Alex Elliott’s passion and knowledge of golf has seen him create a thriving community on YouTube and Instagram. However, not only does Alex’s online content help golfers improve their game, but he’s also an avid coach and can be found teaching at Mottram Hall Golf Club in Cheshire.
We caught up with PGA Pro and YouTuber Alex to chat about his path into the sport, caddying on the European Tour, coaching, and social media.
When did you start playing golf?
I think I was about three or four years old. My dad took me to junior lessons at Bramhall Golf Club, just south of Manchester. Like many youngsters, I played all sports up until the age of around 10 or 11 – I was into cricket, football, and a bit of rugby – but then, I decided I wanted to take golf a little bit more seriously. I joined the junior section at Bramhall and played all my junior golf there.
What were your ambitions at that stage?
When I got to the age of 16-17, I knew I wanted to play golf full time. I dreamt of being a young pro on the European Tour, winning a Major and pulling on the famous Green Jacket.
I wanted to develop quickly as a golfer, so I went to Portugal to work for golf clubs and use their facilities.
That’s where I met Andrew Murray. For those who don’t know, Murray was a European Tour regular up until the mid-nineties, and like me, he’s also from the North West.
From that moment, everything changed.
Your career went in a different direction, though, right?
Yes. I started caddying for Andrew’s son, Tom.
Initially, this was to gain experience and watch him play. We did Tour School, got to the Final Stage, and Tom got his European Tour card. However, six or seven weeks later, I found myself in the locker room with him at Leopard Creek in South Africa and could see Sergio Garcia’s locker next to me.
I was thinking, ‘what’s happening here?’
It really was a baptism of fire, but I learnt a lot.
Did you get the urge to try and make it on Tour as a pro yourself?
Looking back now, I learnt more through my experience with Tom than I realised.
I’d say that I learnt how to play golf by caddying for him and watching the pros on Tour, instead of just going out and swinging the club.
We won a Challenge Tour event, but unfortunately, we didn’t manage to keep our card. However, the whole experience of caddying for three-and-a-half years and observing top coaches like Pete Cowen and Jamie Gough helped me on the path to where I am now – teaching.
So, your caddying days are behind you?
I learned so much. It was fantastic. However, the one thing I didn’t like so much was being away for 48 weeks of the year. It can be great, but I also wanted something stable, which is why I did my PGA qualifications. These took three years, and after that, I was a qualified PGA pro. It might not have been the route that I thought I’d take when I was 16 years old, but it’s turned out well in the end.
How did the YouTubing and social media come about?
The YouTubing and social media came about via my girlfriend, to be perfectly honest. It was her that first said, “You’ve got to be doing that – it’ll help you get lessons” and so on. I’d say, ‘No, that’s not me, I’m not doing that!’
But, after a lot of persuasion, I did it. I shot my first video about six years ago, and it took about six hours to put together! It was great, though, and I just wished I’d done it sooner.
Now, my YouTube channel, AlexElliottGolf, has nearly 125,000 subscribers (to date).
What sort of content can viewers expect from your YouTube channel?
There are countless tips on every aspect of the game for golfers of all abilities. I get a real buzz out of helping people play better golf. I’ve had chats with experts like Karl Morris, too.
Karl has been involved with Major winners and provides all kinds of insight, which, as well as helping you play better golf, also provides light entertainment – something we all need at the moment (especially if we can’t get out and play!)
You’re clearly passionate about presenting – tell us more…
I absolutely love it.
Instagram came first. At first, I’d post fun stuff when I was on Tour caddying – pictures of venues, locker rooms, and behind the scenes-type content. I enjoyed blogging when I was on the road, too, and I started building a following.
That’s when I decided to move onto YouTube. It’s not the easiest thing to do in the world; in fact, it’s quite hard, but once you get going and people start relating to and engaging with your content, the momentum starts to build.
So, you learnt on the job?
Exactly. I watched a few other people and observed how they conducted themselves, but my girlfriend has been a massive help, too. She edits a lot of my content and tells me if I’m repeating myself or shouting at the camera. It helps that she can give me an honest opinion and tell me whether something is rubbish – you need that!
How do you deal with negative comments?
I just blank it out. I’m quite good at blocking those things out. It’s not that bad. However, when one of your peers tries to dig you out, that’s when it can hurt a little bit.
What’s your favourite piece of content you’ve created so far?
It was a course vlog with a bit of instruction on course management. With the grandstands up, too, it was like a boyhood dream of playing in The Open.
What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to amateur golfers?
I would say that every time you go to the range, check your basics – so that’s your grip, stance, and ball position.
These are the fundamentals and have such a massive impact on what you do in your swing. Get these basics as close to perfect as you can, and you’re already giving yourself a much better chance of being a more consistent golfer.
I remember reading Ian Poulter’s book, ‘No Limits’. In that, he talks about perhaps not being the most naturally talented player, but he’s extremely diligent when it comes to the simple things, like the set-up. I see 99% of club golfers just wash over this and instead focus on more complex things.
What’s your finest achievement as a teaching pro?
During lockdown, I started teaching someone that hadn’t played for a while.
He’d given up because of various injuries, and he wasn’t getting much enjoyment from the game anymore. Now, however, he’s joined a golf club, and he’s loving playing two or three times a week again. The more people I can help get out, the better.
Would you say that encouraging people to get back playing is what drives your YouTube content?
That’s right. I also think it’s a good platform to change the stereotype of the game. Golf is fun. We need to be doing all we can to get younger people playing, including juniors and ladies. There are currently many YouTubers doing some really good stuff to help showcase what golf is all about, which can only be good for the game.
And finally, what is TikTok?
TikTok is a social media platform for short videos, often put to music, for the purpose of entertainment.
That probably sounds horrendous to some people, but audience entertainment is integral to creating content. Although it can be rather amusing watching people dance, you certainly won’t see me doing that any time soon, however!
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