Collin Morikawa’s club-fitter details his insane level of accuracy
Collin Morikawa’s tournament-defining tee shot on the 16th hole during the final round of the PGA Championship will be a part of the major championship’s montage for years to come. The shot not only helped Morikawa secure his first piece of major hardware, it also highlighted his incredible accuracy in pressure situations.
Pinpoint accuracy remains the great equalizer in the PGA Tour’s arms race, and Morikawa is at the top of the list when it comes to players who possess a rare package of distance and precision throughout the bag.
While some golf fans are likely just being introduced to Morikawa’s next-level accuracy, Ryan Ressa, TaylorMade’s manager of player development, has enjoyed a front-row seat for the last decade, going back to when Morikawa was preparing to enter high school.
It was during practice sessions at TaylorMade’s “The Kingdom” test facility that Ressa first came to realize Morikawa was already on track to become an elite ball-striker.
“We have this green at The Kingdom that’s 160 [yards] out on the left side of the range,” Ressa recalled during a recent episode of GOLF’s Fully Equipped podcast. “It’s back into a wind that comes in off the left out of the ocean. This was when he was 14 or 15, he would just laser these 6-irons at the green. One after the other. We never did a combine with him, but we’ve all seen him the last 14 months on Tour and seen the statistics. The iron play is off-the-charts.”
The legend of Morikawa’s exceptional accuracy continued during his time at the University of California, Berkeley, where he went through a testing combine that revealed his dispersion pattern with a 6-iron was comparable to other elite golfers with a pitching wedge.
“I’m just trying to hit the best shots I can,” Morikawa told GOLF.com last year. “I love to hit my little 5- to 10-yard cut, and that’s what I try to do. And I think that’s kind of been my game. My ball-striking has been the center of my game for a long time now. And being on the PGA Tour, you’ve got to have a well-rounded game.”
When it comes to Morikawa’s irons, he’s refrained from altering variables, which speaks to his comfort level with a set of tools that have become an extension of his body. The only change he’s made in the last seven years is a shaft swap from Project X 6.0 to True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 Tour Issue as he got stronger and began to execute shots with different trajectories.
“His creativity with his irons, that’s something his coach talks about,” Ressa said. “He’s not afraid to grip down on the club and chip one out there and shape it. A lot of these bombers are kinda all out with their irons. Collin has the ability to work it both ways. You saw it in San Francisco with the drastic temperature change there. Those guys had to hit different shots with their irons — a lot of mid irons and 7, 8 irons. It’s on command. Obviously, he’s comfortable with that weather playing at Cal. But that was the full display at the PGA.”
If there’s one thing that separates Morikawa’s iron specs from his peers, it’s the lack of progression that exists from one club to the next.
“What he sees at address is really important him,” Ressa said. “He’s meticulous about how they set up.”
It’s that level of meticulousness that has Morikawa on a meteoric rise at the moment. When you trust and feel good about the tools in your hands, good things usually happen.