Flaghuntersgolfpod

Shaping the Complete Golfer with insights from Pia Nilsson

April 17, 2024 Jesse Perryman Season 3
Shaping the Complete Golfer with insights from Pia Nilsson
Flaghuntersgolfpod
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Flaghuntersgolfpod
Shaping the Complete Golfer with insights from Pia Nilsson
Apr 17, 2024 Season 3
Jesse Perryman

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Embark on a journey beyond the green with Pia Nilsson the visionary force behind Vision 54, who unearths the holistic aspects of golf coaching that transcend the conventional swing focus. Pia's storied legacy, including her mentorship of golf icon Annika Sorenstam, serves as a testament to the power of a well-rounded approach to the sport. As your hosts, we revel in drawing a line from Scotty Scheffler's triumph at Augusta to the principles Pia champions, emphasizing that the key to unlocking a golfer's potential lies not only in the mind but also in the heart and soul of the player.

This episode is a celebration of the PT MESS system, Pia's brainchild that integrates physical, technical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual elements into player development. It's a deep dive into the nuances of what makes a golfer truly great, with stories and insights on intrinsic motivation, joy, and well-being that go far beyond perfecting a swing. Listeners will find themselves nodding along as we share our own experiences on the course, affirming the significance of personal satisfaction and the pursuit of golfing excellence.

As we wrap up this insightful session, we touch upon the delicate dance of parenting junior golfers and the challenges of nurturing young talent in an authentic way. Our discussion extends to Pia's Super Coach 54 program, offering a beacon for coaches seeking to enhance their impact beyond technical instruction. And for a final, light-hearted twist, travel essentials take center stage as we share a few laughs over our must-haves while on the road, proving that even the smallest joys can make a world of a difference in a life intertwined with golf.

Thank you to Pia for sharing her wisdom ! Make sure to go to www. Vision54.com to find out more.

To find Justin, his email is justin@elitegolfswing.com

To find Jesse, his email is Jesse@flaghuntersgolf.com

Thank you TaylorMade and Adidas for your excellent support ! 

And a shoutout to the Old Barnwell boys in Aiken, SC for the great round !


Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Send us a Text Message.

Embark on a journey beyond the green with Pia Nilsson the visionary force behind Vision 54, who unearths the holistic aspects of golf coaching that transcend the conventional swing focus. Pia's storied legacy, including her mentorship of golf icon Annika Sorenstam, serves as a testament to the power of a well-rounded approach to the sport. As your hosts, we revel in drawing a line from Scotty Scheffler's triumph at Augusta to the principles Pia champions, emphasizing that the key to unlocking a golfer's potential lies not only in the mind but also in the heart and soul of the player.

This episode is a celebration of the PT MESS system, Pia's brainchild that integrates physical, technical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual elements into player development. It's a deep dive into the nuances of what makes a golfer truly great, with stories and insights on intrinsic motivation, joy, and well-being that go far beyond perfecting a swing. Listeners will find themselves nodding along as we share our own experiences on the course, affirming the significance of personal satisfaction and the pursuit of golfing excellence.

As we wrap up this insightful session, we touch upon the delicate dance of parenting junior golfers and the challenges of nurturing young talent in an authentic way. Our discussion extends to Pia's Super Coach 54 program, offering a beacon for coaches seeking to enhance their impact beyond technical instruction. And for a final, light-hearted twist, travel essentials take center stage as we share a few laughs over our must-haves while on the road, proving that even the smallest joys can make a world of a difference in a life intertwined with golf.

Thank you to Pia for sharing her wisdom ! Make sure to go to www. Vision54.com to find out more.

To find Justin, his email is justin@elitegolfswing.com

To find Jesse, his email is Jesse@flaghuntersgolf.com

Thank you TaylorMade and Adidas for your excellent support ! 

And a shoutout to the Old Barnwell boys in Aiken, SC for the great round !


Speaker 1:

Hello and welcome to the Flag Hunters Golf Podcast.

