MIAMI, Fla. – The new book from teacher Jim McLean – “The Slot Swing” (John Wiley & Sons, $25.95) – is the best golf instruction book I have ever read.
Not only is it the best, but it also is the most honest.
Why is it the best?
Because anybody can understand it. Very little mumbo jumbo here.
Because it clearly defines the notion of a “slot” on the downswing and offers three different methods for achieving it.
In short, the slot is a path to the ball, or a position just before impact in which the golfer feels the downswing plane flattening out and the club working from the inside.
Why is the book so honest?
Because McLean repeatedly admits the difficulties of teaching the golf swing. In the process, he does a masterful job of simplifying the concepts in this book.
McLean is most straightforward, though, when he attempts to clarify his celebrated theory of the X-Factor (the lower body should resist the turning action of the upper body).
Here is part of what he writes: “ … resistance can be overdone, and most amateurs don’t have the flexibility to coil their upper bodies tightly against their lower bodies. I recommend that you turn your hips between 40 and 60 degrees in your backswing.”
Holy cow! I interpret this as repudiation – at least for ordinary golfers – of the X-Factor. I applaud McLean for this observation.
I am convinced McLean’s book can help many players hit the ball more solidly and perhaps add distance. This is not some pie-in-the-sky swing that can be achieved only by elite golfers. McLean’s slot swing makes sense in a real world composed of real golfers.
Here is the nucleus of his message: The slot swing accommodates many different types of backswings. On the downswing, just drop the club into the slot. This is ideal for hitting a draw, but McLean also explains the slot fade.
There are plenty of examples of well-known players who defy standard backswing principles – from Miller Barber to Jim Furyk to Sergio Garcia to Bruce Leitzke – and all are united by their ability to find the slot on the downswing.
In essence, “The Slot Swing” is a book for golfers who have had their fill of analyzing the backswing. Plain and simple, they would rather concentrate on hitting the ball.
The reader receives plenty of visual assistance in this book, thanks to gifted illustrator Phil Franke. If you ask me, these are the best and most helpful illustrations since Ben Hogan’s famous “Five Lessons,” which first appeared in 1957.
Bravo for this entire project. McLean spent the last 18 months designing the new Jim McLean Signature Course here at Doral Golf Resort, & Spa, but somehow also managed to finish his 10th golf book.
I believe it is by far his best.