Matthew Wolff’s swing is even more fascinating in slow motion

Matthew Wolff

Matthew Wolff hits his tee shot on the 9th hole at Detroit Golf Club on Saturday.

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Matthew Wolff jerks his left leg forward, then brings it back. This starts his golf swing. He moves his arms back, keeping the clubhead outside his hands. He raises his club upward, reaching a point to where you could almost draw a straight line from the clubhead to the ground. As he goes through his backswing, his left foot raises.

The move is unconventional. His swing coach, George Gankas, has said “the backswing just looks different to everybody.”

Just don’t look away.

You might miss the best part. 

In a slow-motion video shown Saturday, CBS analyst Frank Nobilo said Wolff is just trying to take the club back in the air during his backswing. “That’s all he does. Nice and high,” he says as a colored outline follows the club up. His downswing move is what made him last year’s NCAA individual champion, a winner on the PGA Tour in just his third start and the third-round leader of this week’s Rocket Mortgage Classic

“But the magic move comes from here,” Nobilo said as a different colored outline follows the club down, completing a circle around Wolff. “Then he just reroutes it. And this is where it starts to look really good. Watch as he starts to pull the handle right there – it looks like he’s absolutely perfect. Then you just deliver. 

“So forget what he does on the backswing. It’s just a method to get the club back. Through there, allows that head to rotate. It’s a really good move.”

Gankas said the finish is without equal. The backswing is as unique as the downswing is unmatched. 

“The backswing just looks different to everybody, but if you look purely at his pivot, the only thing that looks different than anybody is really his lead leg,” Gankas, a GOLF Magazine Top 100 teacher, said in a video released by the PGA Tour. “His foot comes off, his left leg comes in, more like Jack Nicklaus. That would be the biggest difference. But he has a huge turn.

“There are some moves that don’t look conventional, but down through the ball, it’s as good as anybody in the world.”

Wolff’s playing partner the first two days of the Rocket Mortgage Classic, Vijay Singh, has looked at many swings over his 57 years, 34 PGA Tour titles and three major championships. He looked at Wolff’s swing up close over 36 holes. 

Looks good. Even the backswing.

“The one thing that he did say is he thinks on TV and the announcers, the way they emphasize my hip or my trigger, he said in person it doesn’t look that weird because – I mean, not weird; he says it doesn’t look as unorthodox as they’re describing it because it’s all part of the swing,” Wolff said Singh told him. 

““He said it’s really cool, and I should stick with it. Not that I plan on changing it, but it was cool to hear that from him.”

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Nick Piastowski

Golf.com Editor