RANCHO SANTA FE — Meet Al Castro, the new general manager of the Rancho Santa Fe Golf Club, the unanimous choice of the selection committee.
Castro came to Rancho Santa Fe from The Vintage in Indian Wells, a private gated country club where he worked for 14 years.
“It has been in existence for 30 years,” he said. “By coincidence, we shared a lot of members with the Rancho Santa Fe club.”
Castro was found by an executive recruiter hired by the Association who brought them numerous candidates.
“At first I wasn’t sure I was interested, but when they said it was Rancho Santa Fe, I told the recruiter to look into it,” he said.
The decision to leave his longtime job in the desert was hard.
“It was probably the most difficult decision of my professional career, a little bitter-sweet after being there for so long, but the opportunity to come to such a great club made the decision easier,” he said. “It was the right opportunity at the right time.”
Since 1998 he had worked at the Vintage Club, first as director of food and beverage before being promoted to the position of assistant general manager where he was responsible for all club house operations.
Before that he worked at the Ritz Carlton in Rancho Mirage where he was responsible for food and beverage.
Prior to that he worked at clubs and hotels where he learned his business. In addition, he is a certified club manager and a Level II certified Sommelier by the Court of Master Sommeliers.
“I actually got into the golf side of the business by working in hotels and restaurants through the early years of my career,” he said.
He was born in El Paso, Texas, the eldest of three brothers. His family moved to Orange County while he was in elementary school.
He loved baseball but believed he didn’t have the talent to compete in high school.
Working at private clubs has become his passion, he said.
He said he loves the game of golf, but like other executives, wishes he had more time to play.
As for future plans for the club, he has some ideas.
“There is so much potential to do things with food and service and paying attention to detail to bring attention to them, to enhance the overall club experience,” he said. “I am thrilled to be here at the Ranch.”
Castro has been married to wife Carey for almost 32 years. She is a part time Zumba instructor. They have two grown sons ages 27 and 28.
They will make their home in Carlsbad.