Mike, '72 was the first year of the "super beetle". They were super sensitive to slightly out of balanced front tires and anything over 3/32 of of tire run-out, the MacPherson struts would transfer any vibration/shimmy to the steering wheel. Add to that, if the steering damper has any wear or leaking, the driver had his hands full.
I'd check the steering damper first, it's easy to crawl under and peek to see if there's any leakage of fluid...it's just like a shock absorber. If there is any leakage, take the strut arm end nut loose and see if there's any dampening left. If your model is not a super beetle, IIRC, the older style front-end still has a damper and that's where my money is on the problem.
I'd still have those front tires checked for proper balance and run-out. Bob