A number of golfers I know who want to improve their game handicap their progress at the very beginning of the stroke. When they address the ball, they stretch their arms out so tautly that their forearms become as stiff as boards and their shoulders are all knotted up. Before they even begin the swing, they are extremely tense—and you cannot be muscularly rigid and expect to play good golf.
When you are addressing the ball, your arms should be comfortably flexed, not extended rigidly. Now there are many ways to obtain this position. One method which I personally find helpful is to address the ball slightly off the toe of the club. During the swing, the arms are bound to do some stretching, for they extend themselves naturally. This stretching brings the center of the club head squarely into the ball. It is not a conscious effort to "reach for the ball." You simply arrive at the ball, your arms fully extended as they should be, but muscularly alive.
A large number of our finest players, Bob Jones and Tommy Armour, for example, employed this method of address. They found it suited them. It may not suit everyone, but I seriously recommend it to the beginner and the "hacker" as a tip they should examine. It can be a sound provision for relaxation throughout the swing.
MIKE TURNESA, pro at Knollwood Country Club