Powerless Arms Test

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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+

63 Responses to “Powerless Arms Test”

  1. February 12, 2014


    “….you’ll just sit there whackin away at it, and, you’ll never improve.”

    This quote needs to be in everyone’s head before every round/practice session.

    • February 12, 2014


      PS, i was just thinking, would you support taking the focus off your arms by starting the back swing by thinking of your left shoulder coiling to the right side and then trigger the hips and touch the legs position? This would make only two thoughts: shoulder coiled to the right side ( which would load the weight to the right side) and then belt buckle to the target. thoughts?

    • February 12, 2014

      Paul Wilson


      Someone is listening to me … I like it!

  2. February 13, 2014


    Hi Paul,

    Would it be possible in the future, to do a tip where you hit your driver and it actually show that you carry the ball 270 yards. This would further drive home your point that you don’t have to kill the ball or rather powerless arms really work!!!

    I am sure a lot of your subscribers would be in owe…….

    Thank you.

  3. February 13, 2014


    Coach I get it. Can you run a tip on the actual release of the wrists? One has to maintain a flat left wrist at contact with forward lean of shaft on iron shots. But can you go over the hinging release so as to not confuse it with a flipping of wrists? I have seen so many tips that wrist hinge is always up and down and not side to side(flipping) that it would help to see your tip in slow motion accentuating the wrist release? As always great job.

  4. February 13, 2014


    Hey Paul,l

    This is just what I needed at the point of my attempt to learn the correct after 40 years coming over the top and hitting at the ball.

    Couple this with your 3:1 swings on the practice tee and wow you can actually feel and see the increase in distance.

    As I swing downward and out toward the target the unhinging of my wrists happens so fast I cannot see or feel this section. Is there a drill whereby I can set the backswing with my left shoulder and to a position maybe half way back where I can swing back and get more feel of the unhinging? Maybe this is to much to think about and I should just trust that it is happening.

    Great work keep it up.

    Best regards Gerald (JJ) Joyce

    • February 14, 2014

      Paul Wilson


      It’s a different way to swing for sure. Now you understand it you just have to get used to it. Keep focused on doing practice swings working on the swing positions and trying to make them perfect. As your swing gets better so will your shots.

      You should be doing this drill:

      Lag And Release Drill: https://ignitiongolf.com/lag-release-drill

  5. This is the best tip ever. Thx Paul.

  6. March 23, 2014


    Been Playing golf for 10 years with a 10 year break (7 handicap previously ) , just getting back to it . Looking over internet for refreshers . Without doubt Paul’s instruction is a stand out. The Powerless Arms video had me enthralled , I have never seen such a great explanation of the swing . Just signed up today , will definitely continue. Many Thanks

  7. March 23, 2014


    Reminds me of something I heard many years ago, not sure where , but definitely applies her… “Effortless Power, not Powerless Effort”

    • March 23, 2014

      Paul Wilson


      If you see a pro hit a ball with what appears to be an effortless swing why would you want to swing real hard at it? Everyone should be trying to swing easy. Hopefully everyone here is trying to work on it. It’s incredible once you get it.

  8. Hi Paul;
    When I start my practice session, I always start with my lob wedge. When hitting balls with this club, everything feels incredibly loose & I can easily hit it 70-75 yds with little effort, but can’t keep my swing that loose for other clubs. This just drives me crazy due to the fact when I go to the next club requiring more distance, I immediately start swinging harder. I tried your tip on using your full swing to hit 75% shots which as you stated, is really hard to do. I just watched the video with touching the basket which I haven’t yet tried but will as soon as I finish this e-mail. Why is it that putting a ball in front of someone immediately changes a great practice swing to trying to hit harder. The pro I occasionally work with put it this way. “I’ve seen a thousand great swings ruined by a golf ball.” I totally understand the powerless arms concept but just can’t make it happen with anything but a lob wedge. I know this isn’t something you can solve, I just needed to vent my frustration. Grrrr! Thanks for listening.

    • Michael,

      This is a because as you move to longer clubs your thought switches to distance. You actually care about where the ball is going instead of caring about your movement. I keep telling everyone this … FORGET THE BALL. You are there to develop the right movement. Perfect movement will hit perfect shots. Are you going to be great at it at first? NO. Does this mean you stop doing it? NO. So you keep trying to swing at 75% until you can do it (tee it up). IT IS A DRILL. Get good at doing the drill. Understand you are doing this drill to stop hitting. AS you do it you are turning your arms off. Once you do this, you will then be speeding up ONLY the lower body rotation to hit it farther (legs and hips).

