If you have been looking at repeat NCAA Div 1 Champion Matt Wolff’s swing, you’re sure to be distracted by his funky-looking back swing and top position, but when you look at the part that really matters, it’s pretty darned good.
I’ll show you his down swing after the club has reached the plane of a more orthodox-looking swing, and you can see an excellent “3 O’Clock” position (other than the high trailing heel, but that’s an optimal matter, not a mechanically-unsound one), and a pretty good impact:
I’ve paused it at the “3 O’Clock” position (very nice) and stopped it at impact, and there’s one thing I want you to look closely at, which is his left foot at impact – it’s flat on the ground:
However, you can see that at impact, his right leg is fully extended, and the toe is still on the ground, which is why he then “jumps out of the way” with his left leg and foot post-impact – and we all know, or should, that nothing you do after impact will affect the ball.
So, this jump is not a power move, as you’re going to hear endlessly when his swing is shown on television, because it only jumps after impact:
You can see that there is absolutely no hip turn post impact, which is why that left leg flies around the way it does.
I’ve said repeatedly, and I’ll say it again, that when a golfer leaves the ground during a swing, it is a compensation for something else in the swing, either mechanics or setup, that require this – in Matt’s case, the anchored right foot and extended leg mean that the hips have reached their maximum turn point because the right leg does not stretch.
So, in order to both keep the down swing going around to the finish, and to avoid blowing his entire lower body joints (from the lower back to hip to ankle) with the rotational force of that swing, something has to give, and Matt then joins the “Flying Foot Syndrome” club.
While the right toe does release slightly, you’ll see that it slides backward and not towards the target, and only as the left foot leaves the ground. So, this is a swing and body-saving compensation post-impact, and has nothing to do with being a way to generate “ground force” or “vertical lift,” and it’s not “using the ground,” whatever serving of tripe you will be offered to sample from the analyst’s platter of bull.
The swing is unorthodox, but the impact is all that matters, and nothing in this swing gives me any cause for concern of injury – he has a Classic Golf Swing action where the hips are fully turning (see that left heel come up on the back swing when you watch him swing a club), which means he’s not twisting his lower back to get a shoulder turn, and that left foot jump is actually saving Matt from torque injury by releasing it.
Of course, you can avoid this altogether by having the right foot release with the shift of weight to the left foot, which is the mechanically-correct way to do it.
In conclusion, the fact that a swing like this works for Matt is not a guarantee of success for anyone else, nor does guarantee future success or domination for Matt as a pro, because compensations require timing.
So, this swing will work as long as it does.
Until it doesn’t.
But the swing aside, Matt Wolff is obviously a very talented player, because as I said to Fred Greene in our podcast interview for his show, GolfSmarter, the golf swing and playing the game of golf are two completely different things.
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