Moving to a new country can be a daunting experience and one which needs to be carefully considered. This month, The PGA caught up with Torie Blakemore, who has recently made the move from Australia to China, to get his initial thoughts about living and working in one of the worlds’ fastest growing cities, Shenzhen.
Tell us about your career as a PGA Member…
Leaving Australia in 2002 at a young age to work in the UK was a nervous, exciting and game changing decision back then. In my first week at PGA training, I met now life long friend and South Region specialist PGA Director of Golf, Lewis Atkinson. Today, 16 years later, I still live for that excitement of starting new journeys, making life long friends and developing golfers across the globe. Lewis advised me of the amazing opportunity we have as PGA professionals. To teach and inspire golfers of all abilities across the globe.
What made you decide to move to China and how did you find out about the position?
After spending the past five years in the UK working for various large proprietary owned venues, I witnessed a shift in the financial treatment and management of PGA Professionals. My decision to leave the country was based mainly on this, along with the great financial opportunities available in the far east.
How long did it take to complete the move and how was that process?
The process started through APAC Golf Recruiting, which have a great knowledge of the region. It took around three months to arrive in Shenzhen but the communication was great throughout.
What were your first impressions of China?
I had played in China on tour before and also worked for Reignwood Group through this time. This region of China is incredibly tropical averaging, 32-38 degrees most days. As soon as you step off that plane, the impression is raw heat.
How have you settled in and what has helped you?
We have a group of six western professionals working here at Palm Springs International. The guys have been great welcoming and advising on the correct way to become successful. Finding the right translator is critical for communication with potential clients, and also teaching them.
What are the main differences between your role in Australia and in China?
Being based in Australia for the past 9 months is very different from what I have experienced here so far in China. Australia is probably one of the most laid back countries I have lived in whereas the pace of everything here in China seems much faster. The PGA members are great and love to have a laugh. In China you are here and have to work hard to achieve success. However, the earning potential and rewards are far higher here than in Australia or the UK.
What advice would you give to other PGA Members who are looking to make a similar move?
At 36 years old I’ve worked for a number of different golf venues. If you’re considering the move be prepared for a shock to the system. No doubt some will find it easier than others to settle in to life here. There are certain things I miss (Sunday roasts being one of them!) but there are also a lot of positives about working here too.