Speaker 1:

My name is Jesse Perryman, excuse me, and I am your host, along with Justin Tang, bringing you a very special short edition of the Flag Hunters Podcast with our guest, pia Nielsen. Oh and, by the way, congrats to Scotty Scotty Scheffler for a masterful performance at Augusta. I was happy and blessed enough to be there to see it firsthand, and pretty much that's why I took a week off from releasing an episode, and it segues perfectly into what we talked with, talked about with Pia, about performance and golf, the holistic approach and to do things that are common sense, that are practical, that are easily applicable to all of our games. So Pia, notably, is the creator of Vision 54. It is a program that is designed to get every part of you out, the best parts of you out. Notably, she also played out there professionally, so she's had her hand in both sides and we're going to celebrate the fact that she was and still is Annika Sorenstam's coach, arguably the greatest female player to ever play the game, extremely dominant and a world-class human being. So it's a short one, it's about a half hour.

Speaker 1:

Enjoy this episode. We are going to have Pia on again and I will post the contacts in the show notes and, if you don't have time, you can find Pia at vision54.com. Once again, thank you to Pia and my podcast partner, my brother from another mother, justin Tang, who was at the Tanamera Golf Club in Singaporeapore, and I'll be sure to post his links as well. The golf season is upon us, uh, for most of us, and I know that some of you up north are looking forward to seeing green grass, and we are committed to bringingate and to help you get better information. Cheers everyone. Have a great week. Hello and welcome to another edition of the Flag Hunters Golf Podcast. This is Jesse Perryman, along with Justin Tang, bringing you another great guest in her name. I'm sure that people who listen to this podcast are very familiar with who she is and who she has taught and what her mission is. Her name is Pia Nielsen. Pia, thanks for coming on.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, nice to be here with you guys. Thanks, pia. I know you need no introduction to the golfing world but for the benefit of some of our listeners, pia was a former winner on the LPGA Tour, was a Swedish national coach, coached Annika Sorenstam, is a Hall of Fame coach and, with Lynn Merritt, has coached tour pros to over 100 tour victories across the major professional tours. They have also coached 11 major winners and 5 world number ones. Thank you for gracing us with your presence, pierre were you ever?

Speaker 3:

were you ever a traditional swing coach?

Speaker 2:

No, I was not, because I started as a player. I was the first generation from Sweden where we actually had a junior program. So I grew up as a junior golfer in Sweden, an amateur golfer, played on a national team and then first Swedes to go to the college in the US and then the first Swedes to play on the LPGA Tour. So I was a player all along. I had never thought about being a coach. But I started realizing that you know, either I can be the best in the world or I need to figure out what I really want to do. But I was just asked to help out the younger Swedes because I've been in the US. I played on tour. So I said I'll do it for a little while before I figure out what I really want to do. But I realized how much I loved it so I started doing it.

Speaker 2:

So it kind of just happened to me and on the first team I ever coached, annika Sørenstam was on the team. So you know she was a good guinea pig of trying to do things differently and my big thought was because I had really really good technical teachers and these players have good teachers at home. But I was always curious about how can we do things different? What are pieces missing for more players to perform better? So when I started coaching, I went through and then I became PGA certified teacher in Sweden and I went to visit major many swing teachers and wanted to stay on top of the technology and technical development. Otherwise I can't help the players. So I was never traditional.

Speaker 3:

I know Lynn was influenced by Chuck Hogan in developing Vision 54. Am I right to say that you were also influenced by Tim Galway?

Speaker 2:

Well, you know, both of us always liked his book the Indie Game of Tennis, and then he wrote the Indie Game of Golf and I think Lynn and myself independently because Lynn was more just a traditional technical teacher for a long time while I was a player, but we were both independently, without knowing each other that well curious about like why do people start swinging better, but then they go on the golf course and things change. So that book was one of the popular ones and Lynn started working with Jack Holman just to learn what are the other areas that are fundamental to the game of golf that we're just skipping over. So we both love to read. So, absolutely, tim Goldberg's books were really fun and influenced us further along the way.

Speaker 3:

Any other authors or teachers before you that were major influences.

