Collin Morikawa, the 23-year-old winner of the 2020 PGA Championship, made a number of pivotal equipment changes in the lead up to the year’s first major. Turns out they paid off.
Ahead of the Workday Charity Open in July, which Morikawa also won, he made three massive overhauls regarding his putter, golf ball, and his long-iron setup. Additionally, Morikawa recently added 5 grams of weight to the back of his TaylorMade SIM driver to get rid of a slight right miss he started to notice in recent weeks, according to a TaylorMade representative.
(For more on Morikawa’s changes, check out the recent Fully Equipped podcast, in which Morikawa was the guest, below.)
1. He switched to a hybrid for the first time
Up until the Waste Management Phoenix Open, Morikawa always preferred a driving iron instead of a 5-wood or hybrid. In fact, he told GOLF.com that he was “a little skeptical” of the new TaylorMade SIM Max rescue. After his caddie influenced him to give the new hybrids a try, however, Morikawa was sold.
“When we first started hitting these hybrids, they were so high, almost double the height,” Morikawa said. “They were spinning great, and they were going super straight.”
He put the hybrid in play that week in Phoenix and made four eagles. Not a bad start with the new club.
While he initially had a Mitsubishi Tensei Blue shaft in the head, he recently switched to a Tensei White for a flatter trajectory.
“Even though I like to play my cut, when I play this hybrid, I’m almost playing straight shots because I know how straight it is,” Morikawa said. “So that’s been the best thing. It’s very forgiving and very easy to hit. When you set it up there’s not a ton of offset or anything, it just sets up very nicely. It’s not a large head. It just gets the ball airborne quickly, easily, and how could you not like that?”
2. He changed to a long-neck putter
Morikawa has been experimenting with different putters since he turned professional, but he recently stumbled on one he’s extra comfortable using. He was reviewing old videos of his putting stroke during quarantine, and he noticed something off about his putting setup; the toe was sticking up off the surface instead of flat against it.
After alerting the TaylorMade team to the issue, they decided to flatten the long-neck style Juno putter he had laying around the house. That’s the putter Morikawa used to win the PGA Championship.
“It actually brought my hands a little more vertical, which is weird, but it brought them in a place that just feels comfortable,” Morikawa said. “I don’t have to adjust anything … my putter’s already nice and flat to the ground.”
It should be noted, also, that the long-neck style hosel is designed to add more face-balancing to a putter.
3. He started using a softer golf ball with more spin
When Morikawa first switched from a Titleist golf ball to a TaylorMade golf ball, he used the firmer, lower-spinning TP5x version. As it turned out, however, that decision was plaguing his short game.
“I used [a TP5x] through Safeway and Shriners, then realized I wasn’t able to chip,” Morikawa said. “I was trying to scoop the ball and trying to get the ball airborne like a 20-handicap at a country club instead of just hitting chips, because I knew in the back of my mind they just weren’t spinning enough.”
To boost his greenside spin, Morikawa switched into the softer and higher-spinning TaylorMade TP5 ball. Obviously, it was the right call.
“It took me a week or two to really get used to the feel of the TP5 ball, I had really never used that soft of a ball,” Morikawa said. “It took me a little time, but I’ve gotten used to it now. It feels completely normal. My wedges spin great. It feels great off the putter. I like a soft feel off the putter anyways … it’s just been awesome around the greens, feel, everything, in the wind it’s amazing, too. It’s been a great ball and definitely a great switch. Easy transition to say the least.”
For more on Morikawa, check out our full conversation with him on our recent Fully Equipped podcast below.