Collin Morikawa, two significant gear changes

Finding a weakness in Morikawa's game is no simple feat

by Andrea Gussoni
Collin Morikawa, two significant gear changes
© Lintao Zhang / Getty Images Sport

Despite Collin Morikawa's star power, early success and impressive consistency on the course, it can be easy to forget that he had not won a PGA TOUR event since the 2021 Open Championship - a surprising fact considering his five PGA TOUR victories and two majors before his 25th birthday.

Collin Morikawa, results

Finding a weakness in Morikawa's game is no simple feat. He currently ranks 10th in Strokes Gained: Total, 19th in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee and second in Strokes Gained: Approach the Green during the 2022-2023 season, and his almost flawless fade shot means he rarely misses shots.

However, once on the green, Morikawa's putting had become a concern, ranking just 178th in Strokes Gained: Putting during the 2020-21 PGA TOUR season despite ranking 1st in Strokes Gained: Approach the Green that same season.

To address this issue and improve his consistency on the greens, Morikawa teamed up with renowned putting instructor Stephen Sweeney - whose list of PGA TOUR and global students is long and impressive - at the start of 2023.

At the time, Morikawa was using a TaylorMade TP Soto putter with a popular LA Golf 135-gram composite shaft, also used by fellow PGA TOUR player Tom Kim, winner of the Shriners Children's Open.

The skillful golfer Collin Morikawa was seen on the green with his impressive putter, equipped with a groundbreaking Mitsubishi Diamana P-105-gram prototype putter shaft - an innovation that has been causing a stir in the world of golf.

After working with his coach, Sweeney, for some time, Morikawa made the decision to stick with his tried-and-true putter for most of 2023.

However, he and Sweeney began to notice that the subtle difference in weight between the head and graphite shaft of Morikawa's lightweight TP Soto blade putter was impacting his feel. While Morikawa desired an extra stiff putter shaft, he was keen to maintain the consistency of his stroke.

After testing several products, including the Mitsubishi Diamana P-135 shaft which boasted stability and reduced torque throughout the stroke, Morikawa still found them too heavy.

Fortunately, Mitsubishi's designers were able to build Morikawa a 1-of-1 prototype which retained the desired stiffness, yet weighed in at an impressive 105 grams.

In this way, Morikawa was able to match his chosen ultra-lightweight TP Soto blade putter head with the perfect shaft and found the answer to his quest for improved performance.

The transformative effect of this prototype putter shaft will no doubt continue to be watched closely by golf enthusiasts around the world.

Prior to the Ryder Cup, Morikawa conducted extensive testing with the Mitsubishi Diamana prototype shaft at TaylorMade’s prestigious “The Kingdom” facility in Southern California.

Impressively, Morikawa put the new shaft into play for the event, showcasing his confidence in the product.

In his inaugural stroke-play PGA TOUR event using the Mitsubishi Diamana 105-gram prototype shaft, Morikawa dominated and emerged victorious in the ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP.

Unquestionably, a commendable start to the new partnership.

During the unpredictable 2023 FedExCup Playoffs, Morikawa made some significant gear changes that raised eyebrows. Ahead of the BMW Championship, Morikawa took a big chance and switched his golf ball model and the shafts in his long irons.

According to a TaylorMade representative who spoke with GolfWRX, "On Monday, late afternoon at the BMW Championship – so, one day after playing the FedEx St.

Jude Championship in Memphis – Collin felt that his driver and woods were spinning too much, and his long irons weren’t launching high enough. As for the testing process, TaylorMade’s Tour Team suggested testing the TP5x golf ball for lower spin, higher launch and more stability – especially in crosswinds – and to combine the ball switch with lighter shafts (True Temper Dynamic Gold “Mid” Tour Issue) in the long irons."

In the final round of the ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP, Collin Morikawa showed his impressive skills by hitting a long iron with his new golf gear, proving his game-winning mindset and determination.

Collin Morikawa expertly executed a prodigious long iron shot in the gripping final round of the ever-exciting ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP.

This remarkable feat was partially attributed to the modifications implemented in his equipment set-up, specifically the spin numbers that he sought with his woods, which also allowed him to maintain his beloved low-cut shot.

The calibration helped the ball persevere through the wind, launching with the desired angle in his long irons. This momentum was further bolstered by adding a touch of loft to his medium-range to shortened irons, affording him absolute control on the green.

Despite a strenuous testing session that transpired just a day after a gruelling playoff event, and after changing golf balls, Morikawa was unfazed and emerged triumphant as he clinched the elusive winner's circle. With six PGA TOUR triumphs under his belt, including two major championships, Morikawa now enjoys a finely tuned equipment setup that elevates his game to new heights.

Collin Morikawa