Swanston New to showcase acclaimed Vision54 scheme

Marc Warren. Picture: SNS
Marc Warren. Picture: SNS
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CAPITAL golfers are being offered the opportunity to enjoy the first Scottish vision of an instruction approach created jointly by Annika Sorenstam’s former coach.

“It’s like having Butch Harmon coming to Swanston New to do a one-day coaching event,” said Oliver Morton of this Sunday’s event there with Pia Nilsson and fellow Vision54 teacher Lynn Marriott.

Named for the score you would have if you birdied every hole, Vision54 has contributed to more than 100 Tour victories worldwide, including six women’s majors.

Two-time European Tour winner Marc Warren currently works with Nilsson and Marriott, as does Kevin Streelman on the PGA Tour and LPGA players Suzanne Pettersen, Ai Miyazato and Yani Tseng.

Morton, one of the PGA pros based at Swanston New, is the driving force behind this weekend’s one-off event, which has been organised to coincide with Nilsson and Marriott visiting Scotland for next week’s Women’s British Open at St Andrews.

“My Vision54 journey started at The Titleist Performance Institute in San Diego whilst attending their ‘Speakers School’,” said Morton.

“This is where I met Matthew Palsenbarg, a golf coach based in Vancouver. He told me about Vision54 and how it had changed his outlook on golf but, more importantly, life.

“I deliberated over attending a Coach Vision54 Golf School in Arizona during December 2012 and fortunately decided to attend – one of the best decisions of my life.

“My time with Pia Nilsson and Lynn Marriott opened my eyes to a whole new world of instruction. The four days I had with them exposed me to the more mystic elements of Golf Instruction: The Mental, Emotional, Social and Spiritual.

“The course comprised anecdotes from their time coaching many of the world’s best players, including Annika Sorenstam, Kevin Streelman, Suzann Pettersen, Ai Miyazato, Yani Tseng, Marc Warren and Scott Jamieson, as well as practical application mixed with theory.

“The direct benefits of the course were plentiful but it also enabled me to meet some amazing people, including Rudy Duran, Tiger Woods’ childhood coach.”

Morton is now excited about Capital golfers getting the chance to see why he has developed such a passion for this particular coaching approach as Vision54 stages its first-ever Scottish school.

“Pia and Lynn were voted the best female coaches in America last year,” he added. “Pia was in the top 20 of the Golf Digest best coaches in the world and Lynn was in the top 30.

“They coached Annika Sorenstam and continue to coach some of the best players in the world. They also have co-authored a number of books, including the best-selling Every Shot Must Have A Purpose, The Game Before the Game and Play Your Best Golf Now.

“What they coach doesn’t simply apply to the world’s elite. This kind of event is extremely rare – we are unsure when or if Vision54 will be back to Scotland.”

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• LOTHIANS legend George Macgregor sensed Phil Mickelson had the talent to set the golfing world alight – after watching the American ace hit a green both left and right-handed.

The memorable moment came in the 1991 Walker Cup at Portmarnock, where Macgregor captained a Great Britain & Ireland side that lost to an American team that included rising star Mickelson.

“I knew he was pretty good when I saw he could hit the ball right-handed as well as left-handed,” recalled Glencorse great Macgregor.

“The 15th at Portmarnock is a short, but fairly difficult, par-3. On one of the practice days he showed his prowess by hitting a shot on to the green playing his natural way. He then took one of his playing partner’s right-handed clubs and did the same. You need great hand-eye co-ordination to do that.”

Mickelson’s record as a pro on links courses had been poor until he landed his dream Scottish Open-Open Championship double.

Macgregor, a member of the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, was at Muirfield to see the latter, helping with stewarding as one of the deputy controllers on the course.

“I think Mickelson has an aura when he strides up the fairways,” added the former Scottish amateur star. “He reminds me of Colin Montgomerie, who I knew when he came on the amateur scene, in some ways. They are both very individual golfers.

“I was interested to watch Mickelson practise at Muirfield last week.

“The ground was bone hard and he was using his putter to play all of these difficult run-up shots from 20 to 30 yards short of the green.

“I thought it was interesting that a player with his short game should do that. But it clearly worked. He was a very worthy champion.”