Saguto Blending Instruction With Technology, Personality

PAWLEYS ISLAND, S.C. | Tom Saguto almost didn’t make the video that launched his star.
It was Feb. 6, 2020, and the PGA Golf Professional and Litchfield Country Club co-op instructor was ticked off. He’d just finished a lesson where the student pushed back on Saguto’s approach and refused to listen.

Instead of moving on and forgetting about it, the young instructor channeled his frustration into his YouTube feed. The 18-minute clip was at times messy; he needed to correct himself more than once. But more importantly, it was raw, real, unrehearsed and informative.Tom Saguto Golf

“I didn’t know what the response was going to be,” Saguto, now 27, said leading up to the one-year anniversary of that video. “I didn’t know how they were going to take it.”
Not everyone loved the segment. But that’s what happens when a video is viewed more than 700,000 times. {Click here to watch the video}

The semi-viral demonstration was every part of Saguto’s personality packaged together in a way that could be easily digested. He talked physics of the golf swing while incorporating sarcastic voices and faces. He lectured with catch phrases. And, more than once, he threw his hands out to his side in hypothetical disbelief.

“This is all a bunch of garbage, folks,” Saguto said while walking toward the camera and leaning in to let everyone know how serious he was. “And how do I know that? I know that because I was the guy who swung exactly like that. … It’s a darn miracle that you could hit a golf ball like that.”

The student had drawn his ire, but this was about more than just one lesson. It was a methodology that was about to take hold. This wasn’t Saguto’s first YouTube clip, not by a long shot. So he recognized the data points clearly enough to when the needle began to move. Within days, it was being watched around the country. To think, this was a video done on a whim.

His most-viewed clip to date brought him into prominence for months to come. Subsequent videos have frequently topped 100,000 views, and a few hundred comments on each is now common. He was lauded for his simplicity and referred to as “Angry Paul Rudd,” thanks to the long, wavy hair from some of his early 2020 videos (before he chopped off most of it).
They all steer online golf-addicts to his instruction web site (www.saguto.golf) or seminars. To do that successfully, though, there had to be a hook. Viewers needed to be able to relate to what he calls “bite-sized chunks” of his lessons.

That’s where his other love helped pave the way.Tom Saguto

The long-time guitarist played in bands around the Strand and even did a country-themed cruise prior to fully re-investing himself into golf.

“The main thing the guitar helped me do with the golf was present golf in a more entertaining light,” Saguto said. “I wasn’t accustomed to getting up in front of an audience and do school. Golf’s gotta be fun. That was one of the biggest things to take away from the guitar-golf connection. It allows me to do it a more fun way.”

Saguto doesn’t play as much as he used to, but he occasionally brings the instrument into his videos, along with a bevy of jokes. He’s had fictional conversations with Ben Hogan and donned jeans. He’s hit golf balls with goofy hats. This is the antitheses of what you’d expect from a golf pro.

“He’s not trying to be something he’s not. He’s not trying to be what you think of when you think of a golf instructor,” said Paige Cribb, the director of student support at Coastal Carolina’s Professional Golf Management Program and a past president of the Carolinas PGA. “When he started doing his YouTube stuff, he was a little more traditional at first. I don’t know if he got his feet under him or what, but he became this character. That just propelled him.”

Cribb, who taught Saguto at CCU, said the former academic student is now a full-time student of the game of golf. That much is clear in Saguto’s transition to the stack-and-tilt method, a somewhat non-traditional swing technique that is often criticized by those who haven’t tried it.
Saguto uses his platform to promote stack-and-tilt, and not just to the older clientele that he admits makes up the majority of its roster. If golf is a lifetime game, then Saguto wants you to have the tools to remove a lifetime of scoring shame.

The proof of Saguto’s popularity, Litchfield Country Club General Manager Eric Glosick said, is in the distances which students travel to receive an in-person lesson. Glosick pointed out that not all that long ago, someone drove to Litchfield from Virginia Beach, took a lesson, ate lunch and then drove back the same day.
The phone calls from others who have an interest in seeing the YouTube star in person come from up and down the coast and across the age ranges.

“His method has always been about pain-free golf swing with seniors. He’s made a mark with that,” Glosick said. “But golf needs to be shown to the younger generations. It’s not that stuffy, crusty, white-collar game that used to be played. It can be played by anyone from a very young age.”

Saguto has started bridging the gap there, too, as his YouTube hits are reaching a wider audience by the month. His appeal continues to trend upward – right along with that digital needle – because of a personality that is such a rarity in the instruction portion of the game.
And the longer those students continue to see their own on-course production increase, the more Saguto’s methods will start to seem less out of the ordinary.Tom Saguto

“If the average golf score is in the 100s, people don’t want to do that. They don’t want to be out there beating the ball and looking through the woods,” he said. “Where does the golfer get that average instruction? From the average instructor. It’s the information they’re using. They didn’t know any better. I didn’t know any better.”

Now, he does. And he’s using his megaphone to broadcast it to the masses.

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