Believe it or not, this is 100% true and verifiable story one that many people find hard to swallow. What makes it even more difficult to believe is that this feat was performed during the late 70s and early 80s while this gentleman was touring the world with the 350 club an elite group of long driving golfers. The membership in that group was restricted to only those who had hit the ball over 350 yards in professional long driving competition, Mike was considered to be the anchorman on that team because he could hit it very long and ht the fairway. He compiled that record, with the almost stone age equipment available at that time, of a wooden steel shafted driver and a wound balata golf ball. The gentleman who performed at this level was none other than the late Mike Austin, the owner of the longest recorded drive ever recorded in PGA Tour history of 515 yards. He did it while competing in the National Senior open and the shot was witnessed by many thousands of spectators that lined the fairway. He hit many 400+ yard drives that day so it was no fluke. Mr. Austin set this incredible record at the tender age of 64, so it should come as no surprise that he was still hitting the ball great distances for many years into the future until felled by a huge stroke at the age of 79.
Mike Austin was known for many things, but the one that people are becoming more and more interested in is the way he swung the golf club. Mike swing was very unique in comparison to what is commonly taught today, but by all accounts it’s much easier to learn, more effective in hitting the ball powerfully and much easier on the body especially the back and knees according to Dan Shauger who spent over twenty five years learning from and working with Mike. As Mike and his ball striking abilities become more well known, people are coming to us from all over the planet to learn the swing, says Dan. Many of my students are very frustrated trying to learn the modern golf swing, as currently taught. Many are hampered by bad backs and or knees or just cannot make the moves that are being taught to get distance out of their bodies. After much expense in lessons and frustration by lack of progress and aching bodies, that they are eager to try something a little different. What they learn is that it’s not them, it’s the technique that they have been trying to use to hit a golf ball.
For the record according to Shauger, Mike was a very bright and well educated man with a PhD in Kinesiology ( the study of how the body moves) with a BS in mechanical engineering. Nothing in this swing is done by accident. Every part and piece of every body movement is done in an exact way, there is no guesswork. And, he continues, the swing is much easier to learn because it’s done in small parts and steps that build upon each other. One thing we don’t use says Dan is a lot of stop action video trying to make people mimic his positions. The golf swing is a fluid movement, all parts of the body move in relation to each other, not some exercise for a robot. I see how other people are practicing at driving ranges and I know why they are not getting any better, the body just does not work the way people are trying to use it to hit the golf ball.
When asked about why the swing is not more popular Dan replies as follows: Mike was the longest hitter of his and probably any era, but he was always way too aggressive when it came to course management and a horrible putter for a lot of the same reasons. If Mike could have gotten these areas under control and found the winner’s circle more often, more people would probably been interested in his method. The golf swing went in a certain direction because of the success of certain individuals at the professional level including Ben Hogan, Sam Snead and Byron Nelson to mention a few. These men all had very fluid and distinct swings, but had many similar characteristics in their swings including but not limited to a very posted right leg that never changed it’s address angle. That said, they all had significantly more leg movement than what is commonly seen and taught today, but none of them pivoted as Austin did. After Hogan’s book “Five Lessons, The Modern Fundamentals of Golf,” there was has been an ever increasing trend toward quieting the lower body and trying to swing with limited leg involvement and a restricted hip turn, something that Austin vehemently disagreed with and was very vocal about when he was still alive. Mike was a very opinionated and strong willed man, says Dan, he was outdriving many of his contemporaries by 60 to 100 yards. Mike was not afraid to share his opinion that based on his education and experience that golf teaching was going in the wrong direction, but once convention becomes accepted, it’s very hard to change people’s mind’s or perception.
With the availability of information on the internet and many golfers looking to gain distance, their search for information about Mike Austin often leads them to Dan Shauger. Make no mistake says Dan, Mike was not just long he was straighter than anyone I have ever seen. That’s what makes the swing so unique. While there is always some sacrifice of accuracy for distance our students are both much straighter and longer because of the way we pivot and the hand and arm movements we do when we release the golf club.
I have people coming to me from all over the world to learn this swing says Dan. Many of my longer hitting pro’s are in Europe including Olivier Schmit and Pierre Puissett who in regular and senior tours events respectively drive the ball well over 350 yards with the some of the smoothest most effortless swings that most people have ever seen. People just don’t understand how someone can hit the ball that far with that little perceived effort.
I have people coming to me that are ready to quit golf in many cases because they are so frustrated and confused by the instruction they’ve received and can barely hit the ball a reasonable distance with any accuracy. I’ve had students that have been told they should give the game up and try something else. We’ve been able to help just about everyone. My average student gains 20 yards on just their pitching wedge not to mention the woods and driver.
We’re starting to get pretty busy says Dan. Recently we launched a membership site to teach the entire swing, plus how to play golf. The response has been great and since the membership comes with a money back guarantee, people are confident they will not be wasting their time and money. Anyone interested should visit danshaugergolf.com.