|Arms straight, elbows together|
There's another very important, fundamental aspect to the golf setup, and this time it has to do with the arms and elbows.
When establishing the address position, one must absolutely ensure that the arms are straight. I don't mean tense and ram-rod straight, but the elbows should not be bent to any extent, and both elbows should be located relatively close together, pointed down towards each respective hip, and the hands and club in the middle of the torso.
The upper arms should be lying tighty along the sides of the chest (especially the left arm), and this feeling will vary depending on the thickness of the golfer's chest and upper arms. This is the feeling of "connection" that should be maintained throughout the swing, where the arms are moved by the torso turn--not the other way around.
Some instructors have stated that the upper arms should rest across the top of the chest (and I use to believe this), but I now believe this is incorrect--at least for me. I get much better results by pinching the upper arms into the side of the chest and leaving them there for as long and as much as possible.
Getting into this position establishes the triangle at address and ensures the arms maintain the width and radius established at address. Keeping the elbows straight and close together also keeps the arms always in front of the body during the swing!
When done properly it's as if the arms and club are moved by the torso during the swing! If the arms ever begin moving independently, they will start sliding on the torso...or worse, coming off the torso altogether.
Establish these arm positions away from the ball and then use foot/stance adjustments to "move the crane" to the ball; in a sense, the arm-club unit then acts as a measuring stick to attain the correct distance.
To make it work, take your address position and place a soft ball about the size of a volleyball in the gap between your elbows. Take some small, relaxed swings, taking care to keep the ball in place. Try to keep your arms relaxed and only take half-swings or less.
We do not want loose arms or elbows that crook and point outward, left and right. These lead to a loose and sloppy swing.
The arms should be very nearly straight, though by no means locked. The elbows, especially, should be pointed down, toward the ground, not out to the sides.
You will notice, if you put the elbows in this position, that the very act of doing it brings the arms and the elbows closer together.
At address, the arms should be held close together in front of the body, and the back of each elbow should point at each related hip. One should avoid allowing the elbows to point sideways away from the body, so that the antecubital fossa (hollow in the front of the elbow) of each elbow faces towards the opposite elbow's antecubital fossa.
The final step in our setup is to simply march over to the golf ball. From the setup position with the clubhead resting on the ground at the center of the stance, simply shuffle over to the ball while maintaining setup posture. Basically we create the setup while standing a few inches too far away from the ball, then slide the clubhead up behind the ball as the feet take a small step forward. We literally use the club as a yardstick to measure the body distance from the ball.