Is Your Lead Arm Too Straight?

By | on July 28, 2013 | 15 Comments |


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Author Description

Paul Wilson

Paul Wilson is the creator of Swing Machine Golf and founder of Ignition Golf. Paul's golf swing technique is based on the Iron Byron swing machine. YouTube Channels: Paul Wilson Golf and Ignition Golf Tips. Please Join me on Google+

15 Responses to “Is Your Lead Arm Too Straight?”

  1. Paul, I watched your slow motion swing about 25 times looking at the various positions of your head, hips, arms and feet. I think it would be very helpful if you could supply a super slow motion video. I know Harvey Pinnick believed in this teaching approach and I think it makes sense for beginners, because it’s impossible to absorb every aspect of the swing in even multiple viewings.

    Thanks, Ron

    • Ron,

      I am thinking about how to do this. We are just getting so much shaft warping that it does not look right. I am trying to find a camera that works.

  2. Paul ,
    I know you are not in favor of the straight lead arm ,we’ve discussed the point previously .Apart from the fact that most “greats ” of the “Ancient “times had lead arms as straight as an arrow ,without having it stiff ,it is necessary that the radius established at address with the “staight ” lead arm remains constant ,without having to fold it and unfold it at the elbow ,which is hazardous ,and thht the length estabilshed at address is there again at the time of mipact without any “manoeuvering” of the arms .
    You can teach the left arm to remain straight ,without tightening,but of course it does take time :there are exercises to accomplish tis
    It is not necessary that we argue endlessly about it :I was taught this way and stick wth it whout having my straight left arm taught : a tip which was given to me by DAVID LEADBETTER a long time ago may prove useful for the adepts of the straight left arm :when arriving the top of the backswing ,slightly “pull ‘ with the club the right hand in the direction of the lead arm .
    I found that with the straight (Not tense ) left arm throughout the swing, combined with a very wide take away ,my clubhead speed was sensibly higher than when I “bent “the left arm going up .

  3. Raymond,

    I agree keeping the lead arm straight provides more width, but if you look at any good swing, the hands are ahead of the ball more than at the address position and there is a slight squatting motion that brings the hands slightly closer to the ground to make up for the lag angle all of which means the radius can not possibly be the same on the downswing.

    Google wide narrow wide golf swing and you’ll see much more on this.

    I also happen to believe (for myself), that keeping the arm ultra straight and initiating the down swing with the legs leads to me casting, sort of like a trebuchet. Having some bend in the arm allows me to keep the lag a bit longer.

  4. July 29, 2013


    Thanks so much Paul for this tip! While I am often working on keeping my hands and club wide for the swing arc, I so often have found that too much focus on that does exactly what you are saying – tightens my arms and tightens my grip. Nice to know that a little bit of bend is OK, AND feeds into the powerless arms that is the goal for a powerful result!! Hollie

    • Hollie,

      Haven’t heard from you in a while. Glad you are still working on it and you liked this tip. Too many people are too tight. We need to be loose/powerless. As you know, once you turn the arms off great things happen.

  5. Thanx a ton Paul. I joined your site October 2013, have viewed nearly every tip, and took a few lessons (with video analysis) at Golftown (I’m in Canada) to ensure I was doing what you demonstrated. My very first round of golf since highschool (I’m now 53) was exactly one year ago….carded 103 (rating 68.5, slope 120, yds 6000). Played the same course yesterday for the first time since then ….82! Your method works and works well! I’m living proof that THE instruction you provide is all THE viewers need to excel at golf. Thanx again…MIKE

    • Michael,

      That’s great news. I love hearing stories like yours. It never gets old. It just reenforces what I am teaching and that it works.

      Your next goal is the 70’s. This shouldn’t be too hard if you have made that much progress in this short a period of time. Really keep doing the practice swings and making sure the positions are more and more perfect then you’ll get there.

  6. Hi Paul, it’s getting to be tougher and tougher to ask questions around here…you have some pretty serious students of the game..I’m expecting Iron Byron to start tweeting any day now…just wondering about the sensation of the club feeling heavy…Do you have this sensation in both the backswing and downswing? Danny

    • Danny,

      Not too worry I will dig the questions from the heap. It may take a while to find them but hang in there.

      I feel the head going back because I am not using the arms to pull it back. Once the club is set in motion I am thinking more of the coil. I then sense the club again as it hits the top. Once I feel it set I go the other way. If you are trying to take the arms out then I would be aware of this heaviness going back. Too tight will lead you to be too fast so you won’t feel anything. If you can start feel something then you are on track. I would be going back slowly as I just mentioned so you have time to feel it.

  7. Hi Paul. Thanks for this tip, as it unexpectedly helped me with a swing flaw I didn’t realize I had developed. I was introducing lots of tension in my back swing arms by overturning to the point where I was really tensing up. So while trying out your “straight arm” tip, I realized I was pulling my hands back as far as I possibly could, all in the name of trying to create torque, and inadvertently creating lots of tension in my arms. A few sessions at the range have shown me that the overturning was adding nothing to my distance, but was introducing lots of inconsistency. So consider this an unexpected thank you.

