Approach Shots

This is what led to Collin Morikawa’s ball-striking breakthrough

Collin Morikawa swings.

Morikawa picked up PGA Tour win No. 2 on Sunday.

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There was a lot of buzz around Matt Wolff and Viktor Hovland — and rightfully so — when the phenomenal talents turned professional last year. But so far it’s been Collin Morikawa who has raced into the early lead. The 23-year-old captured his second career win over the weekend, which reminded me of what Morikawa said was a key that gave his game a breakthrough.

Morikawa, appearing on Mark Immelman’s “On The Mark” podcast, explained that the thought came in college, and it was a pretty simple one: He started hitting “85, 90 percent of fades.”

“That’s when my ball-striking really changed,” he said.


“I had a go-to shot that I could rely on every single time out of the fairway … it’s just being able to have that shot. For me, it’s the 5- to 7-yard cut with any club. I can choke down on it a little bit, hit it different heights, but that’s the shot I’m always going to go to.”

The lesson: Find your shot shape

The same concept can apply to recreational golfers. You may not be able to hit a 5-yard cut every time, but you can follow Jack Nicklaus’ timeless advice of eliminating one side of the golf course. If you eliminate the two-way miss by knowing your ball is going to move one direction, whether that’s left-to-right or right-to-left, you’ll be able to work on perfecting that shot and shooting lower scores.

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