Ask the Top 100: Why do so many golf tips contradict each other?

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I'm new golfer and I am totally confused by all the contradicting advice I get. For example, at different times I've been told to start my downswing by 1.) Kicking in my right knee, or 2.) Pulling down with my left arm while transferring my weight to my left side, or 3.) Turning my left hip as fast as I can. Can all of these be right? If so, which should I choose? Thanks for your help.Bob B., Tahoe, Calif. Bob, You left out at least 11 other really good tips that would give you a grand total of -- hmmmm, wait a minute, where's my abacus? -- 14 swing tips. Don't worry, you have plenty of time since your downswing lasts a full half a second. 
Since you're new to the game, you need to find a Top 100 Teacher nearest you (check here) to ensure a lifetime of good golf. Your teacher will give you a blueprint for your swing so you'll know exactly what you should be focusing on. Then you can save your tips for the racetrack.
In the meantime, I'll say this: Tips only work if they happen to fit in with the rest of your swing mechanics. They are like trying on someone else's shoes -- unless you wear exactly the same size as the owner, they won't fit.
Swing keys on the other hand are personalized. These keys come from the blueprint of your swing; they are the pieces that you have to knit together to form the whole. A good swing key is an integral part of your whole swing which you have chosen to focus on during your swing. One round, your swing key might focus on your hip turn, another round you may focus on your grip or keeping your spine angle.
Word to the wise guys: You need to use a swing key that is familiar. The worst thing you can do is use a new, unrehearsed swing key during a round. An unfamiliar thought activates a response to manipulate the club and that will end in a lunge or a lurch. But when your brain finds a key that has been rehearsed, it allows your swing to continue uninterrupted.
Many top players have one, maximum two thoughts that relate to their swing. These are termed swing keys in that they are thoughts that give you access to your complete swing, just like a key opens the door to where the valuables are kept.
Good luck with your search and keep me posted! I watch Sergio on TV and they always talk about his lag move at the top of his backswing, where he drops his hands into the slot. How do drop my hands into the slot to deliver the club on an inside-out swing path without losing the coil that I've created in my backswing?Ben H., Leominster, Mass. Hi BenI'm going to tell you a story about a frog, but I don't want you to get jumpy. (Ouch!) For a long time nobody could figure out how a frog -- with such small leg muscles -- could jump so far. Turns out, the reason is something called the stretch/shorten cycle: Kermit stretches his muscles first just before he contracts them.
The same dynamic is at work when you start your downswing from the top with a turn of the hips. Your hip move causes the muscles in your upper torso to stretch, building up energy in the same way a frog crouches before he leaps.
Watch the great swings of players like Ben Hogan and Sergio Garcia and you'll see them move their hips forward and left before they even finish their backswing. This is why Sergio -- who would never get work as a bouncer like Vijay Singh did -- can still driver it farther. The differential caused by the hips going forward and left while the shoulders/arms go back can increase the amount of power in your swing by 40 to 60 percent. The Trapping Sequence Starting forward and around with your hips before you finish your backswing also traps the club in the slot so your key power sequence (that is, your lag) is maintained. Here's how it works: 1.) On the way back to the ball the hips trap or lead the shoulders, 2.) The shoulders lead the hands, and 3.) The hands lead the clubhead. All you have to do is rotate and this sequence will occur naturally.
So don't try to do anything except get left a little earlier then you're used to -- you should feel an increase in your stretch at the top, then just keep everything that's moving in sync. Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher T.J. Tomasi, Ph.D., a Class A PGA professional, teaches at the Nantucket Golf Club in Massachusetts. You can learn more about T.J. at

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