Every right-handed golfer knows the left arm should be straight at address. (For lefties, it’s the opposite.) But what about the right arm?

There’s no hard-and-fast rule about the right arm’s position at setup, but this much is key: It should be relaxed, not tense. If you squeeze the club tightly with the right hand or rigidly extend the arm from shoulder to club, the tension will prevent you from rotating arms and club correctly on the backswing.

Typically, the right arm will form a pretty straight line from the shoulder to the club’s grip, with minimal bend at the elbow. Many teachers advocate a “soft” right arm, with a slight elbow bend so that the right forearm hangs a touch below the left. From here, the right arm can fold more naturally on the backswing, promoting proper rotation of the arms to get the club on plane. This easy bending of the right arm is a key element of a Compact swing.

If your right arm tends to get far away from the body going back, try relaxing it during your setup while allowing the elbow to droop a little. Then take the club back until the hands are at hip height and the shaft parallel to the ground. If the club points directly to your right, parallel to the target line, with the toe pointing straight up, you’re in perfect position.

If the club and/or toe point in front of you, a stiff right arm could be inhibiting your rotation. Loosen up the elbow and your swing will flow much better.