Get to know Mr. Robbert Verboon

I had the pleasure to interview our outgoing President, Mr. Robbert Verboon, on the 3rd October 2013, on the terrace of the Club. He shared some of his experiences with us

1. Robbert, as outgoing President of Marbella Golf Country Club, can you please describe what you feel you have achieved over your 5 years?

I’ve managed to influence and help change the management team of the club in these past 5 years. Most importantly the restaurant and the events were not run in the best way in the beginning of this 5 year period. I was lucky enough to meet with the Assistant of the Owner of our Club, who came to Spain, and through him to convince the Owner of the Club that some changes were necessary. I think at the moment we have the best Management Team that the Club has had in the past 25 years. All is running smoothly. The appointment of Mr. Mike Munden as the General Manager of the Club was a real wise decision made by The Owner of the Club and a very lucky moment in my presidency as after that all the problems we had in the past have been resolved.

2. What was your best shot or score?

My best score was 84 shots and I made it about 10 years ago, when I was still young. And in that score there was a hole in one.

3. Do you have a favorite story or anecdote that you would like to share with other members and possible future members of the Club?

I think the best story was how the Club managed to get the concrete structure demolished. The first steps were done when I was not the President yet and I was only in the Members’ Committee. We had the first meeting with the former Mayor Mr. Jesús Gil and he said he’d demolish the building if we paid him a couple of hundred thousand. Of course we denied and then approached twice the next Mayoress who didn’t accept to bring the building down either. Only after the New General Plan was approved and Marbella Golf lands were designated to be a golf course, it was proved that the structure was illegal and had to be brought down. It took us more than 10 years to manage to get the permissions. I’ve been a member of this club since there were only 4 holes ready (14, 15, 16 and 17) and all the new members that have joined the club since then, have been waiting for this building to be demolished since they joined.

4. Do you have a favorite golf hole or area of the golf course?

My favorite area of the golf course is number 2, 3 and 4. It’s away from everything, beautiful and quiet. Because of the building of the toll way, the original design of the first holes had to be modified and I think it was at that time a very wise decision to change those holes to how they look like today. Mr. Cabell Robinson did it according to various original Robert Trent Jones Sr. hole plans made for the golf course.

5. Do you have any thoughts of our incoming President, Mr. John McNamara?

I think John will be a “members’ President”. He is very sociable unlike me sometimes. I tend to keep a certain distance with staff and other members. Three years ago already I asked John if he wanted to be the next President and he asked me to continue being President until the end of my five years. I think he will be a very good President.

6. Finally, how do you feel about stepping down as a President and what are your plans for the future?

I feel it’s time I retire. I have been on and off for 14 years in the committee. When I look at the Club right now, I am very happy I have been the President of this Club. All departments are working very well now. I wrote the Rules of the Club myself and I think that is reason enough that I should stick to the Rule of the presidency to be a 5 year period only. I am happy that John will take over and it’s about time that I can just sit on the terrace like an “old Muppet”.

Another nice story Robbert shared with us was from the time the golf course was being built in the 80’s:

At a certain moment when the course was being built, at 7 o’clock in the morning I told my wife, Miny, that I needed to go to the club as I had a feeling that something was going wrong. When I arrived to the course, by hole number 13, Rimesa employees were taking away the irrigation pumps from the pump house. I blocked the road with my own car and asked the employees to call their boss. He explained that they were taking the pumps away as he was owed a lot of money by the club. I said him that he could not take the pumps away as the lack of water would immediately kill the green. As Miny noticed it was taking me more than expected to come back home, she called another life member of the club, our neighbor, Mr. Louis Wesseling, and he arrived to help me as he speaks fluent Spanish and is a lawyer. Between the two of us we managed to convince Mr. Molero that he should only take 1 of the 2 pumps away so that we at least could continue irrigating the greens. This was a real “Wild West” during those years.

Satu Kaariainen
16th October 2013