What Is Powerless Arms?

By | on July 23, 2013 | 33 Comments | Array


Sorry, this content is for members only.

Click here to get access.


Already a member? Login below

Remember me (for 2 weeks)

Forgot Password


Author Description

Avatar photo

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+

33 Responses to “What Is Powerless Arms?”

  1. Avatar photo

    July 24, 2013


    Paui, that was a great video. I was always an arm swinger, but am gradually transitioning myself into moving my body more and going back more on my backswing with loose wrists. Unbelieveable, I am hitting the ball a little further. In the major golf tournament, why is it that some of these guys don’t hit the ball straight?

    • Ken,

      Glad you are making the switch and seeing some good (if not better) results. This should keep you motivated to keep doing it.

      Some guys on tour are focused on hitting it as hard as they can. This causes manipulation of the clubface thus causing them to hit it offline. Very few realize that if you tone it down you can keep it in play. They already hit it long enough and their fairways are rock hard. So swinging about 80% would be ideal. Ernie Els would be a great example to follow as well as others.

  2. Paul is this apply to putting and chipping also please explain. thanks

    • Carlos,

      In chipping and putting you are going to be using your arms. Putting is right hand to the target. Chipping is like putting so there too you will be using your arms. Don’t get crazy and be hitting hard or be all stiff though.

  3. Excellent reminder of THE basics of your teaching:combined with THE fast rotation of THE hips ,this works wonders.
    I was already pretty long and straight from THE TEE ,but by adopting your sound technique ,I ‘m much longer now .
    THE JEREMY KLINKHAMER drill on SWIVELLING THE HIPS does a lot to enfance hip Speed .
    Now a question :I implement your instruction on how not to top your fairway Woods (Swing slower .at 80% of top Speed )and it works ,However I feel more secure in using THE 20

    • Raymond,

      I want you to use the clubs from the fairway that you are comfortable with. If you feel comfortable with hybrids yet hit your 3 woods poorly then go with the hyrbrids and work on the 3 wood on the range. No sense getting upset or losing confidence out there. Most people cannot reach par 5’s in 2 anyway so losing 5-10 or even 20 yards hitting hybrids is a small price to pay for hitting better shots. As one gains confidence, one can try new things.

  4. July 24, 2013


    I’ve sent a couple of emails to Pete on video lessons, and haven’t heard back from him. Is there a better email address.

    • Don,

      Please post them again this Friday. I think I messed up and did not set the Author to his name. If not in his name he would not get them. You can also re-post the questions on those tips. They are now set to his name so he will get them. Find them under Playing Tips in the red nav bar at the top of any page.

  5. Paul,

    This works great for me at lower speeds, but when I start turning faster, the club seems to naturally want to cast. How do you keep powerless arms and not cast as the speed increases?

  6. July 24, 2013


    Hi Paul,

    Again, you present everything in such a logical way. The part that really caught my attention was when you mentioned the arms moving “independently” from the body. From this perspective, I find it easy to understand. Don’t let the arms have a mind of their own! Let them go along for the ride. I am progressing nicely and am very encouraged. I would like to stress to others that swinging in the back yard without a ball to interfere, is AMAZINGLY helpful. The balance and rhythm continue to improve. As the person who told me about you said, it has changed my life.


    • Len,

      Exactly, everyone is trying to hit. Your arms move faster than our body in life. If this is the case why are the hips open at impact. If hitting with the arms was the way to hit the ball would your hips not be closed at impact? Obviously, the hips have to move first to get ahead of fast moving arms.

      Glad you are improving. I love hearing it. Keep up the good work.

      Thank the person who told you about me. I truly appreciate the recommendation. There are so many people like you who could benefit from this site. I find it mind boggling that people end their membership (big mistake). Small price to pay for playing great golf.

  7. Nice Paul. Its amazing how hard this concept is. After talking to you I kept trying to find what you are talking about over and over and over. Only just recently I really am feeling it on the drive. The short irons I mastered this and am great from 150 and in because I feel in my mind that I dont have to try that hard so I am able to keep my arms loose.

    But, the drive makes us think we must do MORE. This mental projection onto our arms changes their action.

    I have found that by taking a small backswing you feel what powerless arms truly feels like.

    I tried taking my arms back very little and therefore my only way to get the club going was with my hips and body. God, it was amazing to see what happened. I swear I hit the ball 220 or so with what felt like a half swing. I felt the power of hitting the ball directly on the sweet spot and the ball just flew. It felt like the ball had a life of its own as it took off.

    Amazing how hard this is.

    • Ralph,

      Actually it’s not hard at all. If I had this info 30 years ago I would not be writing this now. Focus on perfect positions, check the feedback and build a great swing. Once you do turn the arms off completely then you are a scratch golfer. So many people want to casually work on this stuff. They want to just whack tons of balls. They want to watch the ball instead of thinking of the feedback produced by doing the positions etc. etc.

      I’m glad you got the feeling. Now, this backswing length is determined by your body coil. Once you are tightly coiled you are at the top. This is more or less for different people based on how flexible they are. In your case, maybe you are tight. Being tight and trying to go back farther will not work because the arms move more than the coiling told them too. Stick with this shorter swing for a while and get used to it. You can always lengthen it again in the future if you need to. I just want you to hit some more great shots and feel what you should be feeling.

      Don’t forget your practice swings.

  8. I also found a way to change this dynamic that you might want to share with your readers. Its right in line with your teaching but it adds something that is really working for me.

    Inner golf by Tim Gallway does a mind trick that helps to accomplish this. Here it is………….

