Santiago came across golf by chance when the soccer team he defended – playing as a goalkeeper – went to a club to participate in a tournament in Colombia (his native country). He strangely looked at the players practicing and thought this must be easy. It only took him three ‘practice’ swings to realize how complex it was to hit the ball. From that day on, he began to love this sport.
After receiving a scholarship and having to return for personal reasons to Colombia, Santiago arrived in Panama. Thirteen years have passed since then, and he is happy. It has been a long road through different clubs until finally, last month, he ended up in Buenaventura.
“Ten years ago, I realized that I was not only passionate about golf as a game, but I also really enjoyed teaching it to someone and having them enjoy it,” said Velásquez before adding. “My training began by taking various courses with the PGA of Europe in Costa Rica, online courses, and others that certified me as an instructor.”
One of his primary responsibilities will be to grow the golf community, and he knows the level that exists and that Buenaventura’s infrastructure is unique. “Panama is betting that golf grows exponentially from the children and youth side, sowing seeds so that we have more golfers and better golfers daily. Today, our academy has 23 children enrolled who receive classes on Mondays and Wednesdays,” he commented.
Adults will also have options, especially those wanting to start to play, from clinics to private classes.
“I think the most important thing is to welcome people with a smile so they can enjoy a pleasant moment; sharing all my knowledge with them depending on their level, without overwhelming them, so that they carry out an appropriate process and continue to fall in love with the sport,” she stressed.
After our conversation, Santiago returns to the place that makes him happiest: the golf course. He wants to share his years of experience with the community and future new players there.