100% trust: Female trio run show at Aravell

Aravell female leaders

Tucked away in a remote pocket of northern Spain near Andorra is Aravell Golf Club – but there’s nothing shy and retiring about this forward-thinking course.

With Beatriz Cantero as general manager since January 2020, Lucía Couso the assistant manager and Marta Pujades their head greenkeeper, Aravell are bucking a long-standing trend.

Women make up less than 10% of general managers in United States golf clubs, only 1.5% of superintendents and the ASGCA (American Society of Golf Course Architects) has only ever had four female members.

Yet evidence from global business studies is clear: companies with a diverse leadership achieve greater profitability.

Putting the numbers first at Aravell, Cantero told Syngenta the club will close 2021 with a 60% improvement in their results compared to 2020 and 2019.

“We have doubled our income in 2021 compared to 2020, which is good news,” said Cantero, who added before her arrival at the club there were only three female employees in the golf business section – the majority working in the restaurant sector.

“We are on the path to achieve the company goals by 2023 if we keep this effort up.”

Couso joined amid the pandemic earlier in 2021, having previously worked as a General Sporting Director for three years at another golf club.

“From the very beginning I have noticed that the changes we have implemented have been extremely productive,” she told Syngenta.

“We get along great,” she said, speaking of the respect and admiration among her new colleagues.

“That is the perfect foundation for us to work together and it turns our daily work into a challenge with new opportunities in this job, pushing the limits in the same direction, for the company’s sake.”

Pujades has been in the industry nearly 20 years and loves working with others and also managing people.

“Being a team and trying to get them involved in how we maintain the course is a sum of grains of sand – all of them have their value,” she told Syngenta.

“I try to treat them as I would like to be treated, with respect and I try to motivate them with an optimistic outlook – I involve them in all the results and I say thank you for a good job!” 

Pujades says the industry was “absolutely” male-dominated when she started out and still is, but that growing numbers of female greenkeepers is proving it can be a career for women.

Cantero added it was the trio’s collaborative, “100% trust” dynamic that has propelled Aravell in testing times after Covid shut down much of the world at the start of the decade.

“What I love about working with Lucía and Marta is that they are always willing to listen to others’ proposals. They communicate perfectly with other members of the team.

“Aravell’s team have now started to boost communication and that was something that this company really needed, to have its own voice and believe in ‘Yes, we can make this golf club work out’.

“The three of us are learning to learn every day in our job positions.”

Couso works more closely with the club members and through trying to grow the female side she hopes for a knock-on effect for male members too.

“From experience, I can say that the higher the number of female members means the higher the number of male players. 

“This clearly increases male membership and it contributes to the atmosphere among all.”