Finding “The Slot” in Your Golf Swing

When golfers refer to the secret of “finding the slot” it can be somewhat problematic because it’s so often misunderstood how you get there.

Luckily, in Jim McLean’s new book, The Slot Swing,he does a terrific job of explaining the golf swing slot and what that means exactly and more importantly, how to find the often elusive “slot”

This is the one statement that got me to buy the book below:

“In 99 percent of professional swings, the downswing shaft position is flatter than the backswing shaft position”

And consequently:

“One main reason recreational players suffer and frequently hit slices, pulls, and pull-slices in that they swing over the top. In a majority of the amateur swings I’ve seen and analyzed, the downswing shaft position is steeper than the backswing shaft position.”

For those of you who are not quite clear what exactly is “the slot” it is the dropping of the club from the backswing to the forward swing where the club “falls” into a slot – most typically felt by the the right elbow (if a right-handed golfer) dropping towards your right hip and instead of your right forearm being more parallel to the ground it leans toward being more vertical.

When your right arm does become more parallel to the ground, you typically get the feeling of your arms being detached from your body and the dreaded “over the top” move is inevitable. Man, I know that feeling all to well!

But when you DO feel the slot, you have a feeling of graceful power, fluidity and a totally feeling of integration with your entire body. Ironically, due to biomechanic efficiencies, your swing seems much easier and effortless. Remember, the slot position is the key fundamental downswing key to hitting successful shots. It’s the perfect place to deliver a solid, accurate strike with speed and with the proper angle of attack.

Oddly enough, I was fooling around with this fairly intensely at the end of the golf season. Even trying to exaggerate this as I felt I was really on to something and my irons were getting crisper and crispier (love that word crisp as it relates to golf!)

Anyway, what I did was really feel my golf club shaft being more vertical in my backswing, my left elbow (I’m a lefty) dis-attaching from by body and assuming and almost horizontal position (or parallel to the ground) the shaft assuming a almost perpendicular position to the ground, then dropping the elbow back down (as you do this your same forearm because more vertical) in the transition.

If you try this, it has a very Jim Furyk type of feel to it. Almost feels corkscrew-like and to me, quite a powerful, integrating move. Where I ran into trouble was a competitive round where I tried to rush the swing. A move like this takes time to build and time to unfold. So be aware of this when trying to integrate the feeling.

In the book Jim explains the “Three Shapes of the Slot Swing” which is really fascinating. I basically thought I knew these but then realized I really did not. The first being The “Standard” Slot Swing epitomized by Sergio Garcia. The “Single Plane” Slot Swing represented by Tiger and finally, The “Reverse” Slot Swing of whom Bruce Lietzke (or Sam Snead) best represents.

Jim suggests picking the one that feels most appropriate. However for MOST of his students he recommends The “Standard” Slot Swing. I suggest try them all out (just a few practice swings and you can easily find this out) and see what best works for your swing type.

Another thing that I really loved about the book were the illustrations by Phil Franke. There are 75 in all and do an amazing job of clarifying Jim’s concepts. I love that you can see the arrows going back and then the arrows going forward in the illustrations. In this case a picture really is worth a thousand words.

Additionally, Mr. McLean includes 6 drills to help re-enforce “The Slot” concepts. Some I have seen before but the last one (#6) is a doozy (I won’t give it away) but this one drill (I have never seen it before) just might get you into THE consistent slot and solve your problem once and for all!

One drill I found effective fooling around with my own swing was swinging a club with one hand. In my case (again, being a lefty) was my left arm. Swinging the club more vertically on the backswing and then flattening the shaft on the downswing. Making sure you are pouting the butt end of the club at the ball in the downswing. It’s exaggerates the concept a little but (to me anyway) really helped re-enforce the feeling.

Jim McLean has studies thousands of hours of video, has studied the pros by eye, has had conversations with the all time greats, given thousands of lessons so he knows a thing or two about the golf swing. The book (with all the illustrations) is a pretty fast read but I really believe “The Slot” is one of the keys to becoming a consistent and powerful ball striker.

To get the book go here: The Slot Swing: The Proven Way to Hit Consistent and Powerful Shots Like the Pros.

The Kallassy Swing Magic Driverwill help you re-inforce the slot position.

Find the “Pro Slot” with the Power Angle Pro.

  • The muscle memory and training it takes to drop the club into the slot does take a while, but the rewards are well worth the effort. I have adhered to this philosophy for the last 5 years and my ball-striking is the best it has ever been. I am now hitting a little draw and my index/handicap has dropped from a 10 to a 5. Now if i could just make a 10 foot putt!

  • Steve, can you share any tips you’ve used the last 5 years that have really helped you to get the club ‘into the slot’?

  • In my book, “The Secret of Hogan’s Swing”, I go into detail about Ben Hogan “laying off” the club in the transition from backswing to downswing.The club lays off into the slot Jim talks about. The lay off can only be accomplished by starting the swing with the lower body.

  • dhoon

    I tried this very sucessfully. In that at top of your backswing you are already in slot and no need to drop further, this is a flatter backswing or single plane. just rotate your hips laterally and feel power on your right arm during downswing. i am 10 handicap but now very regularly playing on average 4-6 over