After taking some time off last season to deal with his mental health, Matthew Wolff has made quite the mark on the PGA Tour this season so far.
So far this year, the 22-year-old has posted a collective 49 under par through only 10 rounds, and was the 36-hole leader at Mayakoba this weekend.
So what’s worked so well recently with his swing? According to his coach, George Gankas, it starts with his setup to the ball.
The big pillar of their address position is getting Wolff to have the back of his armpits sitting directly over the balls of his feet.
This is the position that makes Wolff feel the most comfortable. He even mentioned, after his Tour career best 61 on Thursday, that the key was feeling comfortable over every shot. This is probably a helpful address position for many of us at home as well.
Where Wolff gets into trouble, and starts feeling like he’s right on top of the ball at address, according to Gankas, is when he’s aligning his armpits over his toes. Flexing his knees helps alleviate this and also assists the talented 22-year-old in making more of a shoulder turn.
A fuller shoulder turn? That must be a scary thought for Wolff’s competitors as he already finished fourth on the PGA Tour in driving distance in 2020-21. He currently leads that category by himself in the early part of this season.
This shoulder turn topic leads us into the three swing components Wolff is currently working on with Gankas. His coach stresses that a fuller shoulder turn for both Wolff’s left and right shoulders has been a key.
“He wasn’t turning all the way back in his golf swing, so we’ve been starting to turn his shoulders back a little bit more,” Gankas said. “He was trying to turn his hips and he didn’t realize that his shoulders weren’t turning back. So I showed him some videos in college (Oklahoma State) where he was hitting it his best. We always refer back to old videos and in this case that little missing piece (in his swing).
The other big component is getting his elbow at ninety degrees at the top of his backswing. Wolff already has one of the steepest takeaways in the game, so telling him to have his right elbow at ninety degrees apparently allows him to ‘shallow out' his steep takeaway on the downswing, Gankas says.
Speaking of the downswing, Wolff is also trying to bow his left wrist as it transitions to the downswing.
“His left wrist isn’t really bowed until he starts his transition, and he has a weak grip to begin with, so a bowed wrist is mandatory,” Gankas explained. “He started missing it right and both ways. Once he flexed (his left wrist) more, it started getting better.”
An already dangerously long player now finding consistency and eliminating his misses? That sounds like quite the force for his peers to handle over these next few weeks.
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Garrett Johnston is a golf reporter and presenter who’s covered pro golf for 12 years including over 30 majors. His goal each year is always to “grow with the rookies” on Tour. The idea is to get to know the superstars before they become household names. Tony Finau, Gary Woodland, and Patrick Reed are just some of the players Johnston has covered from their early pro careers for their hometown newspapers. Johnston’s favorite event is always The Open, and he credits his unforgettable experience covering the 2015 Open at St. Andrews where he got to interview Tom Watson (in his final Open) and winner Zach Johnson exclusively throughout the week as his favorite event so far. Johnston has also developed a strong rapport with Tour caddies and regularly contributes to Caddie Network and Golf.com. He also has his own podcast: Beyond The Clubhouse
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