Golf Slot: The Key Position to Groove Your Swing
You’ve heard of an athlete being “in the zone.” In golf, you’ll never visit that magical realm unless your swing is “in the slot.”
What is the golf slot? Nothing mysterious or elusive, really. Doesn’t even require a pro’s talent to find it. The slot is simply a position halfway into the downswing where the right elbow (for a right-hander) is tucked close to the right hip and the club is tracking a path to the ball from inside the target line.
Every pro golfer’s swing is built to put the club in this slot. An inside angle of attack – aka an inside-to-out swing path – is necessary to draw the ball. It also maximizes power by compressing the ball against the clubface in a way that’s practically impossible if your swing is outside-to-inside (aka “over the top”).
Most avid amateur golfers know an inside-out path is preferred. Many are familiar with the “slot” concept as well. Yet few actually achieve this coveted position because, after reaching the top of the backswing, their first move down is with the shoulders and arms. This “casting” motion sends the club above or outside the correct downswing plane, robbing them of power and causing slices, pulls and sometimes topped shots.
This isn’t purely a downswing problem, though. In fact, it starts with the backswing.
Many amateurs fail to make a full, correctly balanced turn away from the ball. Their shoulders don’t rotate enough, and too much of their weight remains on their left side at the top of the swing. From here, it’s natural for the upper body to control the downswing.
The classic checkpoints for a full backswing turn are to rotate the shoulders to reach a 90° angle to the target line (with the hips at about 45°), with 75 – 80% of your weight on the right side (centered over the inside of the right foot). From here, you’re poised to start the downswing with a target-ward shift of the lower body.
Now, here’s the big key: During the downswing, your back should face the target for as long as possible. You may feel a stretching sensation in your back as the lower body “separates” from the upper body. With your lower body in the lead, the shoulders and arms hang back, dropping the club into the slot for a powerful inside attack.
Here are a couple of simple drills to instill a proper downswing sequence and get your swing in the golf slot.
Pull-down Slot Drill
- Pick any club and set up to the ball.
- Make a full backswing turn, with 75 – 80% of your weight on the right side at the top.
Pause for a second or two.
- Slowly swing down until your hands reach waist height. Remember, you should feel as though your back faces the target for as long as possible.
- At this point, your right elbow close to your right hip.
- Without resetting, take the club back to the top and pull down three more times with a quicker pumping action.
- On the fourth pump, hit the ball and swing through to the finish.
This drill can be practiced without a ball as well.
Wall Slot Drill
- Using any club and standing with your back about 1 ½’ from a wall, assume your address position.
- Swing to the top and allow the clubhead to rest against the wall. You may need to adjust your distance from the wall depending on your swing plane.
- Swing down very slowly with clubhead touching the wall until your hands reach hip height.
- That’s what it feels like to be “in the slot.”
When conducting both drills, it’s important to keep your back to the target. This assures that your lower body leads while the shoulders uncoil slowly.