As I have found in my early experience that bending the elbows in the address results in the centrifugal force in the downward stroke tending to pull my club head beyond the ball and making it impossible to strike accurately unless I draw them in, thus giving a slice, I decided that keeping the arms straight should be the simplest way of over-coming this trouble. As the majority of golfers do this, it is evident that they have reached the same conclusion I did. The trouble is that they straighten them and reach for the ball besides. Reaching for the ball in the address stiffens the muscles and prevents any freedom in the swing.
It is far easier to control the amount of play you will allow the arms in the downward stroke, if you are coming down inside the ball, than if you are going beyond it, because the centrifugal force is helping it go out, and you only have to yield a little to reach the ball; but if you are going beyond the ball you have the centrifugal force to overcome in pulling in the hands, which multiplies the effort. Therefore it is a decided advantage to keep the arms well in toward the body.
My own scheme is to get to the top of my swing in the easiest way I can, and I let the centrifugal force carry my club out in the down-ward swing until it reaches the ball. This enables me to exert all my energy in propelling my club and leaves but very little effort required to guide it. The very first time a beginner swings at a ball he invariably swings too short because the amount of centrifugal force, or force which tends to pull the club outward, is so great that he involuntarily pulls in his hands for fear he will go beyond the ball. After two or three tries he finally lets his arms out enough to reach it.
There is usually plenty of energy in his swing, and he has only to consider how far he has to reach to the ball. As soon as he begins to learn to hit his ball accurately he loses the natural freedom of his swing.
If the hands and arms were in motion in the address it would be necessary to have them reaching for the ball, but as they are stationary the idea should be to obtain the easiest and most comfortable position in order that as the player reaches the top of his swing he will not have tired the muscles from holding a set position.
In the illustration I show the hands to the left of the line between the eyes and the ball. This position of the hand insures that I will not reach the bottom of my swing until after I have reached my ball.