IRISH GOLF

Sky is the limit for social media star Crotty as he embarks on new business venture

by Ronan MacNamara

Aaron Crotty is developing quite the reputation for himself, an excellent assistant professional in Lisheen Springs Golf Club in Dublin, an accomplished junior golfer in his native West Waterford Golf Club, a social media star and a shrewd entrepreneur who recently released his own clothing brand Fore Leaf.

The Waterford man launched the Fore Leaf golf clothing brand earlier this month after a bright idea came into his head during a typically ponderous day during lockdown.

“I was literally sitting at the kitchen table one day over lockdown and I knew I wasn’t going to be working for a few months I had the idea, but I never thought it would happen.

“I messed around and made the logo then I had to find a manufacturer which took the best part of four months.

“It’s myself and my housemate, we’ve launched a polo, two pullovers and a vest and we’ll have our next launch in a couple of weeks with two more polos and a gilet,” he added.

Fore Leaf is currently exclusively online but the plan for the business is to take pride of place on the hangers of many pro shops across the country.

“I hope to get it into pro shops next year, I know a lot of head pros around and they are interested if the quality is there.”

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“I don’t really know how I got into it I think my uncle gave me a bag of golf balls one day and that was it,” he said.Golf has always been Crotty’s love, but it is a path he had to find on his own without getting pushed into it from his immediate family.

“I still remember my first day in West Waterford and I was mad about golf since then.

“I grew up there playing religiously every summer, eight days a week.

“It was lucky we had a really good Fred Daly team in West Waterford which is known for its juniors, there was five of us really pushing each other on and trying to beat each other,” he added.

Lockdown has been difficult for everybody and has impacted on people in different ways. Some have really struggled mentally and physically often lacking in motivation and drive as each passing day drifted by with the same bleakness as before, but Crotty used it to kickstart his ascent in the golfing world by establishing himself on social media and releasing his own clothing brand while balancing his studies and working as an assistant pro in Lisheen Springs.

“Since Covid I have been busier than ever at the golf club I’m barely getting out to play if I get out once a week that’s great.

Golf on social media has become a popular avenue for golfers looking to carve out a living and establish themselves in the golfing world – take Rick Shiels, Peter Finch and Mark Crossfield for example – Crotty with a followship of 11,100 on TikTok has been making great strides on the app.

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The 24-year-old has taken advantage of lockdown and the shift towards golf social media by posting golf tips, videos about his daily life working in a pro shop and keeping his fans up to date with his progress in PGA events.

“How it started for me was a zoom call with Rick Shiels for the PGA and he told us how it took him three years to build up a following and I knew I would be off work for a while so I thought I might as well start posting golf content.

“I still don’t know how to grow followers, but I went to the Irish Open three weeks ago and there must have been 20 people who recognised me the first day which is good and I’ll definitely keep it up.

“It’s an easy way to get myself out there if I post a video of how to fix a swing problem people will watch it and be more likely to come to me for a lesson,” he added.

It has been a delirious time in West Waterford over the past couple of weeks as the Déise county basks in the glory of Seamus Power’s maiden PGA Tour victory at the Barbasol when he dramatically saw of JT Poston in a five-hole playoff.

Power arrived home to a hero’s welcome where Crotty was in attendance to join in the celebrations after watching someone he idolised for years as a junior make it to the top.

“It was unreal, I’ve been saying for ten weeks he is going to win it’s been coming,” he said.

“When I saw him shoot 62 in a Monday qualifier earlier in the season I knew something was coming.

“I was just shouting when I was watching it and then the playoff, the chip in on the first hole.

“The fifth playoff hole I don’t know how Poston’s putt didn’t go in so I guess it was meant to be.

“The other night when I was down for the homecoming it was so inspiring to hear him and his father talk about the same things I have experienced growing up here like Fred Daly, it’s unbelievable, he gave everyone a massive boost at home everyone is positive about things now” he added.

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Foreleaf clothing by Foreleaf

When he had the opportunity to chat to Power last week, Crotty shared a funny story with the recent PGA Tour winner from when he was caddying for the summer in Olympia Fields in 2019.

He texted Power when he was in a share of 6th place after two rounds of the John Deere Classic asking for free tickets for the Sunday which Power obliged and left four tickets at the gate, but things didn’t all go to plan.

“He shot 77 on the Saturday so he was out first in the morning on the Sunday, so we didn’t go but I never said it to him until the other night,” he laughed.

Away from his busy schedule off the course, Crotty is looking forward to getting back in action in some events as he looks to build on the inspiration, he has gathered watching his clubmate.

“I’m thinking about playing in the Irish PGA then we have the Irish assistant’s championship in two and a half weeks, so I am hoping to get on well.”

The Lisheen Springs assistant pro certainly has his fingers in a lot of pies, but he is making the most of every door that has opened for him in the golfing world and at such a young age things can only get better it seems.

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