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The Arm Swing Illusion / Jim Waldron's Swing Philosophy

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  • Jim WaldronJim Waldron Balance Point Golf Schools Sponsors  3244WRX Points: 181Posts: 3,244 Titanium Tees
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    On -, @getitdaily said:

    Jim,
    Hope all is well. Thought you might like this...9:40 mark

    Thanks, man - yeah they have a great explanation there of the asi.

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  • tweedygenttweedygent Members  423WRX Points: 32Posts: 423 Greens
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    OMG! This is the real deal folks. Jim should be a knight of golf for this stuff; it's incredible.

    When people talk about feel vs real and all that, this is it! It literally feels like clubs gonna brush the crown of your head and your literally going to swing way out past the ball past 12 oclock and miss it completely.....but then you compress it! 😮😮😮 Just commit to this completely and thank Jim later.

    I think uncovering the illusion is best shown from above:

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  • TimK1TimK1 Members  324WRX Points: 214Posts: 324 Greens
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    My backswing is the same as this. It always feels like the club never gets behind me. I differ though on this pivot. Once I get the club to the top I start down with my arms almost dropping the club on the back of the ball. My body just reacts to this automatically. I get great compression and a lower ball flight with penetrating irons.
    I have no tilt or side bend, which leads to massive back injuries. The spine was not made to twist this way. I get great distance and have played to a low handicap my whole life with one swing. Never have I changed it. 35 years of golf and I have never had a hint of a back injury. Everything feels stacked and level at impact.

    Please stay away from the side bend. It leads to a lot of health problems with the back. a post above mention that Jim had a bad back. Ask Tiger about side bend. He has stated his goal with his swing is to eliminate as much side bend as possible.

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  • PJ1120PJ1120 Members  780WRX Points: 120Posts: 780 Golden Tee
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    On -, @Jim Waldron said:

    On -, @true8 said:

    Didn't read through the entire thread and was searching through youtube for videos. Does anyone have good videos for the down swing and how to begin it?

    My Module Four on the Pivot covers that issue, along with Module Six.

    Jim.....when will you be in Palm Springs this year?

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  • Jim WaldronJim Waldron Balance Point Golf Schools Sponsors  3244WRX Points: 181Posts: 3,244 Titanium Tees
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    No exact dates. now but last two weeks of March

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  • Jim WaldronJim Waldron Balance Point Golf Schools Sponsors  3244WRX Points: 181Posts: 3,244 Titanium Tees
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    I will be teaching in Palm Springs March 31 to April 9 or 10.

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  • Jim WaldronJim Waldron Balance Point Golf Schools Sponsors  3244WRX Points: 181Posts: 3,244 Titanium Tees
    Joined:  edited Dec 25, 2019 #4388

    Here are my upcoming teaching locations/dates: Oahu - February 26-March 15. Palm Springs - March 31-April 9. Dublin, Ireland - May 1-4. London, UK - May 6-10, May 15-17.

    Oahu and Palm Springs are Private Custom Golf Schools, Dublin and London will be a mix of small group (maximum of five students) public golf schools and Private Custom Golf Schools.

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  • Les StrokesLes Strokes Members  528WRX Points: 125Posts: 528 Golden Tee
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    "stay away from the side bend" - not sure what you mean, can you please post pics of what you think are proper and improper address positions?

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  • TimK1TimK1 Members  324WRX Points: 214Posts: 324 Greens
    Joined:  edited Dec 25, 2019 #4390

    It is not at address. My address position is much more upright. With a high chest. It promotes a easy arm swing. With my **** more under me it also causes the hips to naturally move back away from the ball, making room for my arms. The straight back address position causes a more steeper shoulder plane on the way back. It also cause the hips to move into the ball on the downswing. Since they are already back with the straight back position at address. They really have nowhere else to go but forward on the transition or downswing. That causes guys to stand up and impact to create room. My swing is more old school. I'm a hands and arms player. My body just reacts naturally to the swinging of my arms. It is really not taught this way anymore. Most modern teachers, teach more of a twisting or turning of the hips to start the downswing or some type of squatting motion.This creates a lot of pressure on the lower spine. When you see the pictures of people who at impact have there hips already wide open but there upper body is still behind the ball it causes a huge right side bend that puts a lot of pressure on the spine.

