The ‘addictive’ thing Rick Shiels misses most from coaching players full-time

Before he became a social media star with nearly two million subscribers on YouTube, Englishman Rick Shiels was an instructor like many others, grinding away on the driving range giving lessons.

It was a time in his life that he says he loved, and on this week’s episode of Off Course with Claude Harmon, Shiels described the thing he misses the most from his former long days on the lesson tee.

“I was 100 percent in my element,” Shiels said of his early days as an instructor. “I honestly loved it. Every hour, or every two hours, I’ve got a new client coming through the door, a new challenge, a new puzzle to try and fix, a new way of communicating with the client, a new way of being able get my message across, get them to improve and enjoy it. And I loved that.

Rick Shiels smiles
The surprising moment Rick Shiels realized the magnitude of his success
By: Jessica Marksbury

“It was draining,” he continued. “And I think that’s kind of where it became a little bit more of a challenge, certainly doing 60 hours per week at maximum personality, let’s say.”

Shiels compared his teaching bay to his theater, where he felt a responsibility to not only help his student, but to make the lesson enjoyable, entertaining and memorable.

“My biggest reward is that eureka moment, that moment of like, boom, they fixed it, they’ve hit it how they’ve wanted to hit it. You’ve helped with that. You’ve been able to kind of influence that to a degree. And that feedback was so addictive.”

As he started coaching less, Shiels said he found that he really missed being a part of that eurkea moment — but he discovered a way to experience it.

“Now what I do,” he said, “I do it daily to be honest with you, to get that kind of fix — and I do really see it as almost like a drug — is that I’ll go on now on my comments on my YouTube videos — and I’ve got a list of only coaching videos — and I’ll just put newest first, and literally there’ll be a hundred comments every day that are those Eureka moments, and it’s lovely. So if I ever need that kind of fix, I’ve got an endless supply.

“That’s my injection of like, yes,” Shiels concluded. “As a golf coach, I still need that fix. I still do love helping people, making it sound simple, making it easy to understand.”

For more from Shiels, including the moment he realized the magnitude of his success, and the big opportunity he thinks we’re missing to grow the game, check out the full interview below.

Jessica Marksbury
Golf.com

As a four-year member of Columbia’s inaugural class of female varsity golfers, Jessica can out-birdie everyone on the masthead. She can out-hustle them in the office, too, where she’s primarily responsible for producing both print and online features, and overseeing major special projects, such as GOLF’s inaugural Style Is­sue, which debuted in February 2018. Her origi­nal interview series, “A Round With,” debuted in November of 2015, and appeared in both in the magazine and in video form on GOLF.com.