Carmel Mountain Ranch head pro: “It’s all about the people.”

We recently caught up with Brandon Delgado, the head pro at Carmel Mountain Ranch, to get his thoughts on the golf business, the issues facing the industry, and what gets him out of bed in the morning.

How did you first get started in the golf business?

“I moved to San Diego from San Jose about 11 years to attend the Golf Academy of America in Carlsbad. And I’ve been in the business ever since, first working at Arrowood, then Pelican Hill for over seven years. Then I moved to Encinitas Ranch before I came to Carmel Mountain Ranch in 2014. I actually didn’t start playing golf until my senior year in high school, but once I did I fell in love with the game and eventually fell in love with San Diego.”

What lessons have you learned along the way?

“People are the most important thing about this game, whether it’s the customer, the staff, management. It’s all about the people and learning to work together and give the best service possible. I have a background in the service industry so golf seemed like a natural fit for me.”

What are some of the biggest issues facing the game today?

“Respecting people’s time. There’s so much else pulling at people, whether it’s family, work or other activities. Pace of play is definitely the top focus for us right now, making sure our customers can play a round in enough time so they can schedule their day around golf, not the other way around. We’re rolling out an incentive program next month where we are going to reward people for finishing their round in 4 1/2 hours or less. We’re also trying to educate golfers about playing ready golf and how slow play affects others.”

With its new turf reduction program, Carmel Mountain Ranch is an example of what the future of golf could be in San Diego. What’s it like being at the forefront of this movement?

“It’s really exciting. We reduced our turf area by 40 percent and it’s really allowed us to focus on the turf we do we have. And the grass we do have and the overall condition of the course have improved so much as a result. People love it. Some great feedback I actually got today was from a woman who liked that we removed the red tees. Now we have 5 sets of tees and it gives golfers an opportunity to choose tees that suit their skill level as opposed to their gender.”

Any memorable golf stories to share?

“I guess I’m numb to it because it happens every day. What I really enjoy seeing is golfers’ wardrobes. Some are wild, crazy pants, awesome colors, Ian Poulter-inspired stuff. The customers are so proud of it. I think it’s great and it always makes me laugh.”

Marc Figueroa is a freelance writer who has been covering golf in San Diego for more than 20 years.