What’s in the bag of Rick Shiels, the PGA professional behind the No.1 golf YouTube channel in the world?
If you’re a golf fan and you’ve never heard of Rick Shiels then chances are you’ve been living in a land without an internet connection and you think YouTube is an insult as opposed to the world’s biggest video-sharing platform. Luckily we spent a full day getting to know the Lancastrian and his journey from the school stage to global golf star to help you.
Shiels is a PGA-qualified golf coach with more than three million subscribers, 750 million views, and 2,500 videos across his three YouTube channels – Rick Shiels Golf, H.I.T Golf, and The Rick Shiels Golf Show.
The Boltonian started creating videos in 2012 in a bid to attract more amateurs for lessons at Trafford Golf Centre and in the years that followed he became a global star and one of the most recognisable faces in the game. He’s also one of our Top 100 most influential people in golf.
Shiels, who is good friends with fellow YouTube star Peter Finch, started out by creating golf tips, but as his numbers grew he moved into course vlogs, matches, challenges against pros and equipment reviews. So what does a man who has access to almost any golf club and ball in the world actually choose to play?
While other YouTubers have been known to sign contracts with equipment manufacturers to play their clubs, Shiels has always resisted the temptation, preferring the freedom to play the best driver, best fairway wood, best irons, best wedges, and best putter for his game.
“I’ve always been a fan of mixed bags because I just don’t believe that any one brand does perfect everything,” he told us.
“However, I still understand why players are sponsored π maybe they shouldn’t be sponsored for 14 clubs anyway, but we did an interview with Tommy Fleetwood a couple of years ago and he said being sponsored by TaylorMade is a bit like having a mechanic on the range because they are looking at his numbers and assessing what he needs in his bag.
“It’s like a support system for them that if they ever need anything tweaking or sorting, even if they don’t realize they do, then it gets done.”
Shiels does have deals in place for his golf apparel and shoes, working as an ambassador for Lyle & Scott and Ecco respectively, while the golf bags in his H.I.T studio are supplied by Vessel. He also uses a Foresight Sports GC Quad launch monitor and works with TopTracer.
But with access to almost any club and ball available, what does Rick Shiels choose to use? We paid a visit to his Manchester base and let the man himself talk us through his bag.
WITB Rick Shiels
What driver does Rick Shiels use?
Ping G425 Max driver (9º; Mitsubishi Tensei 65 X-Stiff shaft)
“It’s my favorite part of the bag so we’re kicking off with a bang. I’ve got my custom head cover with my beard silhouette and logo. The driver has been in the bag for far longer than I expected. Out of every driver I’ve tested over the last few years, this has been the most forgiving. The G430 is very, very good, but I just don’t think it’s quite as forgiving. I love the blacked-out finish and matt top.
“I’ve got it in 9º and the rear weight is set to fade to stop me from overdrawing it. For now, my driver isn’t going anywhere, it’s staying in the bag, but that doesn’t mean it’ll be forever and there’ll be plenty of new options to try in the new year.”
What fairway wood does Rick Shiels use?
Cobra King F7 fairway wood (14.5º; Fujikura 65 X-Stiff shaft)
“My longest-serving golf club is protected by a Kingsbarns headcover, which is one of my favorite golf courses in the world. Fans of the channel will know that I love this club and it’s nicknamed ‘Old Bluey’.
“It’s set to 14.5º which is perfect for my gapping. I don’t hit 3-wood loads – I’m not a huge fan of hitting it off the tee and would rather go for a longer iron for accuracy – but I love hitting it into a par-5. It’s got the Baffler rails, which Rickie Fowler had an influence on designing, and they help the club glide through the turf or even a bit of light rough.
“I’ve tested fairway woods from every single brand and not been tempted to change it, so it would take a lot to get ‘Old Bluey’ out of my bag. Oddly, I don’t think I ever did a video review of the F7. I’m sure I just put it in the bag one day for a round and it’s never left, but that’s a pretty positive review in itself.”
Read our full Cobra F7 fairway wood review.
What driving iron does Rick Shiels use?
Titleist U505 driving iron (21º; HZRDUS Smoke 6.5 Low Spin shaft)
“This is the latest addition to my bag and it’s one of the best driving irons. I’ve always struggled a bit with the gap between my 3-wood and longest iron and I’ve toyed with 2-irons and hybrids, but I find the latter too one-dimensional.
