All eyes in the golf world have been on Matthew Wolff as of late. Not because he is the reigning NCAA Division 1 champion; or because he just secured his PGA Tour card for the next 2 years by winning the 3M Championship with an eagle on the 72nd hole. But because of his unique and unorthodox golf swing; a swing that every instructor and coach wanted to change, or “fix” during his decorated amateur career.
At first glance, Wolff’s takeaway looks like a swashbuckling double-digit handicap at the local muni. But on the downswing and at impact, he looks exactly like what he is; a world class player with tons of talent. You’d have to possess world-class talent to get the club in the proper positions from where he starts it. And we all know that’s the most important part when breaking down any golf swing: is the club in the correct position where it matters most? Impact. How can a guy hit the ball that far and that consistently with a backswing so ugly? Simple. You don’t hit the ball with your backswing.
When you see a player with obvious game, and an even more obvious “differently looking” golf swing, what matters most is that their sequencing and timing is correct; thus having the club in the proper positions. Being able to repeat this over and over again, especially in the heat of the moment, is the key to all of it. Every time we hear the term “unorthodox” or “weird” golf swing, we think Jim Furyk. How can a guy whose swing has been compared to “an octopus falling out of a tree” have the hall of fame career he has had? By owning his swing. By committing to the move and repeating it to the point you don’t even think about it. Furyk became a major champion and world-class ball striker. He was known for his accuracy in hitting fairways and greens, and having a gritty, never give up attitude.
Matthew Wolff’s swing is pretty much Furyk’s, but on a grander scale. Wolff is taller, stronger, and more athletic. So it looks more outlandish compared to Jim’s little compact move. Wolff takes it way outside, but makes a huge turn with his lower body and shoulders. This not only loads his right side, but makes sure he sets the club and his hand at the top of his swing. This leads to the club being on the correct path at the start of the downswing. From here to impact is where Matthew looks like every other touring pro. He just got there a little differently. But it all begins with a flex of his right knee and then actually lifting his left foot off the ground. This is a timing move he took from baseball to pull the trigger. Jack tucked his chin to the right. Matthew bends his knee.
Bryson DeChambeau finished in a tie for 2nd behind Wolff at the 3M. Here’s another player who swings and thinks unlike anyone else on tour. People told him for years you can’t compete at the highest level if all your irons are 6 iron length and you keep standing so upright; especially with your wedges. 5 wins and a Ryder Cup appearance later, Bryson is one of the most consistent players on tour.
It’s refreshing to see some young guys who don’t swing it like everyone else. The “more than one way to skin a cat” mantra is more aligned with the days of Johnny Miller, Lee Trevino, and Arnold Palmer. Today’s generation seems to march out of the modern golf swing cereal box, one as athletic and perfectly on plane as the next. This is a product of swing coaches and video cameras. Not to mention golf is more athletic than ever. Bubba Watson didn’t see his swing on video until well after he turned pro. And that is a breath of fresh air. No swing of Bubba’s is ever the same. That’s because he plays golf shots instead of golf swing. Too many players think about swing mechanics, especially during a round; rehearsing their takeaway or release in the middle of the fairway. I encourage you to play more by feel and use your imagination; especially when you are in a funk.
There is a golf swing for everyone. For every height, weight, shape, and ability; you just have to learn it, repeat it, and then own it. See your local pro and set a game plan, a goal, and get after it in the dirt. Swing your swing and trust the process. Rome wasn’t built in a day, but anything worth anything is always worth the time it takes to get there.
Enjoy the game and each other,
Written by Seth Zipay, Head Golf Professional
Published by Craig Walton