Powerless Arms vs Floppy Arms

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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+

27 Responses to “Powerless Arms vs Floppy Arms”

  1. Avatar photo

    January 11, 2015


    Hi Paul regarding your note about too many tips per week, that’s what I love about your site. You offer so many valuable tips. I’ve been a long time student of yours and only after joining your site and working on it day by day month by month I am really becoming a great golfer. Your site is the most valuable reference for golf. I never get confused because you are so consistent (even your wardrobe, LOL )and each tip is consistent to the next even though you go over so many different topics. I use your swing machine videos to learn the basics your ignition golf videos to fill in the gaps and your response to so many of our questions to solidify my thinking. I know with your teaching and your site I will definitely reach my goal in golf. Thank you so much Paul and please don’t stop posting so many great valuable tips.

    • January 12, 2015



      I wish you had this lesson earlier because for a while I could not distinguish between powerless and floppy arms. In fact I think the best way to get a feeling for powerless arms is by going to the extremes – floppy arms then “normal” arms followed by stiff arms then “normal” arms again.

      My feeling now is letting the left armpit pull the arms along in the downswing while concentrating just on rotating the wrists for the release. I do feel that I am slightly controlling the arms for the direction but it may be just the feeling of wrist rotation.

      Even with this knowledge my swing is not worth much unless I do other fundementals right including that of moving my head to the right and on top of right instep on the backswing and (perhaps questionably) rotating my left wrist anti clockwise on the backswing.

      For some reason I do powerless arms best for my 3 wood probably because I do not have the distance or accuracy anxiety that I have with the driver or the irons.

      One of the most counter intuitive and important thing I learned from this site is the weight staying on the right foot until the weight of the club + arms post impact causes natural (smooth and fast) weight transfer to the left foot. In a way this is obvious because that is the only way the head can stay back but the natural instinct to get on the left foot as soon as possible after start of downswing. So unless someone like Paul makes it bloody obvious I wasn’t going to change.

      I have fixed my pull and the slices and although I have not had much improvements in distance yet it is a powerful feeling to know that I can “fix” anything that will happen out on the course. I am definitely scoring better and even now it is effortless out there physically as well as mentally. Thanks.

      • January 13, 2015

        Paul Wilson


        I was under the assumption that people would watch my swing and see that I am not flopping it all over the place so they would not be floppy either. Glad you’re not doing it anymore. I do like people tightening up to know then relaxing. I think I did a tip on this a while back. It’s a great way to feel being too tight.

        Yes, all pieces of the swing are intertwined so losing one may cause others to fall apart. I think you are really close. I would let it settle in then start going faster and faster with the leg drive to gain more power. Before you do, make sure you hook it first. I have a tip coming to show you how to do it. Then another one that I am going to shoot about faster leg drive. Keep your eye out for them.

        • Hi gents
          Im really interested in this thread for two reasons:
          A. I think I have ended up over relaxing my hands and arms at address to the point where they are ‘corpse-like’ !
          this has resulted in a really over bent arm at the top

          getting much better results now I’ve firmed up the left at address…but keeping passive

          B. is that right to keep weight on right side for longer on transition?
          I always get weight immediately left as I start down….may explain why I move lateral and also hit too low of shot.
          many thanks as ever ! Rob K

          • Avatar photo

            July 6, 2020

            Paul Wilson

            Yes, you definitely do not want to be floppy with your arms. Work on the backswing positions with your arms, I posted a tip a couple weeks ago saying that sometimes you do have to work on your arms. They have to be working correctly in order to hit shots correctly. You want loose wrists…not floppy arms. Yes, you want to load about 70-80% of your weight on to your back foot by the time you get to the top of your backswing. Then it is a gradual shift onto your front leg into the downswing. This will keep your head behind the ball at contact and give you the in to out swing path needed. Check out these tips:

            When Do You Work On Arms? – https://ignitiongolf.com/when-to-work-arms/

            Shifting Weight Too Soon To Forward Leg – https://ignitiongolf.com/shifting-too-soon-forward-leg/

    • January 13, 2015

      Paul Wilson


      Thank you for the kind words and support. I truly appreciate it.