    Both types of swings will and do work. It is my opinion that most of the younger guys on tour are going to suffer quite a bit as they get older. Tiger is a perfect example. He stays much more level now. High right shoulder and he has eliminated all the pressure in his lower back.

    I can't really explain it the way I want and have no pictures. I just know that my swing works for me and I feel it is the best way to avoid any type of injury. I'm also 56 now and my body just will not work the way the swing is taught now. I'm not a teacher or claim to know how anybody else should swing. I hate swing debates. There are ten different ways to swing a club. I know my swing very well and have looked at all the different swings out there. The one I have had my whole life is what I know and what works for me. I know when it goes bad how to fix it.

    I'm afraid of back injuries. I have seen to many guys I know suffer with back issues and it has and does affect their whole quality of life. I'm not willing to pay that price over a game.

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  • Les StrokesLes Strokes Members  528WRX Points: 125Posts: 528 Golden Tee
    Joined:  edited Dec 25, 2019 #4391

    ok I get you now. Thanks for the detailed answer. I agree that this may be a problem for all but the most flexible.People thought Dustin Johnson was immune, until this Fall. I think Joachim Niemann does what you are describing. Yes there are many ways to swing, but like one guy said, you can pound in a tent peg with your forehead too, but that's not the optimal way to do it. I like Jack Nicklaus' swing. Works for me.

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  • TimK1TimK1 Members  324WRX Points: 214Posts: 324 Greens
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    Look at Jason Day. Massive pelvis rotation and he stands up at impact. He is already suffering the beginning of back issues. Missed the president's cup because of it and it's not the first time he has had to withdraw with back issues.

    Some guys who I think are in for some injuries, especially the back. Justin Thomas, Koepka, Rory, D.J. however he has lasted longer than I thought. Guys who's swing will last forever, Mickelson, Cory Conners to name a few. Phil has never had a back issue. I realize though that the four I mentioned are probably the four top players in the game so how can you argue with success. I'm sure Tiger would have traded almost anything not to have suffered that way. His Millions were not helping him when he couldn't walk or stand up.

    Again, in my opinion the way the swing is taught now is downright dangerous to the body and especially the back. Most Am. or guys who just play once a week or barley practice can get away with this forever. If you play everyday and practice a lot then your back will eventually have issues.

    Again, this is my opinion only. I do not wish to get into debates about swings or teachers or what works or not. I don't care to each is own.

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  • iceman1118iceman1118 NortheastMembers  153WRX Points: 75Handicap: 7Posts: 153 Fairways
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    Driver: TaylorMade M6 Hazardous Smoke 6.5 X
    3 Wood: TaylorMade M6 Hazardous Smoke 6.5 X
    Driving Iron: TaylorMade UDI Hazardous Smoke 6.0 S
    Irons: TaylorMade P790 4 - AW KBS C Taper 130 X
    Wedges: TaylorMade Hi Toe Copper 54.10/58.10 KBS C Taper 120 S
    Putter: Odyssey Stroke Lab Black 7S
    Ball: TaylorMade TP5X
    Handicap: 7.4

  • SHAFUASHAFUA Members  9WRX Points: 13Posts: 9 Bunkers
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    Holy s***t

    ive struggled for any sort of consistency with golf I’m a 15 handicapper

    reading this thread triggered the epiphany

    ive had lessons a few times i overswing and really struggled to stop (I can see the driver head in my backswing) two instructors I think have tried to get me to swing in the way Jim teaches but used differing language and I struggled to get it (one piece takeaway anyone?)... but seeing the demo of the arms moving without the pivot and also the vids above with Rory’s swing from above got me

    the overswing was clearly me whipping the club inside and then trying to get the club somewhere above my shoulders causing my head to lift and all sorts of path issues on the way down

    2 range sessions and 2 rounds of golf concentrating on taking the club away at 45 degree angle Keeping the club in front etc and it’s been a revelation

    driver 3 wood and long irons have always been an absolute lottery for me blocks slices and hooks and pulls riddled my game but since trying out these theories the path has been consistent but also the strike has been a massive game changer ... it’s even effective in bunkers

