Every golfer has hit a shot that felt absolutely perfect. They could almost sense the contact midway through the downswing. This feeling is known as “the slot.” It is an area in the downswing that the club passes through on the way to impact. “The slot” is what every golfer strives for on every full shot. The feeling that you know it’s going to be a good shot before you make contact.
Ben Hogan made this feeling well known during his pursuit of greatness. You often see a picture of him coming into the ball about halfway down with his wrists cocked, hips clearing, getting ready to explode onto the ball.
Finding “the slot” is a combination of the golf club, the body and motion all synching up in anticipation of impact. All play a key part but must work in unison to create “the slot.”
The downswing body motion is a resistance between the upper and lower body. In the backswing, the lower body is quiet while the upper body is active. The opposite is true in the downswing. The shoulders and back stay turned at the start of the downswing. This feeling is critical to create “the slot.” As the upper body remains quiet, the feet, knees and hips become active. At the start of the downswing, there’s a slight lateral shift from the back foot to the front foot. By creating this small lateral shift, it allows the arms and club to drop down to the inside at the start of the downswing.
The golf club is ultimately controlled by the hands and arms. When the upper body stays turned and the lower body creates a lateral shift, the golf club, arms and hands can attack from the inside. Once the lower body starts to shift, the golf club should be pulled with the arms and hands. The shifting and pulling is a key component to create lag and slot the club.
Motion is what pulls all the different body parts together. There’s a rhythm that goes to shifting the weight, staying turned and pulling the club. Ideally, the lower body initiates as the arms and hands then pull the club. This combination of feelings then makes way for the hips to clear as the lead arm and hand rotate the club into impact. The sensation is that you’re hitting up against your lead leg and the back of the lead hand is facing the target at impact. When done properly, the sensation is powerful and effortless.
To get into ‘the slot,’ you must start the downswing keeping your back and shoulders turned. Your weight starts to shift, with your feet/knees and hips, from the back foot to the front foot. As the weight shifts, the handle of the club starts to pull down. Ideally, the club should pull down on the angle of the swing plan. The shifting of the weight and the pulling of the club creates some lag in the golf shaft. This becomes stored up energy for impact.