    • Michael,

      Yes, that is not good. If those arms get trapped behind you there will be big problems. Your arms need to go up into position.

      Glad this got you back on track. Something to watch for in the future so it doesn’t happen again.

  8. September 8, 2013


    Hey Paul,

    Concentrating on the entire sequince Swing Plane Overview, Turn not Jump, The downswing sequence,understanding the initial move, how the center core moves and move your head beind the ball. All great stuff am now scratch on the range using a mirror followng each drill and the results are great. I hit 5 shots with each club beginning with the sand wedge all the way through every club. Perfect great exploding shots with the club but when I pass the 4 or three rescue clubs and pull out the five wood, it begins to deteriote with the then 3 wood going south then the Driver and it is all gone.

    Start over work backwords lower clubs back again up to the 5 or 3 wood then gone.

    Got out to the course par par bogie then driver or 3 wood . Gone back to over the top old swing which I have had for 40 years coming over the top cannot understand or stop this sequence any ideas?

    Best regards,

    Gerald Joyce (JayJay)

    • September 8, 2013

      Paul Wilson


      First, don’t hit 5 shots with every club. Warm up then stick to a 6 or 7 iron for the bulk of the practice. I want you getting used to one move. When you change clubs the feels is different. There is time between changing clubs etc. Stick to the mid irons with the goal you are going to work on perfect movement. You can hit longer clubs at the end of the practice session. I did a tip on this here:

      How To Work On Your Swing:

      Next, if you cannot take it to the course you do not have the right thoughts on the course plus you are thinking distance instead of positions. Think about it, you are changing something you have done for 40 years. In order to do that you need to b thinking of the new thing. In making this switch you cannot expect to so this at anywhere near top speed for a while. You also cannot expect anything for a while. When people try to take it to the course I want them to see a few good shots. You are thinking score because you said so. FORGET your score. Who cares what you shoot right now. All you should be caring about is doing your new movement on the course. On the course is a lot different than the range because there is only one ball to hit.

      I tell everyone to go out late a night by yourself with a bunch of balls in your pocket. Swing no more than 50%. Forget the ball and do the new move. Hit your shot. Hold it and check it. If you do not hit that one pull out another ball and keep hitting until you do it right.

      This tip is here:

      How To Take Your Swing From The Range To The Course:

      Next, in reading your comment you should have instantly known how to fix his move. You lost then you lost focus. Over the top is arms starting the downswing so instantly you should have know to slow down because you are starting to swing way too hard. In doing so you were most likely hitting slices. If so, your wrists were also locked up. To unlock the wrists you should be instantly rolling them over in practice swings then hitting your shot. I just did 2 weeks of tips about tilting your body behind the ball to stop the over the top move. So you need to be working on using the lower body to power the swing. If done right, the upper body will tilt back behind the ball allowing the club to attack from the inside. The main problem though is YOU trying to hit the ball hard. This is totally the wrong thought at this stage. Again, you need to be swinging was easier working on the movement NOT trying to hit great shots.

      You need to be doing this when you play:

      Hit, Hold and Check:

      So back to the drawing board. Play some rounds by yourself and focus on the new move. Once you get comfortable with your new move then you can do the new move faster with your legs and hips not hands and arms.

      If you have to play with your friends you do not keep or think about your score. You tell everyone on the tee that you are working on something. You swing no harder on every shot than 50%. Do multiple practice swings before each shot working on your positions and holding your finish. You then swing real easy and hold it. Take not of your shot and check your positions. If they are wrong fix them on the next shot in practice swing then try again.

      When you watch your ball watch the direction (body) and spin (wrists). If you pull hook it you used your arms but your wrists are releasing. You need more body. If you push it you need to turn more because you are driving the lower body too hard and sliding. If you are slicing you are hitting with arms (left) and your wrists are locked (slice spin). So you need to roll the wrists to fix the spin then use the body to straighten it back out.


      How to Cure the Direction:

      How to Cure the Spin:

      How to Cure the Contact:

      How to Cure Spin and Direction Problems:

      Stay focused. Do it this way and you will get it.

      Here is another tip you should watch:

      What To Think About When You Play:

  9. October 19, 2013


    Hi Paul:

    This tip really helped to take the arms out of the picture – all but curing my push-slice. The relaxed arm at the top seems to signal my brain to relax during the rest of the swing. Now, however, many of my shots are tending to be slightly left.

    When I was an arm-swinger, I used to snap my wrists to square the club head (mostly unsuccessfully). Now, even with powerless arms, I discovered I am often allowing just a hint of that wrist action to creep in – resulting in a slight pull. Yesterday, I concentrated on powerless wrists during my practice swings and my tee shots were much more on line. A free, full, flat hinging of the wrists at the top and light grip pressure seem to be a key for me to achieve this. I have found that the heavy feel of the club disappears when I allow my wrists to “help” the shot – and is there when I hit with relaxed, hinging wrists.

    It is amazing that anything I do to physically “help” my swing screws it up – I can let it happen but I can’t make it happen. One of the beauties of your instructional method is the ability to self-diagnose faults. This is extremely valuable.

    Thanks, Paul


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