Speaker 2:

Oh, I mean I can send you a list later on, but I mean there's so massively many, because I think it's so important to learn from all the greatness and there's always something great to learn from every good teacher, coach or people that are interested in more peak performance in other areas. So obviously we all stand on the shoulders of others. So every year, if it's seminars or books or shadowing other people I mean all of that for the last 30 plus years is, and it's still to this day, important for both me and Lynn to do, because we're still learning, growing and wanting to stay curious.

Speaker 3:

And for coaches like myself, based out of Asia, who have little opportunity to shadow great coaches like yourself. You have written four books. The first one really captivated me Every shot must have a purpose. And then the second one was be a player, followed by play your best golf, and then the game before the game. Are there any more books in the pipeline?

Speaker 2:

Well, it's funny you say that, yeah, we will do a fifth book and that one is actually going to be about coaching. So now we've written four books now that are geared towards the golfers, even though we know many teachers, coaches, get a lot out of it. But the the next one is going to be about coaching and and you know, because one of the areas that we feel very strongly about we've done coach training, for actually we've been to 26 different countries doing coach training through the years and we've always been passionate about that. We find there's so many teachers today that are getting so knowledgeable and good about technology. They're very good about the technique and the fitness and technique, how it blends together, but then they don't know as much about how to coach. They have a lot of confidence, but not always how they're going to put that together and actually communicate with different players and get something done. Yeah, I would agree with that put that together and actually communicate with different players and get something done.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, I would agree with that. I started coaching in 2005 and then my first lesson was like okay, you need a flat left wrist, and I got stuck. I went wow, how do I actually get this concept across? I know it, but how do I make you know? Yeah, yeah. And then we talk about things like communication, performance, human development and a term that you often coin possibility yeah.

Speaker 2:

So it's kind of you know our books and the things Lynn and I want to get across, if it's through books or golf schools or digital learnings or all of that for the future of the game. We want everybody to realize that there are two sets of fundamentals the technical fundamentals. There are non-technical fundamentals and we want them to have like more equal value. And the same thing goes to us as coaches, that we need all this knowledge about technique and technology and the human body and fitness and all of that. But then we need this non-technical stuff as coaches too. They're different than being a player.

Speaker 3:

So if we can contribute and share more of that than what we feel has been working, it would feel really good thankfully, the the coaching world has moved on from where it was in the late 90s where it was like, oh, technique at all cost. You know, for a player like you, coming from your background, I find it very unique that you were never a traditional swing coach where you fixated on positions. Yeah, you were more of a holistic coach from the get go. Yeah, why do you think that was so? Were there any factors that led you to being holistic from the get-go?

Speaker 2:

well, I mean there are a couple of reasons, but one was because I was a player and I had very good teachers and I I knew my technique was plenty good to be great on the LPGA tour, but I knew something was missing. So it was a frustration from a player that more is happening on the golf course that is different from hitting a good on the range. So so I was curious about the new, that there are foundational things missing. But everything was, even in Sweden, even in seventies, we had like mental training and all of that, but it was too vague and it was not related to the game enough and it wasn't, in my opinion, working very well. So I was curious about that. But then the second part was because starting my coaching teaching career was that I was Swedish coach for the Swedish teams and I had all these club pros that were working with these players and then I was the national team coach. So I realized I mean, it doesn't make sense. I do the same as they do. I need to complement with other things that I know these players are going to need to be great tournament players. It became natural for me that I need to understand all the players where they come from, the swing theories. I can give feedback from what I see in practice and share things and be involved with it, but we need to move on to how they become great players.

Speaker 2:

So that, of course, and one of the first things I did was just watching a lot more players playing in tournaments and I started making notes where I saw that the whole sled played well compared to not played well, and obviously it all boils down to the technique being good or not good. But what causes the technique to be good or not good I was curious about, since they could be fine on the range. So then I started discovering like, wow, suddenly on these long iron shots they stay like twice as long over a golf ball. Or suddenly they're close to the lead and they you know they do all these extra things and make decision-making more complicated. Or, you know, you see something obvious you know what their bunker play and their knowledge of even hitting bunker shots is not quite there.