      So doing it this way you are crawling before you can run. Just baby it off the tee with all clubs saying to yourself you are going to get power later. For now, you are doing this drill to turn your arms off.

      Another way you can work on it (which works incredibly well yet no one listens to me) is to immediately stop hitting practice balls. You can play and work on your short game all you want but DO NOT HIT ANY PRACTICE BALLS WITH A FULL SWING (other than a few to warm up before you play). At home every night you work on my swing positions. You start with grip, setup and my follow through positions (touch leg, touch head). That is is until you have them mastered. Then you work on coiling and finally hinging at the top. You must do it in this exact order and not think about the backswing positions until you master the follow through. Just do whatever you are currently doing in the backswing. I do not care about the backswing at this time if you are working on it this way. Tell yourself that what you are doing is building a great looking golf swing. You do 25-50 practice swings minimum per night preferably while watching yourself in a mirror. Check the positions. Check the feedback I teach. Make it perfect.

      Practice swings means there is no ball. No ball means you are not trying to hit anything because there is nothing there to hit. As you keep doing this every movement means something to you. After a while the practice swings and building a great swing means something to you. Then you get mad when you don’t do the right move NOT when you hit a bad shot.

      Get to work.

  9. Thanks for the reply Paul. Will keep working!

  10. July 25, 2014


    Hello Paul…
    I tore my left bicep completely from the radius. I just came out of major reconstructive surgery. I can’t even hold a club for 4-6 months. So what can I do with just my right arm that will keep me improving my golf swing or putting motion during these months of rehab? Are there any drills or any part of the game that I can work on with one arm?

    • Gary,

      No there are no swings you should be doing. Take a break. Once you get feeling better putt, then chip. then pitch, the once you are completely healed do practice swings, then hit easy real shots, then gradually increase it. There is no messy around with injuries. If you do the wrong thing you could be out for life or feeling it for life when this is totally unnecessary. Be very careful. Just keep watching the tips and understand how the golf swing works. Use your brain to work on your swing. Imagine you making perfect swings.

  11. February 10, 2015


    Hi Paul watching the powerless arms video to me it is very noticeable your left elbow is bent at the top is this correct.? Paul Blake

  12. March 16, 2015


    Hi Paul
    I just started with ignition golf recently. While getting to understand all these new concepts of powerless arms and lower body rotation, should I continue to play on the course or not? Do I have to master the new swing before I play?
    What do you suggest?


  13. May 23, 2015


    Hi Paul question on wrist release ,when i practice the wrist release drills i can feel that snap as the wrist rapidly flips or turns at seemingly close to impact, when i hit balls do not feel like i get that snap, the question is should i feel that snap as i hit balls , and will getting wrist looser so i feel snap cause me to hook ball more,then work on turning faster to straighten hook out , is this the progress direction

    • Barry,

      I would think you are trying to hit with the ball. Get the snapping feeling. Then think about the feeling when you hit the ball NOT hitting the ball. Tee it up and apply this feeling. Stay loose to get it.

      You will use body to straigten it out.

  14. Hi Paul
    Unlike your test series, this one is done without a club and not with a swing nor a ball. What is the ultimate test when swinging with a ball? I touch the knees, I touch the head, I binge, the tee doesn’t fall off, I Magee to lift my toe and the arms are looser. I can also swing slowly even with a driver. But I am still not sure I am there.

    i loved, in your test series, the statement, “if you cannot do this, you’re not there”. I was hoping that in this last tip you would say, “in a real full swing, if you manage to do BLANK you have really turned your arms.”

    Perhaps you did do it in another tip and I am missing it?

    • David,

      I did a tip on this here:

      The Ultimate Goal: https://ignitiongolf.com/the-ultimate-goal/

      Are you perfectly touching the legs and perfectly splitting the ears. When you’ve got it 70+ percent of your shots would be online today, tomorrow, next week, next month, next year and so on. I can do this …

      Also, you would have effortless power on all shots. It doesn’t feel like you are hitting anything. When you do use them you know you did so you can instantly turn them back off. Also, you would probably be regularly shooting in the 70’s because you are rarely in trouble.

      Glad you like the the tests. I thought it was fun.

