If there’s any pro who knows what it takes to be successful at every level of the game, it’s Matt Wallace.
The 31-year-old Englishman won twice in his lone year as a collegiate player at Jacksonville State in Alabama before joining the pro ranks on the Alps Tour. Six tournament wins there earned him a promotion to the Challenge Tour, where another win punched his ticket to the European Tour.
Wallace won a whopping four times on the European Tour in 2017 and 2018, two of which were via playoff, and has since been competing both overseas and on the PGA Tour. He’s currently ranked 68th in the world as he closes in on a full decade as a professional golfer.
On this week’s episode of Off Course with Claude Harmon, Harmon asked Wallace what advice he would give a young Alps Tour player on what it really takes to make it on the big stage, and Wallace didn’t hesitate.
“Probably some of the best advice I got from Dave McNeilly, my first caddie on the European Tour — it is different on different levels: The Alps Tour courses compared to Challenge Tour courses compared to European Tour and then PGA. And then majors, WGCs,” Wallace said. “I know for a fact on the Alps Tour, Challenge Tour, European Tour, in a sense, drive it well and putt well. If your driving is off — it doesn’t have to be that great — because of the rough and the courses that you play, but if you drive it well and putt well on those lesser tours you’re going to score really well and you’re going to have a great chance.
“That’s more the technical side,” Wallace continued. “Having priority, on the Alps Tour, it’s tough. It’s tough mentally, it’s tough to get the money to go, you’re not making anything. But you’ve got to back yourself, and you’ve got to invest in yourself. My whole chat with potential sponsors at my golf club, or whoever I played with, I always took pro-ams seriously, because you never know who you’re playing with. You can play great with a guy and give him lessons and stuff and then go, hey, what are you doing financially? Anything like that. I’d always take them really seriously. You’ve got to invest in yourself. You’ve got to invest in your travel.”
For Wallace, learning from experience was also key.
“Another thing, you’ve got to be really smart in your game,” he said. “I knew that I was losing tournaments or playing bad rounds because I felt great, in position to win a tournament coming down the 17th hole the final round of the tournament, and I’d feel good and I’d hit one off-line. To me that would be technical. So I felt great, mentally and everything, and then it’s just, boom. So I knew that I needed to work on my technique. That was a smart move for me. That was me learning myself. Not digging myself out or going oh, I need to work harder. Just, what do I actually need to do here? So, learning your game, learning your game really well.”
For more from Wallace, including the quality that sets top-tier Tour pros apart from the rest, and the valuable lesson he learned while playing one year of college golf, check out the full interview below.