    Right at the moment of the backswing completion when you feel the club stop its motion you say outloud or to yourself the letter A. At this moment, you are now ready to say the next letter B only when you finish the swing and finish on your toe and with your club parallel to your eyes. The goal changes from hitting the ball to instead reaching point B. Its exactly what you teach but try actually saying the two letters at the precise right time and something powerful changes in the stroke. It changes the goal and that keeps the arms loose.

    Its seeing the ball that triggers the mind to feel okay……. hit the darn thing that engages the arm muscles. If the mind instead is thinking of reaching point B and saying it at the right time, it keeps the arms loose. Well, at least more of the time. After you feel this you can maybe stop saying the letters, but I am finding that as soon as my rythym dies this simple device of saying A at the right time and forcing myself to say B and notice my finish my game gets on track easier.

    Hope this is an idea you might share in a tip. It really does help..

    Your friend,


  9. Hi Paul:

    I can begin the swing with powerless arms but too often, my arms will “join in” mid swing. I have discovered several check-points that help me to decrease this tendency: 1. Upright stance as you have suggested. 2. Keeping the lower body quiet so a distinct tightness or torque is felt at the top of the back swing, and 3. Keeping my left arm straight at the top. When I do these things, especially the straight left arm, when I fire the hips, the connection to the club is so solid, the lower body rotation results in instantaneous acceleration of the club. I am guessing that my subconscious mind registers the acceleration and the signal to help with my arms is diminished. These have become key focus points in my practice swings.

    I still find the woods to be challenging. The rolling of the arms that is needed to hit them straight also tends to act as a signal to “help.” Never-the-less, I am hitting my driver better than ever before and am hitting the fairway 60% of the time. I even reached the green on a short par 4 my last time out!

    You have ignited an enthusiasm for the game that finds its roots in measurable results. My wife has seen it and for the first time in our 43 years of marriage, is now interested in golf. Thank you!


    • Bruce,

      Glad you are getting it. Be careful with the straightness of the left arm. I did a tip on this to not be too straight.

      The rolling wrists must be though of until you don’t have to think about it anymore. I am certainly not thinking about rolling them. They do so because I practiced rolling them for many years plus my wrists are loose enough to allow the club to release. So keep working on the roll over.

      I like the setup thought and using the lower body. Keep at it.

  10. Paul ,I have-at last-ingrained your concept of POWERLESS ARMS and utilizingTHE lower body.I even manage to have my knees touching in THE follow through ,which I found impossible not that long ago .However ,I Still feel difficult to combine THE POWERLESS ARMS with THE WRIST SNAP you show in your Video on THE “SMOOTH RELEASE OF THE WRISTS “.I Roll over THE wrists in THE backswing and then back on THE throughswing in order to get more Speed:when I do so ,I tend to tighten THE arms going in THE throughswing .How CAN I find THE correct balance between both those actions ?

    • Raymond,

      That’s great. HINT: The wrists are snapping because they are loose not because you are making them snap. When they are loose the mass will always want to get to the widest point of the arc. This occurs after the ball is hit. After this point the club re-hinges. At first you may have to manually roll them. Once you work on this you simply let the club go wherever it wants to go. It snaps due to physics NOT you snapping them.

      • Paul ,Thanks ,Your advice is always ,I say always ,sound and common sense .Things i didn’t understand for years are now very clear to me .
        With all this knowledge ,how is it that you didn’t climb up the ranks to become one of the foremost players we see on the Tour ?

        • Raymond,

          Because I did not figure this out until 1999 at which time I was too old. Plus, how do you afford to quit everything and play golf. Finally, I had no desire left to be a touring pro. My desire was and still is to be the best teacher in the world.

  11. February 22, 2015


    As far as i am concerned you have achieved that best teacher status. i have been reading the comment on all of the tips that i have watched and it seems i am not a lone voice in this assessment.
    i was really hitting the ball well the other day better than i ever have before: my 5 iron went 200 yards! (with some roll)! Don’t worry it only lasted about 6 shots, then i reverted to form. So i was reflecting on why i lost it. One of the commenters was talking about point a to point b, and it struck me that maybe my point b had shifted from being the follow through position to becoming the ball. After reaching the ball, everything stops including the club head speed if it is point b. i know you have said this somewhere, but i forgot. Feel is an important part of muscle memory, but with powerless arms and loose wrists, there isn’t much to feel. That is why it is so important for me to get the feeling of the position at the top of the backswing and then the feeling of the position at follow through. Are there any other places to check?

  12. March 14, 2015


    Hi Paul, when you stop using your arms in your swing, did you lose any distance with your clubs.

  13. April 15, 2017


    Paul– I can only do your powerless arms swing as a practice swing, but not in my actual shot. Can you clarify: You say that your lower body (trigger) hits the shot, but the powerless arms are connected to the upper torso, not the lower body. So, my shoulders are not powerless too, right? Paul B.

  14. Hi Paul, is it ont concevable to have a body swing together with the arms adding more acceleration still
    on their own?

    • Avatar photo

      April 11, 2018

      Paul Wilson


      Not exactly sure what you are asking here. You can use your body and arms. The problem is you will be inconsistent. Any tour player with a fast swing is doing this. This is because you only have a few degrees room for error when the club leaves the face. A tick on a clock is 6 degrees. You don’t even have that much especially with driver so how (using hand eye cordination) are you going to get the club back to the ball within this little room for error (never mind doing it under pressure)?

      So you need to use your body as the power source and do not disturb the mass (club).

  15. Paul,
    How do I get my arms and hands back and up in the back swing with out using them. When I just swing and turn with hips and legs my hands and arm don’t go higher than my hips.

    Thank you,

You must be logged in to post a comment.