  15. Hey Paul. Great tips. Would it be possible to get a guideline on how far from the ball you should set up?

  16. Paul ,I believe I have a better image than yours to describe what you mean by “POWERLESS ARMS ”
    It’s the “DAVID vs GOLIATH” image .
    Not everyone knows today what is an “ancient sling”.
    It just s pouch with two leather straps attached to it :the stone is in the pouch .You whirl the sling around your head and when the speed is sufficient ,you let go of one of the straps attached to the pouch and the stone goes to your goal at a mighty speed .(As as far as a golf ball if not further);
    Good timing of the “release”is neccssary
    That’s how DAVID slain GOLIAH at a great distance .
    The club head is the pouch ,the leather straps are your arms and the club shaft ,the stone/ball is there just waiting for you .
    You just pick it up going through .
    No use of he arms is neccessary ,only your rotating speed does the job .
    As a Young boy ,in KENYA ,I was an expert at this game ,taught to it by the MasaÎs and the Kikuyus ,my playing friends .
    I didn’t know then it would help me to play golf ;
    When I swing ,I try to recreate the same feeling !

  17. Another thing, should there be pressure under the armpit throughout the swing?

  18. May 24, 2015


    Paul where should you feel your self going on the backswing, I often feel like I am going to far to the inside while trying to not feel my arms and staying connected on the left side (right handed). I would love to see a video that just focus’ on the takeaway emphasizing powerless arms. Thanks for the great work.

  19. Hey paul
    Not sure if I have asked this before but how many players on tour would be using a swing like yours?
    Also when we coil are we meant to feel preasure build up in my least ankle ( leftie here) ?

  20. Paul – I find that if I start a leg-powered downswing just before the club gets to the top of the backswing I get a greater lag. This then results in the club having to catch up by the moment of impact, which means a definite snap through the ball and more clubhead speed at impact.

    You haven’t mentioned starting the downswing just before the top, and wondering what you think about it.

    New York Guy

    • Dale,

      Although this is a good thought, most people can’t do this. I am certainly thinking about driving the hips hard but I do so once I feel tightly coiled. I will do a tip on thinking like this in the future.

      Should You Be Moving 2 Directions At Once?: https://ignitiongolf.com/2-directions/

  21. May 27, 2015



    I am not sure about I should hold the arms through the swing in the same position as you demonstrate without a club (in relation to the shoulders). If they are powerless they will fall to the ground by gravity, and sling around when I am turning ! Is that a right feeling.
    The same with the wrist, they should be loose but also at the top of the backswing ? I feel that it is dificult to hold the wrist bowed until half way down and then free them like a hinge would do.
    You have said earlier that the wrist should work like a hinge. But wil you maintaing lag through the swing by keeping the wrist completetly loose from the top of the backswing ?
    A slow motion video of a full swing could be interesting with you commenting the different positions at the same time.


    • John,

      Your body is an axis. The club is mass. If you turn your body the mass will move. So you need to be telling yourself not to hit realizing the arms will come down on their own.

      Your wrists should be loose to allow the club to fully hinge to your maximum at the top. All hinges are loose unless they are rusty. So see your wrists as a hinge not wrists.

      Forget bowing the wrist halfway down. This is an arms thought and will make you hit. This bowing of the writs occurs due to the club not being at the widest point of the arc. You need to watch this:

      Knuckles Down At Impact: https://ignitiongolf.com/knuckles-down-impact
      Back Wrist at Impact: https://ignitiongolf.com/impact-back-wrist

      Kids lag the club perfectly in the downswing without saying one word about it. So yes, if your arms and wrists are truly loose and you started the rotation of your axis (body) the club would lag. Lag means something is trailing behind something else.

      Does Turning Off Arms Create Lag? https://ignitiongolf.com/powerless-arms-create-lag/

  22. I haven’t been receiving anything recently. Wondering if there is a problem with my account

    • Jim,

      I don’t see anything wrong with the account. Sometimes our emails end up in spam folders or they are blocked by your email provider. I just put you our alternate list. You should receive them tomorrow. You can always go the homepage of the site. Log in. The last 10 tips are on the homepage then at the bottom of the page it you can access every tip we have ever done in order.

