is there room for more golf to be developed or is the market in a solid position given the courses in the country now?
There is definitely more room and I think adding more public golf courses will help the growth of the game in Panamá and also in Latin America.
What’s the biggest challenge in attracting visitor to come to the country?
Panamá is not known as a tourist destination and neither as a golf destination compared to other countries in the region. This has changed within the past year and visitor numbers continue to grow as it is becoming known that the country has much more to offer apart from the main attraction, the Panama Canal.
The major golf organizations — USGA, R&A, PGA of America, PGA TOUR, LPGA — are all seeking ways to attract new players to the sport — especially Millennials, women and minorities. If you were advising them — what would you recommend be done?
I would recommend making the game more fun and quicker to play. These days, people are not willing to spend more than four hours on a golf course, so looking for other options such as playing 12 or 9 holes would be, in my opinion, a huge success.
If you can change one thing in golf by yourself – what would it be and why?
I would change the rules. There are so many to remember, so simplifying them for everyone would be beneficial since not every player has a referee around to help them play their round.
Best advice you ever received — what was it and who from?
I was told by my dad to find a career in something that I love, and that was golf.