When you win the Wannamaker Trophy you know how to excel at championship golf. Every player on the PGA Tour is an amazing player, but those major champions have a little something extra. Actually, it’s a whole lot of little somethings. When it comes to playing Harbor Town, there’s one specific detail that always catches my eye.
One of those championship stars is the fourth-ranked player in the world, Collin Morikawa. Probably the best iron player currently in the game. Since we all focus on his acumen with the irons, we might just miss some of his other skills on the course. One thing is his ability to thoughtfully play a target-conscious course like the one at Hilton Head.
Through two rounds, Collin is Top 10 in Strokes Gained Tee to Green and Strokes Gained Total.
Even though we mere golfing mortals may not be able to replicate that feat on the course this weekend, there’s one thing Collin does that we can do.
During the coverage, watch Collin tee off. Whether it is a Par 3, 4 or 5 makes no difference. Collin uses the whole tee box.
Golf is a game of angles. When playing a very demanding course like Harbor Town or Kiawah’s Ocean Course next month in the PGA Championship, great players will take full advantage of the teeing ground. Believe it or not, moving from one side of the teeing area to the other can make a world of difference.
Here’s a simple system PGA Coach Rick Sessinghaus has discussed with Collin, and your PGA Coach can show you.
When you arrive at the tee box, consider your personal shot shape. Do you like to hit the ball left to right or right to left? For brevity, this will be a right-handed example. If it’s left to right, then get to the right side of that tee box. For the opposite player get to the left side. This position will give you the maximum amount of space on each hole to fit your shot pattern into the fairway, or hit the green. If you are a straight ball hitter, get to the side that lines up with the most fairway landing area.
Just this one change in your game can really make an impact. In golf, there are always more challenges to face. The above example applies best when there are no trees or objects in the way, it's calm and the hole is relatively straight. In keeping with this mindset, once you head to your normal side, take a look in front of you — If there’s an obstacle in the way, please adjust accordingly. After all, golf is a fluid game.
Once you realize the power of this new PGA Tour tactic, you might even want to try it on the practice range. Tiger once told me he never warms up on the right side of the range. Why? Because he likes to see himself hit high draws during his warmup and quite frankly most ranges you just cannot do that from the right side. Great players = Details.
Although we may never hit shots like Collin or Tiger, we all can certainly copy their approach to hitting successful tee shots.
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.