Lo Romero is a mature course; I am also a mature professional

The agricultural engineer José Luis Calle Martín is from the beginning of 2024, the new ‘head greenkepper’ (superintendent) of the Alicante course.

A long professional career and an excellent experience precedes this Cadiz native settled in the Region of Murcia since he found a job in this land and fell in love with a ‘murcianica’ -María José, with whom he has five children-, about three decades ago. Of the others, of which an agronomist dedicated to golf courses also lives as his ‘children’, four that have lasted 28 years. But this 2024 is his first ‘paternity’. Because from this year he is linked to the 18 holes of Lo Romero Golf, Pilar de la Horadada.

José Luis Calle Martín (Cádiz, 1972) studied in Badajoz to train as an agricultural engineer. Passionate about his recent degree, he decided with an Erasmus scholarship to continue his training in Scotland; Lancashire College of Agriculture was his first destination. Lancashire College of Agriculture was his first destination, an agricultural training school with various specialties. He liked it so much that he asked the school’s director to stay on with the school through a work experience program. Next destination: East Sussex National Golf & Country Club in London, then he made the leap across the Atlantic – on a scholarship from Ohio State University – and continued his internship at Fort Lauderdale Country Club. Two final years at Loch Lamond Golf Club, again in Scotland, were enough to decide that “I wanted to return to Spain,” says José Luis Calle, recalling a six-year journey abroad.

He still remembers clearly in his mind the 250 CVs he sent out in 1996. “Two replied to tell me that they didn’t need a profile like mine at that time”. And yet he still admits today, “I was thrilled to hear back from them”. It was through a friend that he found out that they were looking for someone like him at La Manga Club Resort & Country Club (Los Belones – Cartagena). He called, they interviewed him and “I started working on December 1, 1996”. Three 18-hole rounds and a pitch and putt at the Murcian resort -one of the most internationally acclaimed resorts- have kept him busy until December 19, 2023.

A change of scenery

Calle decides this year to make “a change of scenery”. “It’s been an incredible adventure these 28 years of continuous learning, rebuilding, competitions… and pandemic included,” he says, but now I have the opportunity to respond to a definitive bet.

Excited about his new destination, he says of Lo Romero that “it’s a mature field. I am also a mature man”; so both are on the same page. And to the question of what a course like this will offer him, he answers: “A unique and good work experience”. For the time being, he has not made any changes. “They will come. And the ones I make won’t be easy to see,” he mentions. “It’s about the field evolving and me with it – along with the team – and it will seem like I don’t change anything.” He is also aware that he is joining a hard-working, very attractive facility, with many projects, including a storm water catchment reservoir in which “lakes are currently being built to make use of rainwater. And although it seems that they have started with me, this space was already very mature for the property”. Again, maturity. The one he will imprint on certain things. “There will be brushstrokes, some structural changes (…) and a new clubhouse already planned. I will participate in all of this and I will experience it with the rest of Lo Romero’s workers”. By the way, he defines the Alicante course as “a course within the old ones, where the urban development embraces the design without interfering with it. It is like an island of nature. And although everyone points to the 18th hole as the emblematic of the Alicante course, his eyes have fallen on the 12th hole. A “small and appealing par three, which has a special taste”, he confesses. Twelve is also the number of workers he has to carry out the day-to-day running of Lo Romero, but “we will try to expand a little more, always as a team”.

José Luis Calle belongs to the Spanish Association of Greenkeepers; “I have been part of its beginnings”, he says remembering the times in which he was linked to its board of directors, and he openly expresses his relevance, because “it is an important bastion for us”. He is also a member of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) and an associate of the College of Agricultural Engineers of the Region of Murcia “because golf courses and golf are in very similar situations; pests, water problems (…), so it is good to be close and up to date with the farmers’ problems”.

Torneos 2024