  23. Paul ,I believe that ,after several years of practicing it ,I master thoroughly your “Powerless Arms “swing .There’s one point I wish to mention :I “feel” the swing through my hands and wrists .I know before lifting my eyes if I have contacted the ball well ,off the sweet spot ,off the toe ,off the heel ,high or low on the clubface .My hands tell me all :this happens with the long shots ,the short shots ,the chipping ,the putting .The ancient golfer ERIC PRAIN wrote a book ,a long time ago, named correctly “LIVE HANDS”.I believe he is right .You do play golf with your hands and wrists after all.
    Now I never played golf better since I took up your method .
    I wish I could find a device to measure the speed in °/s of my hips when I swing ,to see if I improve or not .
    Do you know one?

    • Raymond,

      Yes, once you are at a certain level you can certainly feel/know what you did. This is especially true if you have powerless arms/hands because you get more feel in them when they are turned off.

      I bought a crane scale to figure out how many pounds I am driving the hips. Still trying to figure out how to attach it to my hips. This wouldn’t necessarily give you the speed but torque. You might want to think about that. Not sure if it would be useful.

  24. Paul, best example to date on powerless arms ! I got it !
    The release of the wrists with all clubs using my one swing is paramount and on my part often overlooked. The wrist release drills bring it all back ‘thanks for a job well done!
    Jim Clarke

    • James,

      I thought that re-posting that one would be important. People often confuse powerless arms with floppy arms. Glad you see it and got it. It becomes a whole new game once you get it.

  25. Hey Paul……I have another “method” to describe powerless arms and ensuring your wrists are loose..
    At the initiation of the backswing and,most importantly, at the initiation of the downswing you feel that your biceps and triceps muscles are loose and not contracted.

    To ensure your wrists are loose and will “whip” at impact the forearms are loose and not contracted throughout the swing as well.

    Are these “valid”?

    • Michael,

      I guess so. I always think forearms because if you are using your arms your grip would be super-tight which would lock your forearms. Give it a try. It might work too.

  26. One new concept I picked up from this video about 5 min. mark is how early you begin to allow the wrist to unhinge,my intention to maintain wrist angle ie.lag later in the downswing created another reason to use arms in addition to temptation to hit the ball hard.I believe it will be easier to maintain powerless arms with the understanding that the release can be allowed to begin much earlier in the d/s than I previously understood.

  27. I clicked on “Video Golf Lessons” and got page not found. Do you still offer video golf lessons? If so what is the price?

    • John,

      We are not offering them at the moment. Please email us so I can let you know when we are doing them again.


  28. Aren’t you using your hands and arms to take the club back on the proper plane. If I try to kept my hands and arms powerless on the backswing and just turn my shoulders the club comes inside too much.

  29. I understand about the one piece takeaway to the back leg. It’s what you feel and do next to get to the top of the backswing that confuses me, Aren’t you using your hands to cock your wrists to get to the top? In your Body Swing videos you say after the one piece takeaway to the back leg, then swing the club up and feel like your thumbs are pointing at your ears. I videoed my swing doing this and it looks like I am taking it back on plane. When I do this I hit fewer left shots but I hit more weak slices which means the face must be open. So I wonder if my backswing is getting the club too open,

    • John,

      There are times when you are thinking about a feeling your arms. This is when you are working on positions. How else are you going to do certain moves in your swing? So you do the move or position. Then you turn your arms off once you are doing it. Plus, powerless arms is you not hitting or helping the shot in any way with your arms. This is not not floppy arms.

      When To Use Your Arms: https://ignitiongolf.com/when-to-use-arms/

      What Is Powerless Arms?: https://ignitiongolf.com/what-is-powerless-arms/

      Powerless Arms Test: https://ignitiongolf.com/powerless-arms-test/

      I would think your wrists are too tight as you hit the ball. So you do the roll over drill and get it hooking. This means you do the takeaway. Set the top (hinge) then roll it and hook it. Once you can hook it you stop thinking about rolling it and you feel the roll (release) as you add lower body to straighten it out.

      Again, there are times when you purposely feel your arms. This would be one of them. How else do you stop it from having slice spin on it?

  30. Eureka! I finally get powerless arms & hinging/unhinging :)) I just did it with a wedge in my living room, and I could hear the whoosh sound like I have never heard it before. Still have to work on touching knees and turning hips, but this one concept for me is absolutely huge 🙂

    • Avatar photo

      January 2, 2019

      Paul Wilson


      Very good. Lightbulb moment. Keep doing it. Then move up to a 7 iron and so on.

  31. Avatar photo

    October 24, 2021



    I saw the video where your armpit portion of leading arm is connect to the chest until after impact. Is it true and required?


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