After a long professional career as an agricultural engineer, José Luis Calle Martín is has been introduced as the new ‘head greenkeeper’ of the popular Alicante Golf course at Lo Romero.

A native of Cadiz Martín settled in the Region of Murcia three decades ago. Having studied in Badajoz as an agricultural engineer, he embarked on an Erasmus scholarship 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. It was a college that he liked it so much that he asked the school’s head if he could stay on through a work experience program.

His 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, as he fondly remembered his six-year journey abroad.

He still clearly remembers the 250 CVs he sent out in 1996. “Two replied to tell me that they didn’t need anyone like me at that time”. And yet he still admits today, “I was thrilled to hear back from them”.

It was through a friend that he heard about a post 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 courses and a pitch and putt at the Murcian resort -one of the most internationally acclaimed courses in the world – which kept him busy until December 19, 2023.

“It was an incredible adventure these 28 years of continuous learning, rebuilding, competitions… and pandemic included,” he says, but now “I need a change of scenery”.

Excited about his new destination, he says of Lo Romero that “it’s a mature course. I am also a mature man”; so we are both are on the same page. And to the question of what a course like this will offer him, he answers: “A unique and challenging work experience”.

For the time being, he has not made any changes. “They will come. But the ones I make will be subtle, they won’t be easy to see,” he says. “It’s about the field evolving and me with it – along with the team – and it will seem like I won’t have changed anything.”

José Luis Calle belongs to the Spanish Association of Greenkeepers. 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 to, be aware of their problems and and be able to cooperate with local farmers”.