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  • Dr. HackDr. Hack Members  107WRX Points: 59Handicap: MidPosts: 107 Fairways
    Joined:  edited Feb 17, 2020 11:26am #4395

    I respectfully disagree with some of this, although it might be semantics. Hip rotation is essential to prevent back strain during the swing. There will always be some degree of lateral spine bend in a healthy swing. This is necessary to "preserve the spine angle" which turns out to be kind of an oxymoron. I think this is the source of my disagreement - it often looks like there's no bend when there actually is.

    Now, there is another way to keep the spine straight and that is to attempt to swing with the shoulders, with the hips not rotating, and this is guaranteed to cause back injury. This is the way I see a lot of modern young pros swinging.. no hips. I would bet Hogan and Snead never had back issues. (As an aside the very young guys are doing more and more Gankas-style hip action which is undoubtedly a healthier and actually more traditional method, and another source of potential confusion in these discussions. I will skip over the fact that in the swing all of your power comes from rotation and hip/leg action).

    The real source of injury as I see it (and I think as you see it) is when players overemphasize the lag and lateral bend that comes with it. As you described I think these severe angles probably put too much stress on the spine. By standing more upright you avoid this, and might not even feel like your'e rotating hips or bending (although you are, if you hit with any power or consistency).

    The second even more real threat as I see it is not the swing itself but the fact that Tiger applied this swing over at least 50,000 hours of practice over his life. Same thing happened to Kobe's achilles.

    Just my 2 cents. It's an interesting debate. I do think the basic swing illusion method is extremely useful and effective. I'll add that i'm a surgeon so I have a vested interest in my own back health and the anatomy of the swing!

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  • TimK1TimK1 Members  324WRX Points: 214Posts: 324 Greens
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    It is an interesting debate. I have other thoughts on the matter besides this one. I blame a lot of today's equipment also as a factor in this. The equipment is much more upright , which naturally causes a more upright swing, which is in vogue now.

    The players now are taught a more flat back setup. After that they take the club back causing a steeper angle with the shoulders and thrust or turn a fire the hips first. I see it written all over these forums. With the thrusting or firing of the hips along with the steeper angles caused by the setup and upright equipment It's a recipe for injury.

    My setup is much taller or higher chest. It naturally allows easier, freer rotation and a shallower angle of attack. My equipment is three degrees flat which is more in tune with the older school swing.

    If you think about it, my downswing is arms first. Body reacts and goes with the motion in a natural way. There is no stain on my back or firing of my hips. They just react to the motion. I don't turn my hips at all on purpose. Yes, they turn but much more naturally in a reaction to the arms. There is always a little side bend but it is not as severe as a steeper more upright angle. Tiger still has some side bend but not like he had. I also agree hitting 500,000 golf balls can also cause huge problems.

    It is an old school approach and swing. I feel it is much safer. At least for me it is. I have swung like this for 40 years and have carried a 0 to 3 handicap my whole adult life. Without one injury.

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  • Dr. HackDr. Hack Members  107WRX Points: 59Handicap: MidPosts: 107 Fairways
    Joined:  edited Feb 18, 2020 8:52am #4397

    I totally agree with all this.


    Have been thinking/toying with this and it seems like (based on anatomic theory alone) the things that would avoid strain on the back are:

    -Shallower swing

    -More upright spine posture

    -Free hips

    -More forward ball position

    -Opening of the right foot/leg (toe away from target), and possibly even having the right foot back a little in the stance (for a right hander), which would be a "closed" stance.


    Just theory but it seems like a more Moe Norman type swing arc that pivots around the left leg on the downswing puts very limited stress on the back without really violating any of the ASI principles.

    So, I've been toying more and more with a "closed" stance for woods with my right foot back and away from target, and a more open stance as I get into higher lofted clubs all the way down to wedges. It seems to add power and help with rotation and plane issues with the big sticks while adding loft and allowing for a more upright slicey shots with wedges. Essentially i'm hitting draws with the longer shots and cuts with the short ones, which is how you want power to be allocated, but also seems to work with swing arc/D plane issues. I also think pivoting around the left leg in the finish creates a larger swing arc which has its own benefits. Need to play more with this on the range this weekend.

