Inside Matthew Wolff and George Gankas’ ‘secret language’

Just about every element of Matthew Wolff’s game can by described by a single word: unconventional. The 21-year-old phenom’s impossibly wonky swing comes in large part due to his impossibly wonky swing coach, GOLF Top 100 Teacher George Gankas.

Wolff and Gankas have worked together for years. Their relationship dates back to Wolff’s teenage days, prior to his rise to stardom at Oklahoma State and explosion on the PGA Tour in 2019.

While Gankas takes on lots of high profile clients (recently adding Shark Tank investor Robert Herjavec to his stable of professional and amateur projects), he’s been lauded in particular for his work with Wolff, who blossomed into a star on his own unconventional terms.

But as Wolff explained on this week’s Subpar Podcast, perhaps the most unconventional part of his relationship with Gankas is their preferred method of communication. The two speak in Gankas’ highly unique brand of gibberish, a language Wolff tried his best to decode.

“[The words] mean anything you want them to mean, really,” Wolff said. “Scooby’s one of them, you could be like ‘Hey, I’m going to get some Scooby snacks’ or like ‘What up, Scooby?’ describing someone.”

Scooby, like the children’s character, that seems normal enough, right?

Sadly, “Scooby” may be the most normal of the Gankasisms, but that’s also by design.

“Then there’s ‘squamdow,’ and ‘skooshie,'” Wolff said. “It’s almost like a joke to him. He’ll look at someone’s swing and if you’re screwing around or something, he’ll be like ‘Oh yeah, you just wanna get squamdow here, and then through impact you get skooshie, and then from there you get centrifugal and then you get pterodactyl sauce.'”

In Wolff’s estimation, Gankas’ secret language sounds completely nonsensical, but that’s part of the point. The words don’t have meaning, but they’re how he keeps people attentive — including his 21-year-old superstar client.

“I’m still learning new things every single day,” he said. “He’s the best as using acronyms and stuff, like ENBH and whatnot.”

For Wolff and others, training with Gankas is as much about emotional discipline as it is about physical discipline.

“I think it just keeps everyone humble,” he said. “You have to pay for your own golf balls, you hit off mats. It’s just not a place you go and you find those guys who are warming up with Titleist ProV1s.”

To hear the rest of Wolff’s interview, check out the video below or subscribe to GOLF’s Subpar wherever podcasts are found.

James Colgan

Golf.com Editor

James Colgan is an assistant editor at GOLF, contributing stories for the website and magazine on a broad range of topics. He writes the Hot Mic, GOLF’s weekly media column, and utilizes his broadcast experience across the brand’s social media and video platforms. A 2019 graduate of Syracuse University, James — and evidently, his golf game — is still defrosting from four years in the snow, during which time he cut his teeth at NFL Films, CBS News and Fox Sports. Prior to joining GOLF, James was a caddie scholarship recipient (and astute looper) on Long Island, where he is from.