Kamis, 28 Desember 2017

Ben Hogan on the Waggle

Ben Hogan needs no introduction. Besides his legendary return from a near-fatal car crash to become a nine-time major winner, his book Five Lessons is considered a foundational text for modern golf instructors. Today's quote is from that book.

Ben Hogan

I confess that, while I think Hogan was brilliant, he was a bit too mechanical for my tastes. But I also believe -- and I try to repeat it frequently in this blog -- that every golfer is different. If you find a swing method that works for you (and doesn't hurt!) then you should ignore the critics and stick with it. And I know a number of you have great success following Hogan's approach.

But many of you don't waggle the way he taught  Let Ben tell you how it's done in his own words. Bear in mind that he was righthanded, so you lefties will need to take that into account. And yes, he wrote a lot of this section in ALL CAPS.
In the waggle, the left hand is the controlling hand. The right works along with the left. EACH TIME YOU WAGGLE THE CLUB BACK, THE RIGHT ELBOW SHOULD HIT THE FRONT PART OF YOUR RIGHT HIP, JUST ABOUT WHERE YOUR WATCH POCKET IS. WHEN THIS TAKES PLACE, THE LEFT ELBOW, AS IT MUST, COMES OUT SLIGHTLY. THE LOWER PART OF THE ARM FROM THE ELBOW DOWN ROTATES A LITTLE, AND THE LEFT HAND MOVES THREE INCHES OR SO PAST THE BALL TOWARD THE TARGET. AS THE HANDS MOVE BACK TO THE BALL ON THE FORWARD WAGGLE, THE LEFT HAND ALSO MOVES AN INCH OR TWO PAST THE BALL TOWARD THE TARGET. During the waggle, the upper part of the arms remain rooted against the sides of the chest. As we stated earlier, there should be no turning of the shoulders. [p66-67]
Note that your upper arms remain tight against the sides of the chest and the shoulders don't turn during your waggle BUT your hands move both forward and backward. That part of the description sounds a bit weird -- the left hand moves forward on both the backward waggle as well as the forward one -- but Hogan addresses the ball with both hands even or just a bit behind the ball. The lead hand is ahead of the ball during the entire waggle, then it moves back to give him something of a "running start" into his backswing. Waggles are a very specific kind of movement and, if you want to copy Hogan, you need to move your hands correctly.

Although I feel Hogan's swing was too mechanical, he clearly didn't think so -- especially where the waggle was concerned. Later on p67 he says:
The rhythm of the waggle varies with each shot you play. DON'T GROOVE YOUR WAGGLE. IT TAKES INSTINCT TO PLAN AND PLAY A GOLF SHOT, AND YOUR PREPARATIONS FOR EACH SHOT MUST BE DONE INSTINCTIVELY.
Analysts often complain that Jason Dufner isn't consistent in the number of waggles he makes before a shot, but clearly Hogan would have approved.

Regardless of how Hogan-esque your technique may or may not be, the waggle's purpose is to relieve the tension in your hands and arms while preparing them for the motion in your takeaway. No matter who you are or what technique you use, you can learn something from Ben Hogan.

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