I take pride in living each moment of my life, whether it be work, play or family, intensely and to the fullest. My European vacation was an amazing opportunity to combine all of these things. From the first moments of the planning stages, which I enjoyed immensely because it allowed me to talk with my wife, Linda, about what we wanted to see, do and learn while in Europe, I planned on maximizing every moment of this trip.
This is why I planned to not only focus on the culture and enjoyment that Italy and Spain offer but also visit several golf courses and the superintendents that managed them. This was a unique chance to make new relationships and gain insight through sharing experiences.
Our trip was a whirlwind, over two weeks we visited more than 15 different locations throughout Spain and Italy and I visited 6 golf courses in Spain and 1 course in Italy.
Being bilingual served me well during my visit. Having the ability to communicate with the superintendents in their own language established an instant bond that allowed us to share experiences more in depth than could have happened if a language barrier had existed. The courses in Europe face many of the same issues that superintendents in the US face daily but their resources are much more limited. They also have some very unique issues because of the differences in rules and regulations within the European Union. At the same time, these regulations have brought about some innovative initiatives in regards to environmental stewardship that could benefit all golf courses. I was struck by the synergy that is right on the cusp of occurring and look forward to forging ahead with it.
In Spain we found many cultural coincidences due to 300 years of common history between the Spanish and Mexican cultures. There are many similarities in things like food, the way we express ourselves, respect for values such as family, work, how to have fun, and ways to socialize between Spain and the Mexican culture.
Italy is a beautiful country full of art and culture with monuments, churches, landscapes and beautiful agriculture. All small towns have a castle and a story to tell especially in Tuscany and Veneto. It seems that in Italy the art in the blood is brought by all architects, designers, and artists from past and present generations.
Here I found the roots of my family which was very exciting, combined with mixed feelings to see where they were born. They were christened and lived in a valley amidst the Dolomite mountains. Being able to retrace where they ate, were engaged, imagine the union of the family and the reasons that led them to immigrate to “the promised land in Mexico” was an experience that filled me with appreciation and pride.
This European vacation left me with invaluable learning in so many areas; art, culture and customs, Golf (golfers, industry, fields), ways to move inside and outside the cities without being too expensive, sharing experiences with such a rich diversity of people, and most important, passing an excellent and memorable time with my wife sharing every second and making the most of what we were living.