“I recently went down to Woburn to get fitted for the latest Titleist irons for testing purposes and they put this in my hands. I’ll admit, when I first set it behind the ball, it was not a good-looking club because it’s got a big, fat back and doesn’t really catch the eye.
“But when I hit a few shots with it I was like “Whoa, what is this?!” It’s forgiving, I can hit it high, hit it low, I can shape it and I feel like I can find the fairway pretty much anywhere off the face, so it went straight into the bag. I took it on a recent trip to Scotland, and it was sensational, so I think, finally, I’ve found the perfect club for that slot.”
What irons does Rick Shiels use?
Titleist T100 2021 irons (4i-9i; Project X 6.5 shafts)
“I know there’s a newer model but I’m not particularly tempted to move into them because I don’t feel like they’ve changed an awful lot.
“My eye has always been drawn to an iron that looks like it has a thin topline behind the golf ball but IT has quite a lot of perimeter weighting. I love the weighting system on the bottom of the club because I get a lot of lower strikes on my irons so I feel like I don’t get as punished for those.
“They’re also not too strongly lofted – my 7-iron is 34º which is very standard – and I don’t ever want to go into anything that has too strong lofts.
“I’m a big fan of the Golf Pride MCC Plus4 Align grips that I have on my irons and probably should get them fitted throughout the bag. They’re a little thicker all the way through, and I have two layers of tape.”
What wedges does Rick Shiels use?
Titleist T100 2023 pitching wedge (46º; Project X 6.5 shaft)
“I have put the new T100 pitching wedge in the bag recently, which replaced a specialized 46º Vokey. I tried that for a while because I liked the variety of having a pitching wedge loft for chips around the greens, but on a short par 3 I felt the Vokey was too high-spinning and anything that wasn’t hit off the center of the face was being heavily punished.
“The T100 is a more traditional pitching wedge and while it’s still 46º, it has a lot more forgiveness.”
Read our full review of the Titleist T100 2023 model.
TaylorMade MG4 wedges (50º, 56º, 60º; Dynamic Gold wedge shaft)
These are TaylorMade’s latest Milled Grind wedges and went in the bag straight after I reviewed them. They’ve boosted my short game confidence by a good ten or 15 percent.
I’ve effectively got a gap wedge, sand wedge and lob wedge. The 50º has a standard 9º of bounce and then the 56º and 60º are the TW (Tiger Woods) grind. They all spin like crazy, the face rusts gradually on them, which I like, especially when playing in sunnier places as it reduces glare.
“I have two different finishes, with my gap wedge in the black and the sand and lob wedge in the standard chrome. I’m not sure there’s any science behind this but I do feel the black version is a touch harder of the face but think that could be a placebo effect. Generally, it doesn’t bother me that they’re different as I’m not fussy when it comes to finishes.
“Again, I have different grips on these, with the Lamkin Crossline, but I really like them because they don’t get too thin towards the bottom end, so they still feel comfortable when I grip down the club.
“I use my 60º wedge far too much. I’ve had a short game session with Dan Grieve recently and we’ve identified that. Really the 60º should be behind glass and only used in an emergency. I’m learning to use better lofting in my other wedges. I use my 46º and 50º when I’ve got more green to work with but, as anyone who watches the channel will know, the wedge game has always been a challenge for me. I’m improving, I just need to learn to reach for the lower lofts instead of my 60º.
Read our full TaylorMade MG4 review and see which models rank among our best wedges.
What putter does Rick Shiels use?
Evnroll ER2v putter (34 inches; Evnroll Tour Tack grip)
“This putter has been in my bag for a long time in different variations, but this one has my personalized headcover and has my name on the back and my logo on the front, which is very cool.
“The putter’s 34 inches long and I love the shape, but what I really like is the weight, the fact that it’s not too soft but not hard, and as the brand name suggests, the fact you get an even roll across the face.
“I’ve removed the alignment aids from this putter and just added a dot with a Sharpie on the top. They’ve sent me a new model with the dot alignment but, even though it’s the same, I’ve been putting so well with this recently that I couldn’t bring myself to swap it!
