Golf tip: Waggles from Ben Hogan to Michelle Wie (Video)

Mandatory Credit: Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports /
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golf waggle
Sep 18, 2015; Lake Forest, IL, USA; Gallery walks past a large photo display of famed golfer Ben Hogan. Mandatory Credit: Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports /

This golf tip focuses on the elusive and mysterious waggle: what is it and what’s the right way to waggle? Tough question and there’s no easy answer. There are as many waggle techniques as there are golfers, yet the waggle is one of the game’s most misunderstood techniques.

Finding the waggle that works for you involves some trial and error, but it helps to understand the purpose of the waggle.

At its best, the golf waggle is a pre-shot routine that sets up a connection between feet, legs, arms, hands, club shaft and club head that carries through to the execution of the golf shot.

Is it like a practice swing? Sort of, but not exactly. The waggle, as Ben Hogan envisioned it, is one of three “absolute fundamentals” of the golf swing. (For those readers who are Hogan purists, the others are hip rotation and swing plane.)

The waggle can range from a barely perceptible flick of the club head to an elaborate and exaggerated set of body rehearsal motions, from one quick physical sequence to many, so many that playing partners and sports commentators alike feel compelled to comment on them. And just to further complicate the matter, there are different kings of waggles for different kinds of shots, although the most common waggle occurs as a preparation for the tee shot.

My own experience with the waggle has taught me that it’s a technique for reducing that inevitable physical and mental tension that seems to precede a golf shot.

Let’s face it: standing at address, gripping a golf club and contemplating a golf swing, can be a tension-inducing moment filled with hope and desire and anxiety and indecision and (although few golfers will admit it) even fear. Many, including Hogan, claim that the waggle disrupts the flow of those emotions into the body, reduces mental and physical tension and allows pure mechanics to take over the swing process.

We all know from experience that our best golf shots don’t begin from a dead stop. The setup for those best shots, the ones we’d like to be able to deliver consistently throughout a round of golf, begins well before address. Many claim the waggle is a crucial component of the process.

The video clips that follow offer a broad array of golf tips for developing an effective waggle. Let’s start with Ben Hogan, who may not have invented the waggle but who certainly helped golfers understand how to make best use of the technique.