Collin Morikawa is the next great ball striker on the PGA Tour. As the 149th Open Championship unfolds, his ability to orchestrate his way around Royal St. George’s is on full display. With a PGA Championship, World Golf Championship, and multiple PGA Tour wins to his credit at this early stage in his career there’s no doubt he has caught the world’s attention.
Collin leads the PGA Tour in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green. He hits an impressive 72% of his greens in regulation and as a result is considered one of the best iron players in the game. Considering the various challenges at Royal St. George’s great iron play is without a doubt an asset. Louis Oosthuizen, Jordan Spieth and others who are near the top of the leaderboard all have a similar ability to be world-class iron strikers.
In watching the Open Championship there’s one quality you can look for on television that they all share. Spieth, Morikawa and Oosthuizen all move very well through the ball. To create this level of consistent impact it’s not just about what the club is doing, but also the body. Controlling the trajectory of your shots like Morikawa requires a coordinated weight shift. That’s the key to watch this weekend. Don’t get distracted by the swinging club, but rather lock in on their lower body action.
When Collin coils up, he loads energy (or weight) into his right side. Then in transition his first move is to drive that weight forward into the lead toes, turn his body and then swing. While turning, the weight moves its way toward the entire outside of the lead foot. This dynamic motion creates power and consistency.
We are all looking to create Collin’s compression in our iron game. Rick Sessinghaus is Morikawa’s PGA Coach and together they work very hard on this skill. To get a reliable feel for how he moves through each shot try this drill.
Head to the practice range and warm up. Once you are swinging at full speed and feel loose, select a six iron. Before you place a ball down, let’s rehearse the movement of this drill. Start in your normal address position. Before you take a backswing, move your lead foot back next to your trail foot. They should be just a couple inches apart.
Now start your backswing. As you reach the top of your turn away, you will feel very grounded behind where the ball should be. As the club reaches the top take a step toward the target with your lead foot. This will be a new feeling for most players. In one respect you feel the club still swinging back and at the same time your weight will start forward.
Follow the movement of that lead foot with your downswing. Sweep the grass and notice how much weight you feel in that lead foot. Follow through to a full finish. Keep repeating this motion without a ball until you can coordinate it reliably. Lead foot back, take your backswing, step to the target and swing through.
Now perform the drill with a ball. Start with it on a tee. Gain some confidence with your movement and the strike. Then graduate to the ground. You won’t believe the results. Welcome to Collin Morikawa’s world!
Endless amounts of lessons are performed by PGA Coaches like Rick Sessinghaus helping students feel a proper weight shift in their golf swing. This dynamic drill will help you define that feeling for yourself. With a proper weight shift in your swing, you will soon notice more shaft lean at impact and extension in your follow through. Two very coveted traits in a great golf swing.
Keith Stewart is a 5-time award-winning PGA Professional with 25 years of experience in the golf industry. His network of players, coaches and insiders provide him with a unique perspective on the game. He's a writer on PGA.com and host of the ProShow on ESPN 920 AM Friday afternoons at 3:00pm EDT. Check out his PGA Coaching articles archived here or his conversations on air with this link to his website The ProShow.
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