  2. January 12, 2015


    Hay Drew I cannot agree with you more i cant get enough/ and / i wanted to comment on the wardrobe but couldnt find the right time and situation /Paul is our Gary Player/// Paul// i do agree with Drew/ i have learned so much so far because of your teaching/ i look forward each day to something new////THANKS and THANKS Again

    • January 13, 2015

      Paul Wilson


      Glad you like the tips and the format. Big change to come to make it easier in the future to find things. Should be ready soon.

      There are many reasons for the shirt. You will never forget me.

  3. January 12, 2015


    Hi Paul,

    One other potentially confusing things about Powerless Arms, which you sort of addressed, but perhaps not as completely as you might is the position of your right elbow: On the downswing,you always have your right elbow on/at your hip. My arms do drop down toward the hip as I straighten my left leg and drive my right knee forward, but my right elbow does not always end up on my hip. I find it helpful to try to keep my elbow in close, or at least my upper arm against my chest. Many pros do preach having the elbow at the hip. In your opinion, is this wrong….should I just let the arms go wherever if I’ve got the right set up and the right initiation with my legs? (You show in the clip that, from about parallel, you just let the club go. But at parallel, you right elbow is on your hip so your comment suggests that you purposely keep the elbow in and have made that a habit. Is that the case?)



    • January 13, 2015

      Paul Wilson


      If you are uncoiling properly the right arm should be tucking without thinking about it. If yours isn’t then tuck it manually but you have to be careful because forcing it against the hip can cause you to slide laterally.

      I do have a tip on the elbow here:

      Right Elbow: https://ignitiongolf.com/downswing-right-elbow/

      Also, you need to watch these:

      Flatten Plane 1: https://ignitiongolf.com/downswing-flatten-plane

      Flatten Plane 2: https://ignitiongolf.com/downswing-flatten-plane-2

      Keep in mind I want you basing your swing on torque and forces. If you turn and axis first (your body) in the downswing and do nothing to the mass (club) it should be flattening therefore the elbow would tuck. I would think you are still trying to hit if yours is not tucking. Just manually fix it then stop thinking about it.

  4. January 12, 2015


    Paul, I guess I should have know and realized that I have not been the only one to appreciate and understand just how right on your teaching of the golf swing is. A little over a year ago I had a total knee replacement. It has made a dramatic effect in my ability to walk, play golf, hike all with better mobility and without discomfort and pain. I told the surgeon it has changed my life. Even though I am 71 years old I can now do things like I was 30 years younger. He said it is the reason he does not retire. He feels he is making a difference in his patients lives. Your golf instruction, your videos, your book (Swing Machine Golf), and your Ignition Golf website are all winners. Keep up the good work.

    We looking forward to visiting with you three weeks from today for a family golf lesson – my wife, our son Paul and myself.

    • January 13, 2015

      Paul Wilson


      Thanks for the kind words. I truly appreciate it.

      I have taught many people with knee replacements. In talking to them I can seen how playing golf wouldn’t have been too much fun before surgery. They never have a problem doing my swing with the new knee which is a good thing.

      See you soon.

  5. January 14, 2015


    Hi Paul,

    Based on PaulKwon’s comments, he rotates his left wrist anti clockwise on the backswing. Do you promote this move in the backswing? If you do, do we have a video on this? Tq


  6. January 19, 2015


    Paul,POWERLESS Arms don’t équate to weak Arms .The golf swing being an athletic Motion ,every part of the kinematic CHAIN has to be fairly strong ,including the triceps ,biceps ,shoulder rotators ,wrists ,FINGERS .YOUR concept works as long there’s nô weak Link in the overall swing:the core is the engine ,driven by the legs ( they have to be damn powerfull to propel the fast rotation ),but the “POWERLESS ARMS ” do a great part of the job also :looking at YOUR own forearms shows they are pretty strong !
    I adhère to YOUR concept ,but. I do work on m’y arm strength also ,as do all Long Drivers ( I’m far from being one of them though !),and mostly on m’y wrist and FINGER strenght.
    You can’ t drive 285 yards plus as you do without having strong Arms ,probably at some point in YOUR carreer you DID strengthen them..True to YOUR excellent teaching ,all top tour players have extremely fast core body rotations ,but they are also strong in the other parts of Their body ,without whacking away at the ball in any way .

