Two-time DP World Tour winner James Morrison had an unusual route into the game. The Surrey golfer was a star cricketer throughout his teens, playing on the same England youth teams as Alastair Cook, Ravi Bopara and Tim Bresnan where he featured as an opening batsman and spin bowler.

At 16 he switched his focus to golf, very quickly got down to scratch and booked himself on a golfing scholarship to the University of South Carolina. 

“I had my first golf lesson with a coach called Jeremy Bennett at the Windlesham GC, I was 18 and I had never had a lesson before. I was just a natural golfer so I was kind of an open book in terms of what a PGA Pro would teach me. Jeremy had been on Tour himself and had taught both ends of the spectrum and he was the first guy who I saw all those years ago.”

By the age of 21 Morrison had turned professional and, at 24, he won the Madeira Islands Open. A few weeks later he was second in Spain and there was even talk of him being a possibility for Colin Montgomerie’s Ryder Cup side in Wales. 

“People always ask me what the difference is between a professional and an amateur. We do the basics really well. The early lessons that you have when you’re younger or when you first start the game, they get the fundamentals right at the start and the game becomes a lot easier as you grow into it. 

“The key is to have a lesson when you first get going rather than try to make it up yourself. Everything has to be correct if you’re going to be making any improvement in the game. We’re always working on the basics; grip, width of stance, ball position, aim - you have to learn all these things from the start. If you’ve got no concept of that when you first begin the game then you’re never going to improve. Having a lesson at the start is so crucial if you are to develop as a golfer.”

Morrison has since won the Spanish Open and this year will be his 15th year on Tour.

“I worked with Jeremy for six years. His knowledge and passion for the game is second to none. My quick rise in the game from amateur to a European Tour-winning professional was hugely down to Jeremy’s expert guidance. His knowledge and wisdom doesn’t end with golfing skills. Jeremy has taught me how to prepare mentally and physically to the best of my ability.

“It’s a bit different these days with the YouTube and social media, you kind of feel like you can be an expert just from watching that but you really need those real basic skills honed from the start. I’m not saying to have a lesson every day but you have to make that investment with your PGA Pro to give yourself the best chance of getting better.”