Speaker 2:

So I just started gathering much more information from what happens when they actually play and then I made notes for the players and to their club pros, and so that kind of started my journey of having a non-traditional way of doing it, and to the more holistic one was obvious because I knew that there are so many great players that might have been winning a lot but they're actually miserable as human beings. They're not feeling good. They're supposed to be happy but they're not. It never made sense to me. If we're going to help these players, they're not. It never made sense to me.

Speaker 3:

If we're going to help these players achieve excellence and being really great, we want them to feel that those years were worthwhile, no matter what happens yeah, it's very sad when I see, uh, good players focus solely on one component of what constitutes winning golf, and that often revolves around tearing down your swing. Oh, my swing doesn't look great At P6,. My shaft is at this position. It should be plus two degrees forward or plus two degrees behind. Yeah, the case may be. You know. In summary, right, what you said in the last three minutes can be encapsulated in this word self-aware. Yes, I'm just so amazed that you could kind of get out of your own body and just observe everything that was going around you and you went hey, it's not just technical skills, it's about PT MESS. Yes, can we talk about.

Speaker 2:

Well, you know it actually came from coaching one tour player that we didn't. She didn't have a big enough view of playing golf. How are we going to get this across to her? And then we started doing that.

Speaker 2:

The reality of the game of golf is, of course, physical, the PE because you have a body, everybody has a body. It's different every day and t is technical. It is technical you need to know how to chip and putt and hit different shots and all of that stuff. And then it's it's mental, because we all have a brain that operates all the time. So being aware and managing that to optimize my performance is like. Of course I need to. I mean, the most simple thing is we all need to make a decision that we trust but many don't think about. Maybe I should train to see how I do that well. And then the e is the, the emotional part, and any golfer we've ever met, we have emotions, we might be worried, we might be confident, we might be. I mean all these delinquents Us Nordic people or main information countries might not show it as much as Latin American or Southern European countries, but we all have them. We know now through science how much they affect our performance. So reality is that.

Speaker 2:

And then the two S's. The one S is it's a social component, meaning we play with other people. So there are so many golfers that get annoyed if it's paces too slow, too fast or people walking the way. So for many it is to learn to manage more of that. It could be the caddy. For many it is to learn to manage more of that, it could be the caddy. And then the second S is, like utmost important, and it is to what we call the spirit of the game that you know your intrinsic motivation, why you actually love playing golf, independent of outcome. And we just see time and time again, if that one doesn't stay strong, it doesn't matter how fit you are or how good your swing is, because that passion that we want and need for playing good golf and enjoying golf is not there. So that is the equation that for many golfers can be good to look at when am I on a good level and where might I be dipping too low?

Speaker 3:

You know you talked about the spirit of the game. I think it was just a couple of days back that Anthony Kim gave a an interview a bear all interview to live golf, and he said this when he was on tour 12 years ago. He didn't really love the game, no, so what you're saying is what's your? Why are you playing golf? And then, yeah, I play golf.

Speaker 2:

I'm. You know I play golf when I was six years old, but then there are many years he gets I get so busy or have been busy and not playing. But ever since the covid years I actually play golf a lot, lot more. And I'm keeping it that way now because I realized I love the game. But it took me a while to transition from being a tournament player to enjoy the game. For you know, I can still play good, I want to play good, but I have a little different, you know, intentions for doing it.

Speaker 2:

But but what you're saying is I think it's because we see so many younger players that you know they might get into golf because their family or parents want them to, or you know there's all this. They haven't figured out yet why they love the game of golf. And if that doesn't happen, we see it over and over again in the early 20s. These golfers, you know they fade away or things happen because they've never found their passion for the game. So I I think it's one of the most important thing to do, because there's so many reasons why we can love this game. So let's all of us find what that is, and it can change, obviously through our lives, when we play many years okay, can we talk a little bit about being authentic instead of being a copy?

Speaker 3:

when we get into the game, we look at model swings. We're like, hey, you know what, I'm six foot two, but you know what? Really I want to swing like you and woosnam. That's that's not being authentic. No, maybe it's a, it's an ideal, but it's not authentic. And I think, beyond, beyond swing technique, there's other stuff that we we try to do, that's not really us and that really destroys our game and our passion and ultimately retards progress yeah, I mean 100.