    Anyway, I was hurting my back in the past by initiating rightward spine flexion (concave to the right) in the backswing and not waiting to the transition, then increasing this bend in the downswing (which I think can actually help with wedges and short swing arcs). Transition of the bend from one side to the other at the right time is essential with full swings, if you bend.

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  • TimK1TimK1 Members  324WRX Points: 214Posts: 324 Greens
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    My right foot is slightly back of my left foot at address for my longer clubs. It has been for years. I do also flair my left foot out slightly. My arms swing freely and my body reacts to that. Like I said above, it is an old school swing and is not taught like this anymore.

    Back injuries are like people who smoke. Some people can smoke their whole lives and not have anything happen, others can't. Some guys can swing like this their whole lives and not get hurt. Others, like Tiger can't. Phil is a good example of an arm swinger but he tries to hit the ball too far and he has always been a little loose with his mechanics. It is catching up to him now.

    There are tons of guys on the Champions tour who have never had issues.

    So you never really know. I have always been fearful of a back injury. I need to work and feed the family. If I was a pro and the tradeoff of ten or twenty years for a lifetime of income then I can understand it, I guess. They have a surgery at the end and hopefully ride off into the sunset with there millions. Everytime Tiger swings a club I wait for him to fall to his knees. I hope it doesn't happen but I think he is tempting fate.

    Golf has changed, the swing has changed. The guys practice way more now. I never practiced in my youth. We played, that was our practice. I'm not sure the old guys hit balls like they do now. Because they get to the sites earlier and faster by plane they have much more time to beat balls. The old guys drove and never got to the sites until Wed. Got in a little hitting and teed off the next day in the tournament. Those couple of days on the road, nobody was hitting golf balls.

    Good luck working on this.

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  • ofortunaofortuna Members  444WRX Points: 47Handicap: 8.4Posts: 444 Greens
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    Just watched Module 5 again since it was released and picked up quite a bit this time around. It's remarkable how the instinct to swing the arms on at the ball is so strong and keep creeping back into my release. I'm loving the chip version of the woodchopping drill and plan on focusing on it quite a bit.

    I see that the rest of the modules have been released and have my eye on Module 8 to see guru Waldron's unique perspective on timing the release.

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  • Jim WaldronJim Waldron Balance Point Golf Schools Sponsors  3244WRX Points: 181Posts: 3,244 Titanium Tees
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    Thanks for hthe feedback, O. Yeah Mod 5 on the Release is a good one, ton of info on both the Lever angles release mechanics as well as how the Pivot Thrust works to start the Release Dynamic. Yes Module 8 is the last one in the Great Shot!: Mastering the Craft of Ballstriking video instruction series, devoted to Tempo, Rhythm, Timing and forward swing sequencing. You can have Tiger's swing mechanics but if you have Joe Hackers tempo, rhythm m or timing - you will hit it like Joe Hacker. Mechanics gets way too over-emphasized online, those Dynamic Factors covered in Mod 8 are vitally important as well.

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  • chigolfer1chigolfer1 Members  1325WRX Points: 356Posts: 1,325 Platinum Tees
    Joined:  edited May 2, 2020 7:46pm #4401


    JIm, what is your solution for someone that has always dipped that right shoulder too much in transition to shallow and now needs to figure out to get the right feel to get the right shoulder out to the ball instead of just right tilting/dipping right shoulder and then having to straighten arms to reach ball. It's very "scary" to think shoulder out to ball without being OTT but I imagine you've seen people who just dip that right shoulder with little "out" and then get stuck.

    Should someone like that think about keeping the left shoulder down/left tilting longer after transition? (have you seen the Alex Noren practice drill?) It feels crazy but, of course, when I look in the mirror, isn't that crazy looking at all.

