As a student of golf for over 25 years, I have seen hundreds of golfers in pursuit of the perfect swing.
If there’s one thing my experience has taught me, it is that there are a few common roadblocks that inhibit most golfers from reaching their potential. A perfect example of this is the “static address” – the idea that you must be motionless while standing over the ball before you start your swing.
Professional golfers have proven that the dynamic address, or “waggle”, can result in cleaner impacts resulting in superior range and accuracy. This tutorial will help you understand the motion of the waggle and how to use it to optimize your golf game.
Introducing The “Waggle”
There have been several golfers on the PGA Tour who have employed the waggle: Sergio Garcia, Jason Dufner, and one of the greats of the game, Ben Hogan. It is used while approaching and addressing the ball before the backswing begins, and is designed to help you visualize your backswing, resulting in a more fluid motion.
Should You Use The Waggle?
The waggle is a simple tool designed to help golfers of any experience level improve their drives, fairway play or short game. You should try the waggle if you:
Are too rigid over the ball before your swing begins
Have trouble bending your knees at address or lock your arms during your swing
Rotate at the hips during your swing
Do not finish your backswing at the same point every time you swing
If you are unsure whether or not you meet these criteria, try recording yourself with a camera the next time you’re at the driving range. If you cannot reliably predict where your next shot will land, you might try the waggle to help improve your consistency.
How To Waggle
The waggle is an easy motion designed to relax you and take your mind off of your swing, so don’t overthink it.
There are two criteria for a successful waggle:
Keep shifting your weight from foot to foot at regular intervals
Keep the club head in motion, practicing the initial part of your backswing
Follow the step-by-step instructions below, and you will be waggling like a pro in no time.
Step 1: Address the Ball
The waggle is a dynamic golf stance which will have you moving from the moment you address your ball to the moment you hit it. Begin by addressing your ball with your current golf stance.
Step 2: Be Dynamic
Once you are properly set up in address, begin shifting your weight from foot to foot while keeping your head, torso, arms and feet in the same positions.
If your club head is moving with respect to your ball during this step, you are moving too much.
Do not shift your entire weight from foot to foot – imagine splitting it 80/20 as you shift your weight from one direction to the other. The purpose of this is to get you accustomed to the weight shift in your backswing, and to create a rhythm prior to your swing.
Some golfers like to lift their feet while waggling. This isn’t necessary, but it may help you feel more comfortable. Try out both options (lifting your feet or keeping them planted) and see which works best for you.
The best way to visualize this movement is to think of tennis players receiving a serve. Before a serve, you will see them swaying from side to side to cover as much ground as possible. You do not need to sway in this fashion, but you do want to create a rhythm.
Step 3: Practice Your Backswing
Once you have created a rhythm for your backswing, pull the head of the club back approximately a quarter of the way into your backswing using only your wrists.
If you are right-handed, this motion should occur while you are shifting your weight to your right foot. The reverse is applicable for lefties. The club head should never reach higher than your knees during this step. An ideal waggle will keep the club head off of the ground at all times, so make sure that you begin and end each waggle before or above your ball.
If you are unsure whether or not you are doing this right, pay attention to the index finger on your dominant hand. The first knuckle (the knuckle you knock on doors with) should be directly over the ball at all times, even while you are drawing back the club head.
If your index finger’s knuckle is not hovering over the ball, you are using your arms instead of your wrists to lift the club. This will result in inconsistent backswings and inaccurate shots.
Step 4: Imagine Your Backswing
Once you have mastered the steps above, use each lifting motion to imagine where your club will go when you begin your backswing. If the motion is inconsistent or you feel that one waggle was more powerful than others, do not be afraid to step back and try again from the beginning.
The point of the waggle is to relax your body prior to each and every shot, increasing your consistency regardless of your swing’s technical ability.
Step 5: The Final Address
By this step you should:
Be shifting your weight from foot to foot at regular intervals
Be lifting your club head, practicing your backswing
Have regular waggle intervals in preparation for your shot
Once you are comfortable in this stance, have picked out your target and are satisfied with the beginning of your backswing, momentarily address your ball one final time by placing the club just behind it, resting on the ground. As soon as your club touches the ground, initiate your backswing and strike the ball.
In Summary: The Waggle
I hope you have enjoyed reading this tutorial on the waggle. I have found that it is an incredible tool for beginners since the entire golfing world is constantly pushing the idea of “the perfect swing”.
Look at the pros on the PGA TOUR today and tell me which swings are identical. I think it’s better to find a swing style that fits your needs. The waggle is a great tool for relaxing even the tensest golfers to help them build consistency, distance and accuracy into their game with a very minor change to their stance. Try out the steps outlined above and see if it helps you with your game!
Note: Jordan Fuller is a golf advocate who loves to teach beginners on the weekend. Passionate about everything golf, it is after seeing beginners always make the same mistakes that he decided to create an universal source of knowledge on golf, called Golf Influence.