January 20, 2022
By GolfWRX, PGATOUR.COM
- A look at the face of Matthew Wolff's TaylorMade Stealth Plus driver. (Courtesy of GolfWRX)
LA QUINTA, Calif. – At just 22 years old, Matthew Wolff is one of the most exciting players on the PGA TOUR. He wields a fierce golf swing, hits the ball a mile high, and ranked fourth on the PGA TOUR in driving distance last year.
Distance can be a gift, but also a curse at times. Long hitters on the PGA TOUR can have an undeniable leg up on certain holes and courses, but when there’s trouble off the tee, their advantage gets minimized as accuracy becomes the priority. Tighter holes can work to even the playing field and take driver out of the hands of big hitters.
But what happens when a long hitter starts to hit the ball straighter? Theoretically, it could put driver back into their hands more often, since the risk of driving it into trouble is reduced. In that case, the length advantage would return, even on difficult driving holes.
That could be the case this year for Wolff, due to an off-season equipment change. Thanks to his new TaylorMade Stealth Plus driver, Wolff says he’s not only hitting the ball longer, but he’s hitting it straighter on mishits, too.
“I think I may be inclined to take more drivers this year and use it as a weapon, even on holes that are maybe a little tighter,” Wolff told GolfWRX. “I think (I’ve gained) a few miles per hour, but nothing drastic. I’m not really looking for speed. I’m looking for that dispersion and consistency to get brought in a little more. I’m really happy with it. I’m really excited to put it in play. I already feel like I have a lot of confidence with it, and I’m hitting it a lot better.”
Wolff said the company’s past drivers tended to be a bit unforgiving on shots hit off-center. The new TaylorMade Stealth drivers, which are made with an all-new 60-layer carbon composite face, however, don’t have those same issues for Wolff.
“I think it’s the best driver that TaylorMade’s ever had,” Wolff said. “I feel like it’s the perfect in-between of when you hit it good, it obviously reacts the way you want it to, but even the misses are really good. I think that my dispersion has been brought in quite a bit.”
With a brand new face material (and color) for 2022, it’s understandable for golfers to skeptical of the Stealth design. Wolff, though, says the changes have helped with both performance and feel.
“It’s not so much that I can tell the difference sound-wise, but feel-wise… I just feel like the misses off the toe or the heel aren’t so hard,” Wolff explains. “It’s a pretty soft face, in my opinion, which I really like, because when you miss the center, it’s pretty forgiving.”
Additionally, while Wolff says he’s sticking with his trusty SIM2 3-wood from last year, he’s added a new TaylorMade Stealth Plus 5-wood into the bag for 2022. For Wolff, the 5-wood will be an option from week-to-week, replacing his P-7MC 3-iron depending on course conditions.
“This 5-wood I put in…it goes like 260-265 yards and kinda replaces my 3 iron,” Wolff said. “The 3-iron is really good for off the tee, and I feel like I have a lot of confidence with it. But going into par-5s, it’s kind of hard to get it up in the air sometimes, so I’ve put that 5-wood in. Sometimes I’ll have the 3 iron, sometimes I’ll have the 5-wood, just depending on how I feel that week and the conditions. If it’s windy I’ll probably keep the iron in, but if it’s out here (The American Express), or there’s no wind and I can put the ball up in the air, I’ll probably put the 5-wood in.”
If the new TaylorMade clubs perform like he says they do, Wolff will be even more exciting to watch this year. He enters the week ranked 10th in the FedExCup after finishing no worse than 17th in four fall starts, including two top-5s.