I like the phrase coined by the great golfer Bobby Jones: “Freewheeling through impact”, however this does not mean that you want to wave your arms over your head during the golf swing so that a plane lands on you.
The golf swing’s engine is powered by a rotating pivot of your shoulders and hips into a resisting base (knees, legs, and feet). The responsibility of the arms is to secure width at address, and contain the flow of energy from the feet up through the torso and then out through them to the club head during the swing motion. This does not mean that the arms should be stiff while swinging but taut like when you tie your shoe lace. The laces are pulled together like your arms should be as a result of the momentum of the club head swinging. If these laces or arms are free to flap around as a result of independent lifting of the club during the swing the result will be unpredictable and inconsistent at best.
The towel drill for years has been used by tour professionals and amateurs alike as a way to tie your shoe lace arms together during the golf swing. I realize at first when you place a towel under both arms on your chest and try to swing you will feel like a walker in the walking dead however this exaggerated containment of the arms will teach them to react to the pivot rather that act independent of it. Try the towel drill with an 8 iron teed up and hit half to three quarter shots to feel the unity of arms and body working together. Once you feel this oneness you can allow your arms to gain some reactionary freedom so they can free wheel up and around your body and swing. Sensing the pulling force of the club head when swinging free is a great thought when allowing your shoe lace arms to whip the club head into and through the ball.
To test this theory take one sneaker and hold both shoe laces and swing the shoe in a circle. The momentum will pull your shoe laces taut and tighten them the same way a golf club does during the swing. Many tour professionals do this drill in the locker room before they tee off. Just Kidding!
Remember do not swing like an untied shoe lace or else a plane may think you are waving at them and land on you.
2004/2006 North Florida Section PGA Teacher of the Year
Director of Instruction, Dent/Bradshaw School of Golf
Heritage Isles Golf Club