  7. Avatar photo

    January 20, 2015


    Paul, thsnks for this tip. I have tried the powerless arms technique (and it really works, folks!). I would liken it to the IRON BYRON technique that first led me to your site. The idea of the arms gripping the club, guiding it, but not trying to muscle it through the strike is novel, but it really does work. Have been practicing my free swings and I am feeling better about my ball topping cure.

    For your update on progress using your tips and advice – We have been practicing chipping (9 irons and SW) in the yard and my wife and I did pretty well, first practicing the swings without the ball at first to get the feel and consistency and later applying the techniques to chipping into plastic ice buckets set about 30 yds apart. We had a great time and I think our swings are getting better after almost every session.

    • January 20, 2015

      Paul Wilson


      Very good. I think you are understanding it and working on it the right way. You will get there before you know it.

  8. Hi Paul iam a right handed golfer working on less arm and more lower body drive been using alot of arms for 40 years so slow process but making progress. the other day hit some shots left handed with 7 iron not bad feeling swing , the question i have is the feeling when i swing left handed is i have no power in my arms to hit the shot so it doesnt go very far straight but not far,with this powerless feeling in my arms when swinging left handed if i worked on lower body drive would this drastically increase my distant left handed just curious,cant swing hard with my arms left handed where right handed can feel arms taking over on shots.

    • Barry,

      It would if you are able to physically make the move with your lower body. Most people who do things on one side are just not coordinated to did it from the other side. Perfect example is the head move. This is tricky from the other side for most people. If you are a left handed person playing right handed I would say go for it. I have switched a few golfers in the past who were just terrible from that side of the ball. Once switch they go it in record time.

      I really think you need to be sending us video for analysis or Skype lessons. This would clear up these issues in no time. There is just way to much confusion going on here.

  9. i am not sure if i have floppy arms. i bring the club back to the position you teach, but then as i start the turn with my hips, i’m not sure if it is my shoulders that are staying back or my arms staying back from inertia or is that floppy arms? In any event i think my hips and legs get way ahead of my arms and club. Thanks in advance for answering this, i think the answer will help me a lot. You may have already answered this in some video and i forgot the lesson, or haven’t seen it yet.

  10. September 22, 2016


    Hi Paul,
    One thing i seem to be missing is any advice you have given about how the left side of your body is supposed to feel as you go into your downswing. You have explained how the right side gets tight as you move into the backswing, and i am doing that better now. When i go into my downswing it seems to me there should be some tightness the left side to lock the torso with the hips. If there isn’t that tightness my hips move way faster than my arms and it is slice city. So, am i doing this right?

    • September 22, 2016

      Paul Wilson


      I am feeling the tight coil in the left going back. Then firing from the right so I am not even thinking left side in the downswing. If you are uncoiling with the straightening of the left leg or using your hips then you would be thinking and feeling this in the downswing. So it’s kind of hard for me to determine what you are doing.

      I think you need to watch this tip though:

      DRILL: Golf Swing Timing For More Distance: https://ignitiongolf.com/timing-more-distance/

      I would keep firing the hips harder as you were but only after you watch the tip above.

  11. September 23, 2016


    Hi Paul,
    Sorry i meant to say the left side is tight going back. i guess the better question would be if there is something you think about so that you don’t over rotate your hips at contact?

    • September 23, 2016

      Paul Wilson


      You are not going to over-rotate your hips at impact. What you would be experiencing is driving so hard you are coming out of it thus holding the face open. Like I sent you in that tip. You need to hook it first then drive the legs hard. Try it an you will see you can drive them as hard as you want. If you stay focused on contact you will never come out of it.

  12. Hi Paul,
    I greatly appreciate all of your tips and am working hard on my swing based on your videos, etc.
    I understand the powerless arms but should I try to get a faster roll over/release of my wrists? How do I train my wrists while avoiding squeezing the grip. Is listening to the swoosh of the club a good indicator?
    Thank you very much, Bill

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