Justin Saragueta - The Saticoy Club
Founded in 1921, The Saticoy Club is the first private club in Ventura County and second to none. The golf course was designed by noted architect William F. Bell and offers a spectacular, classic 18-hole Championship Golf Course. Highly regarded as one of the most respected golf courses in Southern California, the club offers an unparalleled golf experience. Quietly nestled in the hillsides of Somis, California; The Saticoy Club is considered one of the areas best kept golf secrets. The club has been host to many U.S.G.A. Championship Qualifiers and SCGA Amateur Championships.
In addition to a high caliber, championship golf course, the club offers its members and their guests a variety of amenities including fitness, swimming, social functions, concerts and exceptional dining using locally sourced produce.
The Saticoy Club is a privately owned club with the mission to provide the following; A preeminent golf course, one of the best conditioned and challenging in Southern California, yet suitable for all levels of ability. A warm and welcoming clubhouse, where members, their families and guests enjoy excellent food and drinks, reasonably priced and well presented, in a comfortable, relaxed and friendly setting. A picturesque haven where gentlemen and ladies, who have a mutual respect for the game of golf and can enjoy each other’s company.
How old were you when you got started in golf and what eventually pulled you into becoming a golf professional?
Like a lot of kids I played multiple sports growing up. I gravitated to baseball, bmx and dirt bike riding at a very young age. My father and his friends always golfed from time to time and one of his best friends during my childhood was Jon Echols our local Professional at Kings Country Club. Jon started giving me lessons when I was young, about 13 years old. I stilled played a lot of baseball but started golfing regularly with friends at local munis and Kings Country Club. My baseball career came to an end during my years at the University of the Pacific. That was when my golfing dreams started to manifest. I had always been drawn to the game and its’ traditions. Growing up Seve Ballesteros was a God at home as both my parents come from Spain. So the game was always on during the weekends.
How do you stay current with the latest developments in teaching methods?
Continually educating and growing yourself is something we all should do until the last day we are walking on earth. I am constantly reading books, blogs and articles. I am also fortunate to be a Titleist Staffer and have opportunities to head to the Titleist Performance Institute and hang out with the guys there learning about fittings and equipment. I have even spent time with Bob Vokey and his staff. When I was younger I had opportunities to work at Pebble Beach for Nike Golf and was around some brilliant golfing minds there that I still stay in touch with today. I always try to expand my base by meeting great professionals and students of the game. I will try to travel to education seminars periodically throughout the year as well.
What are 2 trends in golf that you’re excited about?
It’s no secret that the modern day athlete continues to get bigger, stronger and more flexible. We are seeing this across the board in most sports and golf is no different. Today’s tour sees players working out before and after tournament rounds. The PGA and LPGA athletes are also grinding on the mental approach to playing. We are seeing more well rounded players who are continually trying to push the limits of the mind, body and game. It is an exciting time in golf at the moment. With all the AJGA and collegiate offerings for golf tournaments these younger players are tournament tested at much younger ages than ever before. They now hit the big tours running and are fearless. The learning curve is much smaller than it used to be and it makes for a very exciting stage!
What sets you apart from other golf professionals?
My favorite role models or mentors growing up in the golf industry were the Professionals who could do it all. They could play and loved the game. They could teach a high caliber player to your more modest higher handicap. They ran the golf operation effortless mentoring and managing strong teams that bonded together. They created the right culture amongst staff and membership alike. I try to emulate my style around those people that ran their clubs that way. I never wanted to pigeon hole myself so I learned all facets of the operation to playing, teaching and even caddying from time to time. I love being around the game and try to exude those emotions to my staff, membership and guests alike.
Do you actively play competitive golf? Any recent bragworthy performances you’d like to share?
I do still actively play competitive golf. Most of my tournaments are participating in Southern CA Section events or Chapter events. In 2018 I was fortunate enough to play in a Web.com event- The Ellie Mae Classic. Although I don’t have the time to play and practice as I did in my twenties I still love competing and getting together with the guys. You never know in golf which makes it such a special game! Sometimes I catch fire and find the fountain of youth and other times the game humbles me and let’s me know how hard it actually is. Either way, good or bad, I always learn something about myself during a tournament round and those lessons stick with me for my life.
Any advice for someone considering pursuing a career as a golf teaching professional?
For anyone trying to become a teaching Professional or Head Professional at a course I would say surround yourself with the smartest hardest working people you can find in your area or in the industry. Climb the ladder and be humble. Learn and soak up as much as you can. Find mentors that are willing to help you and point you in the right direction. Push you comfort levels and be willing to make mistakes along the way. Always pay attention to those that have succeeded, learn from them and then make it your own. Most importantly always have fun along the way and enjoy the journey! It’s magnetic and people will pick up on the fact that you are enjoying what you are doing. As they say, the cream always rises to the top. Put your time in and the hard work will eventually pay off! Being able to wake up everyday loving what you get to do for your career is a very big blessing.