Speaker 2:

I agree with you, and I don't even think it's ideal to copy anyone else, because there's only one of us on this planet. But what we do a lot of is that we, we want the players, early on, to start recording. You know, they can write a note on their phone or notebooks, whatever what are the things they do when they play well, because every great golfer has a unique way how he or she plays great golf. So no one else can tell you. But we want to them to start writing down. So it could be like you know, when I'm more quiet between shots I seem to play better. You know when I do this and that in the warm-up I seem to play better. When I, you know, have that sense of temper, seem to play better, whatever it is. So whenever you have, you know, a few holes or nine holes, whatever it is that you feel like played really well, it's to capture it. And capture it because fairly soon you can start finding your own uniqueness, what you seem to do when you play well. And then of course, you could just same with how we mess up, but it's good to start with many undervalue, to keep track of what they do when they swing well, and I think another thing that's really important, that we do a lot of, is to for them to be more self-aware and also owning the game.

Speaker 2:

Well, we set up very many exercises when they get to rate themselves and they get to rate what things, you know. Maybe we give them nine things to try to focus on while they're swinging, like tempo, grip pressure, seeing the ball fly, whatever it wants to be, but then they get to decide. You know that constant grip pressure really helps me with chipping. And then someone else said no, I need to see the landing spot. So they started to discover that, wow, we are different. So I think a lot comes into what we were talking about earlier. It's the culture we, as coaches, set up to allow for the exploration and discovery, and we need it even more today than we ever have because especially the younger, younger players get so influenced by social media and they want to copy others, and that's not going to go away. But we can educate them, and then how we set up our training and coaching is highly help this along interesting.

Speaker 3:

You mentioned social media. I post something about mental game. No one opens it. I put Mac O'Grady's string up. Everyone wants to open it. Yeah.

Speaker 2:

I get like 30,000 views.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and I think that's why we call it human skills, because it's about human being playing the game of golf, because many still it's just old-fashioned, they think there's something wrong with them or something missing, when there's nothing about that. It's just unaware and untrained. So I I think we just need to keep changing the wording of it and be better at explaining how and often even use the words. It's a non-technical skills of the game, you know, just to make it more words that I feel okay with and realize all of it is going to affect better technique Because, for example, if you're more aware of your tension level, that is more like it's a kinesthetic feeling, the body is not technical. But if I'm more aware of that, it's going to make your technique better.

Speaker 2:

So we can push it towards about it's actually technique training. Just to get them in, because we we always if once we get them to start doing some of this, they realize like wow, this is not like that, I'm a mental midget or something's wrong with me or missing or something weird. This is like this is real and it really affects that good technique and good performance that I'm here for. So it's a lot about how we communicate it, but understand that so many have already set you that they shy away from, and the whole world is more focused on those outer components and how we look and technique. So so it's okay, we'll get there.

Speaker 3:

Speaking of younger golfers. Speaking of younger golfers, let's talk about giving advice to parents of junior golfers. A lot of them, a lot of them. Look at the game of golf now. It's easy. Ball's not moving. Why did you hit the ball into the water? Why did you slice it? Why do you hook it? Like? From the outside, it's easy to give, they spend such advice, but what should parents of juniors actually do to help them fulfill their potential yeah, I mean, it's enormously important.

Speaker 2:

Actually, the american junior golf association asked american junior golf association asked us this probably 14 years ago to write a booklet for parents. So we have it in so many languages, but it's just to help along and we just found most parents, you know, they have really good intention, they just don't know enough about performance and how to motivate and help their juniors. So and I want to say another thing, it's really really good because we're starting to be involved with a new US national development program. It's the first US national team program and the first project was to create a video podcast for parents. So it's actually free, available on their website for anyone globally to access, website for anyone globally to access.

Speaker 2:

Because you know, first of all, the parents. One of the most important thing is they've learned to separate the the their child's performance from who they are as a human being, because early on, when they feel really criticized by parents, they identify that I need only need to have good scores for them to like me and it's not going to go well a few years later. So it's a lot. Just you know that they feel okay, no matter if they win or lose, and then finding best ways to talk about performance. But once again we said one of the easiest things is always first ask them. You know what are the things you're proud of out there today, what were good, and then you then go to. You know what is one thing that could be better for tomorrow, but understanding performance and how all that works, so just you know, find the best way of of helping them to achieve the goals that even the parents have for them.

