Many average golfers I have watched defeat their purpose at the very beginning of the stroke: they address the ball with their shoulders level, the right raised as high as the left. If you think things over for a moment, you will realize that the left hand grips the club a full hand's length higher along the shaft than the right hand does. With both shoulders level and both arms extended, it follows that if your left arm is extended comfortably, the right will be strained and rigid. This is exactly opposite to what you want in golf: you want a straight left arm and a relaxed right arm.
At address a golfer's right shoulder should hang three or four inches lower than the left. This enables the right arm to be in a relatively relaxed position. In turn, the right elbow, when it is not overextended stiffly at address, will be in a position where it can perform its correct function. On the backswing, the right elbow "folds" close to the body so that, at the top of the backswing, the straight line between the right wrist and the elbow points vertically toward the ground and not horizontally toward the horizon. It is really quite impossible for a golfer to move into the proper hitting position if his right elbow is "floating" incorrectly at the top of the backswing.
One further point. Do not think of the position of address as a nonactive part of the swing. The arms, hands and shoulders naturally seek to return to the approximate position of address when they enter the hitting area.
from SHELLEY MAYFIELD, Meadow Brook Club, Westbury, N.Y.