What attracted you to work in the US? When did you first move abroad? How did your current role come about? How long have you been there now?
I first moved abroad in 2007, after I completed my PGA Training under Denis Pugh at The Wisley. Teaching was always my passion and I wanted to gain more international experience. An opportunity came up to move to Dubai, so I jumped at the chance. I made some great connections in Dubai, most importantly with Claude Harmon III, who asked me to join the team at Butch Harmon School of Golf. During my training at the headquarters in Las Vegas I met Matt Kilgariff, who eventually became Director of Player Development at The Olympic Club. We stayed in touch and in the summer of 2017 Matt asked me to move to San Francisco.
Please give some details regarding the Visa process for working in the US. If someone is thinking about moving to the US in five years, what should they be preparing?
The visa process can be intimidating, however if you have the experience and can meet the criteria I would strongly recommend hiring a lawyer and going through the process. If someone is interested in moving here then they would need to prove they are exceptional in their field, APAL can help, experience working with distinguished names, any media work – basically keep a record of everything you do and achieve.
Tell us a little about the Olympic Club’s history and its plans for the future?
The Olympic Club was founded in 1860 and is one of the oldest athletic clubs in America. We have a downtown clubhouse and our lakeside facility which has 45 holes of golf. The club is entrenched in history, previously hosting five US Opens and three US Amateurs. We have an exciting few years ahead also with the 2021 US Women’s Open, 2015 US Amateur, 2028 US PGA Championship and 2032 Ryder Cup all scheduled.
What does a typical working day for you involve? What type of clients are you working with?
We have a very large and diverse membership of over 10,500. I work with players ranging from 8 to 80. I oversee all the instruction programmes and work with a real mix of players, from beginners to local mini tour players.
How have you settled into living in the US?
Living in the US requires a lot of patience, with the visa process and all the formalities of the move also. However I have to say that I feel extremely grateful to live here and of all the places I have lived this is one that I can happily call home. There are some many great things to do here, you can be on the beach one moment and skiing a few hours later, that’s the beauty of California.
How have you found working with the local PGA Professionals both at the club and in the local area?
The team at Olympic is great. We are seeing the business grow each year and we are always striving to provide the best member experience possible. I have been here two years now and have met many of the local professionals and they are all very welcoming. Whenever we go to play other courses we get very well taken care of and there are also lots of training opportunities in the region.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
In five years I will still be here, watching the US Amateur!
What advice would you give to other PGA Professionals who may be interested in working overseas/in the US?
We are very lucky as we a profession that enables us to travel and see so much of the world. My advice would be to see as much as possible, good and also bad, because one day you will find yourself in a place that you really feel content and know that all the effort was worth it.