As I noted in the comments yesterday, one of the major teachers of the arm-powered golf swing is Manuel de la Torre, who works with LPGA golfer Sherri Steinhauer, among others, and has worked with players like legend Carol Mann. His father, Angel de la Torre, was (as I understand it) the first golf professional from Spain as well as a student of Ernest Jones, a teacher who has been commended by players as varied as Bobby Jones and Gary McCord.
Ernest Jones was an English golf professional who lost his right leg in World War I and set about learning how to play well without it. His book Swing the Clubhead is still available and considered a classic of golf teaching.
Manuel de la Torre is the current master when it comes to the Ernest Jones method. I don't like to quote extended passages from any book, but this introductory section from his book Understanding the Golf Swing is a brief explanation of the arm-powered golf swing that's probably better than anything I can do in a single post. Hopefully this will give you a clearer picture of what current arm swing teachers focus on; it's slightly different from the arm swing used by players like Harry Vardon, but only because the guy who developed it was missing a leg. It's from pages 8 and 9 of the book:
The swinging concept maintains that if you produce a swinging motion with the golf club:Obviously, in #4, the right elbow would be the left elbow if you're a leftie, and what it means is that you don't consciously pull the elbow to your side; it just "ends up there" if you swing correctly. And yes, that awkward phrasing in #2 is copied correctly. Read it a few times and it will make sense.
The problem with trying to do any of these things consciously is that we overdo them, and, furthermore, whatever we try to do will be at the wrong time.
- The left arm will be extended (not straight) by the centrifugal force produced by the swinging motion. It simply has to be responsive.
- The head will remain down sufficiently long through the instinctive human reaction of looking at whatever is going to be struck.
- The weight will transfer to the left foot (right foot for left-handed players) after the club strikes the ball by having the body respond to the centrifugal force created by the swinging motion.
- The body turn that takes place on the forward swing as the body responds to the club's swinging motion will produce a definite closeness of the body and the right elbow. It is not the elbow that gets close to the body.
- By using the arms in the forward swing, the club will start correctly from the beginning of the forward swing without trying to use a pulling action with the left hand (right hand for left-handed players) to start it.
- Wrist action will be an involuntary reaction to the coiling action (backswing) and the uncoiling action (forward swing) of the club. It is caused by the circular motion needed to swing the club over the right shoulder (left shoulder for left-handed players). In the forward swing it is caused by the centrifugal force created through the swinging motion.
To repeat, the emphasis in our presentation is that, having set the club on a true swinging motion the golfer must then allow the body to respond to the motion of the swing itself.
The big difference here between this swing and a leg-powered swing is that the latter requires you to consciously perform actions in a certain order, while the arm-powered swing de la Torre is talking about focuses on swinging the arms and just letting everything else happen as a reaction to the arm swing.
It may sound bizarre when you read his intro here, but it's actually an amazing swing. I can swing both ways -- arm swing and leg swing -- and the two feel distinctly different. I can also tell you for sure that this arm-powered swing takes less energy than a comparable leg-powered swing, but it develops a lot of clubhead speed. It truly is a swing where feel means as much (or more) than technique, because the feel of the swing almost creates the technique.
Anyway, I hope this intro from de la Torre's book helps explain the arm-powered concept a little better. His book is one of the few I've seen that devotes a lot of time to using the swing to create different types of shots.