Speaker 3:

So it's a big, big topic yes, massive, and I think this probably is a topic for a future interview.

Speaker 2:

Yes, for sure.

Speaker 3:

Can we talk very, very quickly about Super Coach 54? I looked at the program and it seems to be the road to being a great coach. So for the benefit of our listeners, can we go through that program?

Speaker 2:

Yeah. So you know, we have for very, very many years done coach training. It's usually been three days, but we've struggled with it for the reason it's hard for everybody to come to Arizona and then three days we're still only sniffing the surface there's. So we felt it's insufficient, so anyway. So then we decided, also during COVID time, that let's create like an 18 session program for coaches to complement what they know about technique and technology.

Speaker 2:

So you learn a lot about the non-technical skills of the game.

Speaker 2:

You learn a lot about this, how to coach the whole communication and creating trust with players, and you learn a lot about how to create your own vision and North Star for your own coaching or teaching.

Speaker 2:

Because just as the players are unique and they need to find how they're going to be unique and great, with teachers, coaches the same, so it's easy for all the teachers, coaches today to just try to be like others, while they have to find their, what they could be greatest at and influence the game in a positive way. So, so, so we try to cover all those areas and obviously, the book that whenever it's going to be finished, it's going to be more around all of this and the, the, the, the super golfer we have, and we're going to keep on refining it. So we find more and more ways to to share things that we found being very useful, and so, even if you're in asia or europe, wherever you live, we can find a way for you to to learn what you want to learn so am I right to say that the super coach 54 is 100 online?

Speaker 2:

yes, it is, yeah, yeah, because we want to find a way so that it shouldn't matter where you are. If you're interested, there's a way to access it. And we have also, if those that are interested, a lot in these human skills or the non-technical skills, we just produce more and more in-depth information that is actually separate from super, uh, the super coach program that we you know what we keep adding to our library, on our website, for people to access and I like how you actually organize your material.

Speaker 3:

If one were inclined to, they need not buy the entire program. They can buy bits and pieces of the program.

Speaker 2:

Yeah yeah, yeah, no, I mean in the future. We want, you know, we wanted to. If someone wants to learn it as a golfer, someone wants to learn it as a coach, there should, it should be a way to get a hold of that that is affordable and doable and means something.

Speaker 3:

Thank you very much for providing that service to coaches around the world. Where can our listeners find out more about you?

Speaker 2:

yeah, I think the best thing is to go to vision54.com and search around there and there is a way to, you know, send us an email for for questions, further questions and all of that. So we, we totally welcome that.

Speaker 3:

So, in closing, who do you think is going to win the Masters?

Speaker 2:

Do you know what, being around so much of the golf through the years? I think it's almost impossible to and we know that it's impossible to know. But obviously I would really like for Rory to win finally the Masters, but I just wanted to be also mostly really really good competition and be really exciting on Sunday and greatest golfer of all time. Tiger.

Speaker 3:

Tiger and when? Last question when you're traveling on the road, what's the one thing that you can't do without?

Speaker 2:

probably Last question when you're traveling?

Speaker 3:

on the road. What's?

Speaker 2:

the one thing that you can't do without.

Speaker 3:

Probably I want my iPad with me. I thought you were going to say licorice, my what Licorice?

Speaker 2:

I know the Swedes love their licorice. I like it, but I'm not that big of a fan of it.

Speaker 3:

Thank you so much again, Pierre. It was a pleasure having you on the podcast.

Speaker 2:

Yes, and thank you so much, and I would love to do it again and maybe Lynn can be with us next time too.

Speaker 3:

That would be awesome.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, let's make it happen. Yes, yeah, because we can share more in the Asian countries too, and we've been there so many times, so we really feel good about that.

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Player Development Through Holistic Coaching
Finding Authenticity in Golf Passion
Parenting and Coaching Junior Golfers
Travel Essentials