GOLF

Jesús García Sanjuán sells golf in St. Andrews

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Life takes many turns. Tell it to Jesús García Sanjuán (Zaragoza, 1971), a football globetrotter who, at 50, is now dedicated to bringing amateur golfers to play on Scotland’s most iconic courses through his company, Golf Scotland.

But before we tell that story, let’s backtrack. Sanjuán was a midfielder for Zaragoza in the 1990s. That of the 1995 Cup Winners’ Cup. He came from the youth academy and participated in the team’s most memorable title.

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That of Nayim’s great goal, which he did not see live due to a dispute with the coach, Víctor Fernández, over his replacement. He came on in the 68th minute as a substitute for Higuera and the coach decided to replace him with Geli six minutes from the end of extra time.

It logically did not sit well with him. “I was going to the bench calling the whole coach and suddenly I saw my teammates go crazy. Nayim had scored,” he says at St. Andrews, the cathedral of golf which is currently hosting the 150th edition of the British Open.

Jesus García Sanjuán, history

Three years later, he left for Villarreal. At that time he was already playing golf, but not much because in Zaragoza it was “strictly forbidden”. In Castellón, he shared matches “almost every Tuesday” with the Spaniard-Danish Thomas Christiansen “at the La Coma pitch”.

There he met Sergio García, at the time a boy who idolized him and whom he took to yellow submarine training. “He always wanted to play with us. He hit the ball like a standout, but you couldn’t imagine he was going to go that far,” says Sanjuán.

After Villarreal, a trip to Cordoba and from there to Scotland. “I found myself without a team after my last season in Cordoba. About to start the season, Bahía called me, who represented me, to come with a small group of seven or eight Spaniards in a team that Steve Archibald was going to buy.

He didn’t accomplish what he was supposed to accomplish and disappeared. Scottish Premier teams have signed us. I went to Kilmarnock. I was absolutely mature. He had spent a horrible year in Cordoba to assess the possibility of not continuing to play, ”he explains.

In New Caledonia, the opposite of Zaragoza: it was normal for the teammates and the coach to play golf. “They encouraged us. I arrived with a handicap of 20 and they were all three, five… Now I have six”, he assures.

Little by little, Sanjuán lost his passion for football: “I started not enjoying it anymore, having mini-injuries: a little break, an overload… My head was gone. Sometimes he removed me from the team. He told the coach that I had a stomach ache because he didn’t want to play.

Or the typical thing that the coach looks on the bench to see who’s ready to come out and I hid.” It was then that he began to forge his life outside of football. “I took advantage of my name to know many lands. , to start putting my head in.

I retired in 2003 and already had my first clients. So there were no cell phones or anything. With a website and a phone that my mother used, we worked. The first year I made four groups, the second twelve, then about twenty…

And you say ‘Holy shit, this can work’”. Sanjuán is currently “the only authorized supplier in Spain of St. Andrews”. There he is a member of the New Golf Club, which has a handsome seat overlooking the fairway shared by holes 1 and 18 of the sport’s cathedral.

You have virtually carte blanche to play the Old Course. The Open doesn’t normally run, but being on this course and the 150th edition has caused a flood of requests to play in the area, which is also home to other gems such as Turnberry, Royal Troon…

After the pandemic shutdown, which was hard (“for seven months, no one called me”), there was a significant recovery in activity: “This year, we will probably have around 500 customers in total, but because I am doped, I have all the delays of the two previous years”.

He also had to widen the range of options to Ireland and England ‘because people are asking you to’. But outings in these territories are more rare because of the means at his disposal and the personalized attention he likes to provide.

No one has the gift of ubiquity. “As we usually say in Scotland as a joke, my name is Jesus but not God”, jokes a guy who has found another way to continue to enjoy the ball, even if it is smaller and we have it strikes with a stick instead of the feet. .

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