‘Mastery mindset’: The key that separates winners, according to Collin Morikawa’s coach

Collin Morikawa and Rick Sessinghaus analyze a shot

Collin Morikawa has been working with coach Rick Sessinghaus since he was eight years old.

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Collin Morikawa has been on an incredible run over the past 18 months. He’s won two major championships, the PGA and the Open, and over the weekend, he birdied five of his last seven holes to win the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai, becoming the first American to be crowned Europe’s top player. Since October, he’s been ranked as the second-best player in the world, behind Jon Rahm.

GOLF Top 100 Teacher Rick Sessinghaus has a doctorate in applied sports psychology and has been working with Morikawa since he was eight years old. At GOLF’s Top 100 Teacher Summit at Pinehurst earlier this month, Sessinghaus gave the opening presentation on Day 2, which focused on his relationship with Morikawa, and their development of his game.

Sessinghaus said that 70 percent of his lessons with Morikawa were conducted on the golf course as opposed to on the range, and that there were several personality attributes that are unique to Morikawa that make him well-suited for the greatness he’s already achieved: He’s curious, he takes ownership and is always accountable. Sessinghaus says he’s never heard Morikawa make an excuse for anything.

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Morikawa always wanted to improve, and, perhaps most importantly, believed he could. Sessinghaus calls Morikawa’s special mentality his “mastery mindset” — that is, instead of focusing on the end result, Morikawa is able to hone in on all the little details that, when perfected or achieved, will ultimately help him reach his goal.

“Didn’t matter the situation, he was there to show up, he was there to be focused,” Sessinghaus said of Morikawa. “He was there to be confident, he was there to be committed to the shot at hand. External things were not going to interfere with him.”

Morikawa’s ability to be singularly focused ties into the “flow state” — being fully present, and giving the current moment your complete attention — which is another thing Sessimghaus says Morikawa excels at doing.

Given what Morikawa has accomplished in his first two years as a professional, it’s clear that Sessinghaus and Morikawa are onto something. To access Sessinghaus’ full presentation — and everything else from the Top 100 Teacher Summit — click here.

Golf.com Editor

As a four-year member of Columbia’s inaugural class of female varsity golfers, Jessica can out-birdie everyone on the masthead. She can out-hustle them in the office, too, where she’s primarily responsible for producing both print and online features, and overseeing major special projects, such as GOLF’s inaugural Style Is­sue, which debuted in February 2018. Her origi­nal interview series, “A Round With,” debuted in November of 2015, and appeared in both in the magazine and in video form on GOLF.com.