2 lessons I learned watching Collin Morikawa’s win at The Concession

The PGA TOUR’s best were welcomed to a new venue for the 2021 WGC Workday Championship. The Concession, a Jack Nicklaus and Tony Jacklin designed gem in Bradenton, Florida, proved a worthy and exacting test for the stellar field.  It posed questions of every facet of the game and in the end Collin Morikawa showed his skill and class to romp to his 4th victory in his short career.

As a fan, I had such fun watching the coverage as I am enthralled by a course that uses undulation, especially around the greens, as defense.  It was fun and enlightening to watch the players use imagination, creativity and skill to navigate the demanding layout.   

As a golf teacher, I saw a number of lessons that would help golfers of all skill levels.  In the end I whittled the list down to two lessons from the Sunday final pairing:

Collin Morikawa

Much was made about Collin’s otherworldly iron play and his new “Saw” putting grip (which he recently changed to, stuck with, and was rewarded handsomely).  I want, however, to point out two crafty greenside plays he made in the final round on the 11th and 12th holes.

After missing the greens on both holes he was faced with tricky shots from tight lies.  Both times he selected a lofted fairway metal club instead of the lofted wedges.  The decisions were a masterclass in creativity, disaster avoidance and green side savvy and I recommend that you lean that way too.

The green side bump and run with a metal wood (or utility club) is simple to learn and it will help you navigate many a pickle.

Address the ball with a narrow stance; position the ball around the center of the stance and grip down the club a little. At address the rounded sole of the “wood” should sit flush with the ground and the loft of the club should be exposed.  Do note, you will be a bit farther from the ball that the regular pitch shot given the length of the shaft.  Finally, do not to get your hands too far in front of the ball at address (and/or impact) – this will reduce the loft on the face and we want to use that loft to elevate the ball ever so slightly.

Once comfortable at address, make an unhurried and small swing of the club (almost like your putting stroke) with the intent of brushing the turf under the ball.  As you do so you will feel the ball jump off the face as it leaves on its journey.  Practice the shot from different lies and over different terrains – it is simple to learn and is a shot-saver for sure.

Billy Horschel

Before the final round, Former FedEx Cup champion and 5-time PGA TOUR winner Billy Horschel, acknowledged that he was working on “embracing the anxiety of being in contention”.  

I found his candid observation stunning.  Here is a guy who has won multiple events on TOUR as well as winning an event with a $10 Million payday – surely he shouldn’t be too anxious before a final round… Right?

Well the truth is that even great golfers have to deal with the same crazy thoughts and emotions that you and I do.  They are humans just like us and realizing that should bring you a little solace.  

Learn from Billy-Ho. Acknowledge the feelings, but don’t give power to them.  

In other words, recognize the feelings; you cannot magically make them go away.  Do not however belabor them.  If you do so you risk giving them life and making them bigger than what they are.

Once you have recognized the the anxious feelings, move toward getting past them by directing your focus and intent to the job at hand.  Fill your mind with positive and helpful golf-stuff like accurate yardages, confirmed wind directions, perhaps a swing thought, and most certainly a robust and focused pre-round and pre-shot routine. 

Then go out there and play the game and remember that a little anxiety never meant that you were going to play poorly.  Enjoy the day, relish the good shots, and recognize the bad shots and breaks as opportunities to show off your skill and know-how.

And very importantly, smile a little bit… Billy did!

Golf.com Contributor

On-course announcer and analyst Mark Immelman is passionate about the game of golf. As a decorated instructor, award-winning NCAA college golf coach, and an accomplished golfer, Mark brings a robust knowledge and vast experience to his role as a television broadcaster and golf instructor. He is currently a Golf Analyst for CBS Sports HQ, and an Analyst and On-course Announcer for CBS Sports and Golf on CBS. He currently also serves as a Studio Analyst and an On-course Announcer for PGA TOUR Live  for PGA TOUR Live.

The older brother to 2008 Masters Champion, Trevor Immelman, Mark grew up in Somerset West, South Africa. After a successful amateur career in South Africa he was offered a golf scholarship to Columbus State University (Columbus , GA). He enjoyed a prolific collegiate tenure highlighted by his four-time All-America selections, two-time Academic All-America awards, and two NCAA Div. II National Championship victories. After graduation, Mark had a short season as a playing professional, but quickly turned his attention to his true passion – golf teaching.

As a golf instructor, Mark believes in cultivating ability and talent by providing comprehensive, holistic golf instruction that is easily understandable and of the highest quality to golfers of all abilities and skill levels. His passionate approach and keen knowledge of the game have led to him being a sought-after mind by leading Professional and Amateur golfers alike. Through his career he has taught and/or consulted to PGA TOUR and European Tour professionals and tournament winners such as: Larry Mize, Loren Roberts, Trevor Immelman, Scott Brown, Patton Kizzire, Louis Oosthuizen and Will Wilcox. He has been recognized as one of “Golf Digest’s Top 20 Instructors Under 40”, Golf Digest’s “Best Teachers in the State of Georgia” and Georgia Trend Magazine’s “Top 40 Under 40 – Georgia’s Best and Brightest”.

As a NCAA College Coach at Columbus State University (since 2001) Mark continues to coach the Columbus State Men’s Golf Team and his program is a perennial contender for Conference and National Titles. He is a two-time NCAA Div. II Atlantic/Southeast Region Coach of the Year, two-time Peachbelt Conference Coach of the Year, and the 2009 NCAA Div. II National Coach of the Year.

In 2019 Mark was selected as Captain and Coach of the (Arnold) Palmer Cup International Team. His team triumphed over the United States Team in the Palmer Cup Matches held at The Alotian Club outside of Little Rock, AR.

Mark’s additional broadcast duties include being a guest analyst on the CBS Sports “First Cut Podcast”. CBS Sports also uses Mark’s unique voice for audio and promotional PGA TOUR advertisements and promotional reads.

He has also served a 6-year tenure as a Play-by-Play Announcer for Sirius/XM PGA TOUR Radio.

Additionally, Mark hosts “On the Mark”, a PGA TOUR Podcast, which to date has been downloaded more than 3 million times in more than 125 countries.

He has also written golf instructional columns and articles for Golf Digest SA, Golf Digest USA and is currently penning instructional pieces for Golf Magazine. As an author, Mark has published two e-Books on golf instruction: “Scandalously SImple – The Easy Way to Accurate Golf Shots” and “Golf is a Game of Recovery”.

You can learn more about at MarkImmelman.com