Powerless Arms – The New Way to Swing the Golf Club

When I was about 15 – 16 years old, I used to live at the golf course, all day, everyday. I was a couple of years into playing and had made it down to a 14 handicap.  What I particularly remember about this time frame were the guys working in the pro shop and how much better and longer than me they were. They were a few years older so I can understand it but boy, did I want to be able to hit the ball like them!

One of the big things at our club was being able to hit the ball onto the first green. Here’s a video of the hole so you can get a better picture. It’s 311 yards with trouble left in trouble right. It also went down a huge hill, then there was a creek at around 220 yards, then it goes back up to the green.

Elmira Golf Club First Hole

I used to marvel at these assistant pros as they would drive the ball onto this green (keep in mind that you hit from an elevated tee).  Even so, you had to hit the ball a mile to get it there (with old equipment). At the time, I was struggling to get the ball over the creek at about 220 yards out.  In seeing these guys hit the ball on the green, my thought was to swing as hard as I could every time I teed off.  After all, if you swung really hard wouldn’t that ball fly farther?  As I continued to swing out of my shoes, it never seemed to increase my distance plus, it got me into a lot of trouble.  I kept wondering if my dream of hitting like these pros was ever going to come true.

The first turning point for me was when I read Ben Hogan’s book “Power Golf.”   In it, he said you would get 30 more yards if you felt your right big toe when you hit the ball.  Think about it, your right big toe will be touching the ground as you swing through impact because rotating your body will lift the right heel off the ground.  So he said to put the emphasis on this right big toe.

After reading this, I gave it a try.  All I thought of was when I hit the ball digging this toe into the ground and springing off of it as hard as I could.  Wow, did it work!  I got 30+ yards instantly which was great.   The problem was, I was still hitting the ball all over the place. This is because I was not only driving my lower body now but I was also hitting as hard as I could with my arms.

As I made it to the next year, I kept on driving from this right foot.  I also grew bigger and I got a great short game.  Not only was I able to now drive the ball on this first green but I got my handicap down to an 8 then scratch by the next year.  Still, the problem was inconsistency.

The next 10+ years saw me totally lose my swing and work to get it back.  I went to some of the best teachers in the world but still, nothing changed.  I was inconsistent as ever.  This truly was the most frustrating and depressing time of my life.

The next turning point was when I saw Iron Byron and incorporated it’s 3 elements in to my swing.  The basic concept is simple.  Turn your arms off.  Let your legs and hips turn your body which will move the arms down the the ball.  This means there is no hitting at all with your arms.  As soon as I did this, it instantly changed my game.  My stats went from under 30% fairways hit to over 80%.

By turning the arms off, I relied solely on the body to hit the shots.  In looking back at over 10 years of struggling, experimenting and taking lessons, not one person ever told me to not use my arms to try to hit the ball.  Because no one ever told me to not hit with the arms, I not only drove the lower body but I kept trying hit the ball with the arms as well.  So I was using both the body and the arms.  This was better than just hitting solely with the arms but it gave me the same inconsistent result.  If only someone would have told me not to try to hit the ball as hard as I could it wouldn’t have wasted all that time trying to figure it out.

What Do I Mean By Powerless Arms?

What I mean, is that you are not helping your shot in any way with your arms.  To see what I mean, just stand up.  Then, extend your left arm out in front of you.  Now, turn your body to the right and to the left.  As you do, you will see that you arm moved because you turned your body not because you moved your arm.

Now, do the same thing but this time clench your fist.  What you will see, is that your arm moved again even though it was tight.  In this scenario, your arm is still powerless because you did not move it independently from your body.

Now don’t get me wrong, I want your arms turned off instead of being tight.  This is because tightening your arms will tighten your wrists which will slow the club down and cause you to manipulate the clubface through impact.  Think of it this way, the looser something is, the faster it will swing.  In this case, the looser your wrists, the farther you will hit the ball.  Also, the more your arms are turned off, the less you will manipulate the clubface through impact.

So Now You Know What I Am After How Do You Get It?

The first time I ever got it, I did 3 practice swings feeling my arms just go along for the ride.  Then, I stood up to the ball and hit it absolutely dead straight 300+ yards.  Then I did it again, again and got the same result.  To this day I haven’t lost it.

For me, not using my arms was the weirdest feeling I have ever experienced.  It literally felt like my club was slowing down as it hit the ball.  This is because I was always trying to accelerate it.  Eliminate the acceleration and, of course, it would feel like it was slowing down.

So how do you get do this?  Well, the first thing you should do is what I did.  Do some practice swings feeling no effort from your arms whatsoever.  Then, step up to the ball and replicate this very same feeling.

Next, understand that it will feel like you are barely hitting the ball at all.  Sure, this is a different feeling but think logically.  You stopped trying to hit the ball, so of course it will feel like you are not hitting anything.   If you feel you arms radiating after you hit the ball, you used them.  In no way should you be feeling your arms.

Also, you may experience shorter shots at first.  This is okay because you are trying to get the power out of your arms first, then, you’re going to turn your body faster (using your legs and hips).  If you turn your body faster, while keeping your arms powerless and wrists loose, you will increase your distance.  I cannot stress enough that not using your arms is different than anything you have experienced before.  If you get it in 3 shots that’s great!  If not, just keep doing it!  You will get it if you don’t give up on it.

Finally, what I want you to do is take out a 7 iron and hit shots 2/3 of your normal distance with a full swing.  Once you get it with a 7 iron, try other clubs (the driver will be the hardest).  Again, tee up your golf balls if you are having trouble with it.

It’s amazing but out of all the people that I have ever asked to try this drill, not one person has ever been able to do it right away. By hitting your shots only 2/3 of their distance, you will be taking the “hit” out of your swing.  Once you do, turn ONLY the legs and hips faster to increase your distance.  If you feel the hitting sensation creep back into your swing, start over.


Hopefully, you now understand a powerless arms a little better.  It really is a different swing than what you have done in the past.  Think about it though, if you are not playing to the best of your ability, you have to make some changes.  Do you really think that the latest golf tip is going to give you a great swing?  It may make you a little better for a while but you will go back to your old swing because that’s what you are used to.

By turning off your arms and using your body, you will be doing something completely different than anything you have done in the past.  It will take you a little time to get used to it, but once you do, you really will play to your potential.

Until next time,

Paul Wilson
Creator – Swing Machine Golf

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2 Responses to “ Powerless Arms – The New Way to Swing the Golf Club ”

  1. Hi Paul! I thoroughly enjoyed this advice and have tried this with initial success. One question though. Are the arms turned off from address to impact or from the top of the backswing to impact?



  2. Dan,

    Glad you like the tip. From the top of the backswing you are not using your arms to hit or help the shot in any way.

    From address, when you first learn my method I want you turning your shoulders to take the club back. You do have to lift the arms a little to get the club to the top above the shoulder line a little. If your arms were completely turned off and you just turned your arms would end up super flat. This would not be an ideal top of the backswing position. Once you have worked on the correct top of the backswing position the club will go there on its own.

    Once you hit the top of the backswing which is Point A you then use the rotational of your lower body to hit the ball. The arms go along for the ride. Your objective is to get to the follow through position which is Point B to your swing. In no way you are trying to hit it or help it plus you are not even thinking of hitting it. The ball is hit because you are going from Point A to Point B.

    Hope this helps.

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