“The grip is Evnroll’s Tour Tack, which I love, but it’s absolutely battered. I prefer the thicker grip – I couldn’t go for a thin grip anymore. I mostly use the claw grip and trying to do that with a thinner grip doesn’t allow you to get much purchase on it.”
See how Evnroll’s models fared in our test of the year’s best putters.
What golf ball does Rick Shiels use?
Titleist Pro V1 golf ball (White; Standard numbers)
“I have toyed with the Pro V1x but right now the standard Pro V1 is right for me. I’ve used everything – TaylorMade TP5, Callaway Chrome Soft, Srixon Z-Star – but I always come back to the Pro V1. It’s a reliable golf ball that does everything I want it to do across all aspects of the game.”
What golf bag does Rick Shiels use?
Augusta National Member’s Titleist Linksmaster Stand Bag
“I was lucky enough to play Augusta on the Monday after the 2023 Masters and once you’ve played the course or if you’re a member then you can access the Pro Shop, which isn’t open to the public. It has loads of special items that are exclusive to Augusta and I spent an absolute fortune on ball markers, trinkets, gifts for the family, and I was like ‘that’s it, I’m done, my Masters experience is over.’
“I walked out of the shop and over to where some other people who’d played that day were standing and beside the other bags was one of these beautiful green Augusta leather bags. It stopped me in my tracks, and I thought ‘I need one of those bags.’ Without a second thought, I turned around, went into the shop and said ‘Please tell me you’ve got one of those bags’. They had one of these and a Ping one left, so I had them both! I hadn’t even considered how I’d get them home, but luckily they did a shipping service and they were here when I got back.
“I’m using the Titleist bag because I just love it and I want it to age because I think it’ll look better the more it’s used. I want it to get battered and bruised and to have lived a little. I don’t want it to remain perfect. One of the zip pulls came off recently and I was a little bit gutted, but I also quite like it because it’s getting that wear and tear.
“It is one of my prized possessions and it won’t be getting a whack after I hit a bad shot.”
Because it’s an Augusta exclusive and can’t be bought by everyone, Rick’s bag doesn’t feature among our best golf bags, but if you want one (and can’t get a round at the exclusive course) then you might be able to pick one up at auction where some have sold for several thousand pounds.
What golf apparel does Rick Shiels wear?
Lyle & Scott
“I joined forces with Lyle & Scott in 2022 and I just love their clothing. I’ll only wear and support brands that I love and that don’t impact my ability to remain impartial when it comes to club testing, which is why everything in my bag is of my choosing.
“I’ve always been a huge fan of Lyle & Scott, from being a young assistant professional I remember it being fashionable, functional and stylish.
“When it comes to signing with Lyle & Scott, it was an easy decision. The brand encapsulates everything I believe in. A British brand that looks to push the boundaries, innovate, and produce stylish clothing. I love that the brand is aspirational, but at accessible price points for my audience.”
To celebrate Rick’s rise up our influential people in golf rankings, you can win £500 of Lyle & Scott clothing in our giveaway.
What golf shoes does Rick Shiels wear?
Ecco golf shoes
“My garage is literally full of boxes however, none of them passed the test for me up until I started wearing Ecco. Genuinely, hands-down, they are the comfiest and best golf shoes I’ve ever worn. Not even a question.
“With any sponsorship (Shiels became an Ecco ambassador in 2022), because I’ve got an audience, I’m always quite protective about what we push to the audience.
“I’ve always been super cautious about this relationship between what I wear, what I endorse and how closely that is linked to manufacturers. I just think it’s not a clean transaction if there is any kind of integration there. For me, I try to keep it ridiculously separate. Whatever I wear, whatever I get involved in, will not be involved with manufacturers.”
Check out our guide to the best Ecco shoes.
About the Author
Rob specializes in the DP World Tour, PGA Tour, LIV Golf, and the Ryder Cup, spending large chunks of his days reading about, writing about, and watching the tours each month.
He’s passionate about the equipment used by professional golfers and is also a font of knowledge when it comes to golf balls, golf trolleys, and golf bags, testing thousands down the years.
Rob uses a Callaway Paradym driver, TaylorMade M5 5-wood, TaylorMade P790 driving iron, Callaway Paradym irons (4-AW), TaylorMade MG3 wedges (52º, 58º), Odyssey Tri-Hot 5k Double Wide putter, and Callaway Chrome Soft X golf ball.