Golf coach Rick Shiels from Bolton is helping more than a million people develop their game
PUBLISHED: 00:00 25 September 2020
His Youtube channel has over 300 million views
More than million people around the world are improving their golf by watching Rick Shiels on YouTube – but his wife isn’t one of them.
The couple’s eldest daughter, six-year-old Ivy, is keen to follow in her dad’s footsteps to the first tee, but her mum Claire has little or no interest in the sport.
‘The only one of my videos my wife has watched was the one with Robbie Williams,’ Rick said. ‘Maybe I need to get him along more often.’
Ivy has a headstart on her dad – he didn’t pick up a club until he was 11. ‘I haven’t pushed it on Ivy, but she’s so used to there being clubs around the house and seeing me play and she says she wants to be professional golfer.
‘I was 11 when I first started playing, at Hart Common Golf Club in Westhoughton. My mum had been for a golf lesson at a driving range and told me to entertain myself there for an hour,’ he said. ‘I’d never really thought about golf before – I played team sports and was ok at them, but I found I really liked the responsibility that golf gave you. If you played a good shot, it was all down to you. If you played a bad shot it was up to you to put it right.’
His mum went on to become Lady Captain at Hart Common Golf Club in Westhoughton where Rick was also working hard to improve his game.
‘When I became a member of the club I realised I was pretty good and I worked hard to improve. When it came to the time when decisions needed to be made about my future, I wanted to be involved in golf, as a player or as a coach.
‘I did a diploma in golf studies at Myerscough College and although I thought I was a pretty good player, I found that out of about 30 on the course, I wasn’t in the top ten, so maybe playing wasn’t where I should be looking.’
After his studies, he worked as a coach at Mere Golf and Country Club in Cheshire and then at Trafford Golf Centre where in order to find some new clientele he made his first video.
‘I’ve always liked social media and I thought it could be a way of bringing people in from a wider area,’ he said. ‘I had help making the videos at first, but then I taught myself the basics of filming and editing. The first time someone rang me to book a lesson because they’d seen one of my videos was amazing – they came down from Newcastle and I realised the potential there was.
‘Because of the videos I became one of the busiest golf coaches in the world. I was booked up for about seven weeks in advance and there were people flying in from Europe and the States to have lessons.’
He’s now uploaded more than 2,000 videos, helping golfers of all ages and abilities to improve every aspect of their game and earlier this year Rick’s YouTube channel notched up its millionth subscriber.
‘Having so many subscribers is incredible and a bit daunting if I stop to think about it, but I love thinking of ideas and making the videos and even now, I still get excited about releasing a video,’ added Rick, who now employs three members of staff to help create the videos.
‘The content of my videos has developed over the years. I try to make them enjoyable so non-golfers will watch them as well and realise golf isn’t super-stuffy and can be good fun. I’ve done truthful reviews of kit and products and things like having Robbie Williams there or interviewing the world’s tallest golfer – he was 7ft 7½ inches.’
To see Rick’s coaching videos, go to his YouTube channel, Rick Shiels Golf.