Ross Oct 01, 2021 · Edited
The height the arms/club travel “up” (as you say) is different for every golfer depending on their body size, type and height… and the amount of tilt each golfer has in their spine, depending on the club selection and course conditions (level ground, on a slope, ball above/below). Age and flexibility is another factor that limits the shoulder turn.
Now, your friends mean well, but actually lifting your arms higher does not necessarily equal more distance. It does equal disconnection from the Large muscles and the chance for more inconsistency in many areas, but usually, the arms/club getting left behind is one of the first. Keep in mind that if done correctly, the shoulders will move the arms/club up roughly perpendicular to the spine angle. Your maximum distance is about how efficiently you wind up and unwind and how square the club face returns, and how close to the sweet spot on the club face you make contact. There are other factors.
There is a difference in actually lifting the arms in the backswing and the arms being moved by the shoulders. The arms may continue slightly at the top of the backswing due to the momentum of being moved by the shoulders. This can happen to golfers with a faster backswing. I’m not suggesting to speed up your backswing, I’m only mentioning that there might be a little more momentum at a faster pace and it may take the arms/club slightly higher. This must be done by the shoulders or you’ll disconnect.