How To Tell If You Are Using Your Arms

By | on May 4, 2023 | 35 Comments | Array


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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+

35 Responses to “How To Tell If You Are Using Your Arms”

  1. April 6, 2013


    Hi Paul,

    Any tips on keeping your takeaway on the line or your hands/wrists from rolling over but keeping powerless arms? When I search for powerless arms at the range I start to allow my backswing to flatten and then shank the ball or hit it with an open face. In trying to correct my hands I turn my arms back on and the shank right turns into coming over the ball.

    Off the tee I don’t shank, but off the ground has been terrible the last few weeks.


  2. April 6, 2013



    Why is it (in my range sessions)I am way more consistant hitting my Driver and Hybrids BUT with my LW&SW I’m the most INconsistant(hitting alot of really ugly shots)Ive always heard the shorter clubs are easier to hit BUT I have always been the opposite?

  3. When viewing the “add distance” video, I noticed the new R11S Taylor driver. Does it make a difference if I used an adjustable driver or better that I just improve my swing alone?

    • Peter,

      Clubs/Shafts can play a role in improving your game. You need the right clubs/shafts for your swing. Don’t think that this is the magical cure or a substitute for hard work. Of course, a great swing can hit anything. I would work on the swing until you have a half decent swing. Then I would go get fitted. If you get fitted when you are still making major changes and trying to “get it” you will have to get fit again once you do change.

  4. Hi Paul:

    I have been an arm swinger all my life. Transitioning to the torso swing is really hard work but tips like this really help..

    As a former arm swinger, when I now swing correctly, it feels like I am leaving my arms WAY behind – like they are lagging behind my swing. It continues to surprise and please me, when the shot is long, on target and straight. Finding the courage to trust the physics of the swing as you teach it is a real battle. But worth fighting. The above video coupled with have allowed me to assign the appropriate fault to a bad shot and slowly but surely build confidence to trust the new swing.

    Your videos are fantastic. I a so pleased and encouraged.


    • Bruce,

      I’m glad you are getting it. Trust is huge in the golf swing. It helps if you understand “why” you have to do it. If you understand it you will trust it.

      Keep at it and be careful not to drive the lower body too hard. If you do you will start to push it. So continue to use the body at a level that you can do it at. As you get better you can increase it.

  5. In his book ,JOE DANTE gives the following gudelines for the distance to the ball
    Height. Distance
    5feet 6. 33 inches
    5feet 8. 31 inches
    5 feet 10. 28 inches etc,etc
    7 IRON
    Height. Distance
    5 Feet 6. 20 inches
    5 Feet 8. 19 inches
    5 feet 10. 18 inches etc,etc ,
    I am 5 feet 9 ,165 pounds
    I fit in perfectly with un IRONS gudelins ,but not at all with the driver :iI am way further .
    Does this mean my posture with the Driver is too much tilted forwards ,though I hit it magnificently ,But it may explain why I have a tebdebcy to top the fairway Woods .
    What is your opinion ?

    • April 30, 2013

      Paul Wilson


      These measurements are totally unnecessary. Are you going to bring a tape measure with you and measure the distance from each club. Why not just do it as I show in this video:


      How To Check Your Distance From The Ball:

      As I have said in the past you are making this way too complicated. I used to do this for many years too. You know where it got me? Nowhere.

      I already told you why you are topping fairway woods. Swing easier with them. Allow the arms to extend past impact and get the weight off the back foot. If you do you will them perfectly. Try it.

  6. Paul,
    Thanks for the instruction so far I’ve been cut three shots since signing up! I was hoping you could help with a problem I have. My long iron shots are not very good and contact is generally poor, direction is both left and right of the target line. To alleviate this I’ve found if I close the face of my club a fair bit the contact becomes much better and much more straight.
    What fault does this point to?

    • Andrew,

      Glad you like the tips and are starting to see improvement.

      Typically, when people try to hit long irons they try to hit them too hard. “Long” irons tells people to hit them long so most people swing way to hard with these clubs. Really, you need to swing easier. This will give the club time to square. Seem backwards but you will see that it works.

      Never, ever close the face at setup. This is a band aid. If pros do not do this you shouldn’t either.


      How to Hit Long Irons:

  7. The best golf tip I have ever heard is to stick with something for a minimum of a year. I don’t believe most golfers do this as we become professional “golf swing tweakers” when things don’t as fast as we want. This usually means instantly.

    • David,

      You should stick with a technique that works forever.

      Each position has a different learning curve. All you have to do to master certain moves is do them in consecutive repetitions:

      11 In A Row:

      You are right. Too many people want instant results. You need to know what to work on and master it. If this takes days, weeks or years it does not matter. You just have to stick with it. If someone has felt an effortless swing and hit the ball as far if not farther than they ever have why would they keep going back to hitting it. As soon as I felt it for the very fist time I never wanted to stop feeling it.

  8. Avatar photo

    August 26, 2014


    Now I know powerless arms……is a scary thought when I have to play a tournament in two weeks in my golf league.

    But as we say in school…”Knowledge is Power”

    Thank you Paul!

    • August 26, 2014

      Paul Wilson


      Just swing easy all day. If you do, you will keep the ball in play which will give you tons of confidence.

  9. Avatar photo

    August 27, 2014


    Thank you for all your time and advice!

  10. Avatar photo

    August 28, 2014


    I have to report on my playing today and I remembered your “swing easy ” theme. I did manage to score 87. I have been trying to break 90 for some time and I think your advice was most helpful. Turning my arms off on my putting also help my playing today.

    Thank you for your help and thoughts. Herminio

  11. December 22, 2017



    Your swing technique is the best. I’m already carrying the ball 200 yrds instead of a full distance of only 186.