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  • Jim WaldronJim Waldron Balance Point Golf Schools Sponsors  3244WRX Points: 181Posts: 3,244 Titanium Tees
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    Great question and really only one possibly correct answer to a question that is framed like that, ie with 100% clarity in terms of swing theory, meaning you know exactly what you want your body to do, but the body simply does not carry out the proper movement pattern theory. The answer is two part: 1. you need to get that intellectual clarity to move to a deeper level of your mind so that the "light bulb" moment of insight happens in your subconscious mind Swing Map and not solely in your conscious intellectual mind. Just contemplating that theory deeply and kind of "playing around" with the concept is how that happens mainly. 2. you need strong Awareness in Feel Channel for doing the new movement pattern vs doing the old incorrect pattern. Doing the new pattern first in super slow motion in front of a mirror is the first step in that Process, to be sure you are actually doing it in reality, then focus on the feel of doing it correctly. Then intend to repeat the feel still in slow mo, then graduate to half speed Then full speed correct motion is fairly easy.

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  • indianagolf2indianagolf2 Members  174WRX Points: 32Posts: 174 Fairways
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    Ive purchased some earlier vids, which vids were his best 3??

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  • Nibiru666Nibiru666 Members  5WRX Points: 19Posts: 5 Bunkers
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    I've been playing for only 2 seasons now and have learned everything on my own. Just stumbled upon this last week and it is a night and day difference in ball striking for me. I've been swinging with my arms this whole time and had no idea what the swing was supposed to feel like. It's so effortless now. This completely changes everything and makes me enjoy the game so much more.

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  • PonderingPanderPonderingPander Members  5WRX Points: 8Posts: 5 Bunkers
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    Just stumbled across this thread because every year I start off as about a 16 handicap and maybe can get down to 12 by the end of summer, usually towards the end I start to get very frustrated because it seems like I hit my limit of no matter how much I practice I cannot improve past a certain threshold with my current swing, after reading the first 30 pages and just now realize that I am doing exact illusion of what Jim is preaching. I always "felt" like my swing was like good golfer but that was illusion talking. Cant wait to get out and actually try this concept.

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  • PonderingPanderPonderingPander Members  5WRX Points: 8Posts: 5 Bunkers
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    UPDATE* after few swings in the backyard I got the "light bulb" of wow, this just makes sense. I rushed to the range and was drilling out about 8 out of 10 dead straight. My misses is when I would revert to my old ways and gets handsy with the club.

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  • dwlls1515dwlls1515 Members  1WRX Points: 7Posts: 1 Starters
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    @PonderingPander just stumbling across this thread now as I've been having some issues myself. Can you send me what it was that gave you the ah-ha moment.

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  • PonderingPanderPonderingPander Members  5WRX Points: 8Posts: 5 Bunkers
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    Actually kind of interesting, I wish I could include links with this post so I could show you my old swing compared my new one but I was reading through this on my lunch break and once he started to break down the illusion on how your mind interprets good players swing and to what there actually doing, it actually made complete sense to me, I pretty much had my aha moment in the office before I even attempted the swing. I was comparing what I was doing to a slo mo of Justin Rose, and that made it click even more,

    Luckily I had a friend slo mo my swing last week so I pulled it up on my phone and sure enough my back swing was low and I was coming down on top of the ball the opposite of how all the pros are doing it. To make this happen I had to compensate with a bunch of arm/hand movement and was almost jumping while I was swinging, hence my constant inconsistency with my clubs.

    Went to the course yesterday to try and play 18, the new swing really clicked for me on the 15th hole. Parred on 16,17. On the 18th I hit a 331 yard drive (downhill), right down the middle on a par 5, 150 yard pitch onto the green, missed the 15 foot eagle putt by 2 inches for a tap in birdie. I don't think I have ever piped three straight drives down the fairway like I did on 16,17,18. Its kind of funny, I feel like once I started to get the whole back swing down its like the follow through just felt so natural compared, doesn't seem like I have to try that hard to get the same distance.

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  • rmfullermfulle Members  70WRX Points: 54Posts: 70 Bunkers
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    Very similar experience for me. Stumbled upon this thread after spending way too many years and time in the classifieds. Had an "a-ha" moment and ran out to the range. Still some kinks to work out but overall so excited to dive deeper into Jim's work. Truly a game changer for my mind.

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