No part of the golf swing is more misunderstood than the waggle, the series of movements immediately prior to the takeaway. The waggle helps prepare the body for the motion to follow and is a good transition from thinking about the shot to executing the shot. By incorporating a waggle into your pre-shot routine, you will feel more relaxed and confident as you play the shot.
Many golfers set up to the ball and then freeze while tension builds in their muscles. The longer they stand there, the more their chances of hitting a good shot decrease. A waggle ensures that you maintain athletic motion right up to the beginning of the swing.
What exactly is the waggle? It’s a miniature version of the takeaway, which is accomplished by a slight movement of the hands and wrists to take the golf club away from and back to the ball. Although many good players use an “up and down” motion, I recommend a “back and forth” waggle of the clubhead for the simple reason that this can serve as a rehearsal for the takeaway, or a way to program the proper feel for the coming shot.
The waggle sets the stage for the swing path and plane. Let’s say you need to hit a draw. Waggle the club on a slightly inside path to set up the inside-out motion you will need to produce the shot. Likewise, you might waggle on a slightly outside path before attempting to fade. Remember, make each waggle an individual action. Tailor your waggle for the shot you are playing.
Waggling the club also helps to establish rhythm and tempo for the shot. A good waggle breeds continuity of motion through the club, hands, arms, body, and feet. In addition to the variance of the shape of the waggle, the tempo also should vary. Use a slower waggle for short, soft shots and a faster waggle for longer shots. Again, the waggle should match the shot you plan to play.
Treat the waggle as part of your swing. Your mind will become accustomed to the motion and will begin to recognize it as a “time to play” signal. As you waggle the club, relax and free your body of tension. Try to feel the weight of the clubhead in your hands. This will keep your grip pressure from becoming too tight. Visualize the shot as you waggle and concentrate on the tempo and “feel” of the swing you plan to make.
Finally, end the waggle by starting the swing. The waggle will help to produce the path and tempo you have already established and should be the last movement before you trigger your takeaway.
We all know how important it is to be comfortable on the golf course. Being comfortable makes the game easier and improves your play. That’s what the waggle is all about. Make your waggle a part of your practice routine as well as your on-course routine. Work with different waggles and see how they affect the way you feel as you prepare to play a shot. You will find it a valuable tool for your golf swing.