    A few months ago, while swinging an iron on an approach shot, I noticed a twinge in my left wrist. Well, it’s tendonitis.

    Any thoughts or remedies to avoid this in the future? Stretching perhaps?


  12. December 23, 2017

    Greg von Seeger

    Paul….love your videos! You have so simplified the learning of the golf swing mechanics! I can stop trying to be an advanced ‘physiologist’! Question on the quiet arms: at the top of the backswing do I allow the hands to naturally bend at the end of the top of the swing or stop the backward momentum at the top?

    • Avatar photo

      December 24, 2017

      Paul Wilson


      Thanks for the feedback. I truly appreciate it.

      As you get to 3/4 back (with loose wrists) the momentum of the club swinging back should be hinging your wrists fully as you near the top. Think of your left arm like a 2×4 with a metal hinge and the end and a golf club attached. If you swung it back it would hinge until it couldn’t hinge anymore. So you are letting it hinge until the bones in your wrists don’t allow it to hinge anymore. If you are not fully hinged you would have to work on hinging it. This means you would be feeling your arms and work on the hinge. Once you get the hinge you would allow it to hinge on its own.

      3 Ways to Set The Top of the Backswing:

      Watch this one too:

      Secure Grip Loose Wrists:

      Hope this helps.

  13. December 23, 2017


    Trying to switch over to swinging with my body. Any tips on how to concentrate …. not to zone out on the down swing. Stay Focused.

    Thank You

    • Avatar photo

      December 24, 2017

      Paul Wilson


      You do this by knowing the positions and focusing on them and not where the ball is going. If you are asking this question I know you think about the ball and want results. It doesn’t work like that. You need to build a great swing. So you need to know the positions first.

      These are the lessons I teach in the order I teach them:

      Once you know them you start with grip and setup. Then move into the follow through. So you pick out a position and stay focused on it and it alone. Some people can work on more than one but if you do this you need to do them all perfectly. So at home you can swing in a mirror or not. You swing through and hold the position. You analyze it and check it. Then you keep doing it. At the range you would do some practice swings working on the position then try it with 1 ball. Then you back up and do more practice swings and so on. If you hit numerous balls you need to back up and do 3 times as many practice swings. It is all about doing more practice swings right than balls you hit. This way you will make the changes fast.

      While you are in this stage you don’t keep score. You don’t care about the ball. You only care about the change you are making. When you play you swing no more than 50% and watch for good shots. This is what is coming if you keep working on it.

      So take the hit for a while and not care about your scores. Right now your focus is to develop a great swing. Once you do, consistency and gaming focus will come too.

  14. December 23, 2017


    When I swing with my body “loose arms” I seem to push it to the right.
    PS Like you ideas and look at more often than not! 🙂

  15. December 23, 2017


    Paul ,Is the distance of the clubhead from the body (Or the hands to the body ) important or not .In your method the grip is at one hand distance from the body ,right hand open ,fingers stretched from thumb fingertip to pinky fingertip .
    My position to the ball as evolved over time and I have now the hands rather far away from he body ,the shaft is not aligned with the forearms but nearly so.I feel OK with this ,my swing plane is fine ,my shots are long and straight .Please comment .

    • Avatar photo

      December 24, 2017

      Paul Wilson


      Well, you want to hold the club at the end of the grip and stretch your arms out full to pre-determine your widest arc. Wider arc more clubhead speed.

      I wouldn’t reach out too much. When I see people do this the tend to hit the toe or stand up and hit thin or topped shots. Ideally, you want the grip to be about 6-7″ from the belt buckle with irons 7-8″ with driver. I don’t mind reaching a little farther with driver. Just look from the side view at set up. You want the forearms and thighs parallel at about 6″. This is an easy way you can check it.

  16. December 31, 2017


    There isn’t anything that I don’t learn watching and re-watching your videos! Thanks so much for your continued mentoring! 86 for 1st round in 6 months (missed two 4′ birdies, duh, LOL).
    Happy New Year and Best to you, Pete, Jeremy and David. Look forward to using all of you in the new year to get back to my 7.0 (or better).

    • Avatar photo

      January 1, 2018

      Paul Wilson


      So close to a great round. You can do it. Glad you like the tips and keeps watching.

      Happy New Year too!

  17. Avatar photo

    January 1, 2019


    Sir Paul,
    Jack Nicklaus and Byron Nelson have had the best swings among all the pro’s in history to date
    – in terms of effortless power in appearance and performance. Byron may have established records in only 14 years that are unbeatable – such as 18 wins of 35 tournaments played, and winning 11in a row.
    Jack has not only won 18 majors, but placed second in 19 0f them. Tiger is not even close,
    But Tiger gets all the current hoopla, still, after 9 terrible years until 2018. While his 2018
    record seems somewhat amazing, it pales in comparison to 2000-2004, and even from 1997 to 2000…….. NOW FOR MY QUESTION, which pertains to your great teaching about using
    the finish position as a DIAGNOSTIC TOOL :

    Tiger is now finishing, especially with driver, with the club head pointing down his back at about 45 degrees from parallel to the ground. His left arm is only bent about 45 degrees versus 90.
    Therefore, it seems that he has locked his wrists through impact, suggesting that his grip pressure is too tight, or his right hand positioned too strongly, or both. WHAT DO YOU THINK?

    John Cy Perry

    • Avatar photo

      January 1, 2019

      Paul Wilson


      I would agree. Byron and Jack. Those are the 2.

      If Tiger didn’t change his swing I think he would have beaten Jack. We’ll see who he does in 2019.

      There are swings I have seen him do that are bang on. If the club is as you say yes he is too tight. He does like to manipulate it to keep it in the fairway. All he as to do is swing at 80%.

  18. Avatar photo

    January 1, 2019


    P.S. By the way, a most Happy New Year to you, Sir Paul…….

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