Mike Dunaway’s Shock Absorbers

Mike-DunawayIf you look at this video compilation of Mike Dunaway’s swings back when he was the dominant driver on the planet (John Daly said MD was longer than him, Greg Norman called him the best driver of the ball that ever lived, etc.), you’ll see what I was talking about in my posting on the knees being “shock absorbers.”

I want to also mention Mike’s website Dunaway Long, for those who weren’t aware that he has returned to golf after a lengthy absence.

It has always been a mystery to me why Mike Dunaway wasn’t a household name in golf from the ’90s going forward.

Swing techniques have improved over the years, but you still won’t see a better swing action than Dunaway’s from years ago.

Take a look at his swings, and remember my point on never having a completely straight leading leg, even through impact and continuing to the finish.

The father of modern long driving also maintained a good knee flex on the the leading leg through impact to the finish.  He only straightens his leading leg at the end of the swing in a kind of “stick and pose” move.  Through the swing, it’s always flexed.

Mike Dunaway’s Knee Flex

If Mike Dunaway was the longest and straightest driver in the early days of long driving, the modern era, then I think you might want to revisit that leading leg snap and jump if you think it’s giving you more power.


It isn’t – what it’s doing is causing damage to your leading knee and hip area that you will regret in years to come, more likely than not…

Dunaway will forever be (in my opinion) the man with the greatest golf swing that most people have never heard of, and that’s a shame.

21 thoughts on “Mike Dunaway’s Shock Absorbers

  1. Brandon

    Deej I am surprised that you haven’t mentioned Dunaway’s version of the slide. You know….how he picks that rear foot up and brings it forward on tthe followthrough. I can’t believe you missed that 😉

    1. D Watts Post author

      Actually, Brandon – I considered throwing that in as well, but I figured one of my savvy guys would point that out for me… I do sometimes leave things out to see who mentions it first.

      You win! 😉

      PS – if you take a look at Gary Woodland’s swing, he’s got the same delayed slide action going on.

      There’s simply no way to pivot fully to the target with a full weight shift to the leading foot without it…

      1. Brandon


        One of the other things I noticed in that video is that on some driver swings his pivot finishes more square to target but on a few(peach shirt), it looks like he swung a bit faster because that right leg goes out to the target line more at followthrough. then again I may just be seeing things.

        1. D Watts Post author

          You’ll see the clue in the leading foot – more flared in the peach shirt, so more dynamic through impact. My only complaint with Dunaway’s swing, the only one, is how square his leading foot is at times.

          He got away with it, but then again, perhaps he didn’t, as his playing venture lasted two tournaments and he had problems with control.

          Critiquing Dunaway’s swing is like pointing out a tiny flaw in a prized painting – it’s a work of art, whatever you say about it….

  2. Buddhabob

    keep in mind I think in his prime he was hitting Persimmons 375. Thats phenomenal. I suspect his game all went South due to health problems and obesity.

  3. Buddhabob

    Also will reiterate about Dunaway. I think he was one of those guys who was bear strong from the beginning. Very low center of gravity, forearms like tree logs, thighs the size of oak tree trunks, rumored to have trained by running stairs in a football stadium while carrying weights. Any decent swing he would have adopted would have yielded uncommon distances. Its just nature’s way of humbling all of us.

    1. Brandon

      Yea he was a fullback at Arkansas University so I can believe his training regimen. He was already driving 350 before he met Mike Austin but it was said that his swing was raw. It was just pure power. Austin channeled his power and turned him into the machine we have been seeing for years. I don’t know his overall game but I know one story that had me thinking that he just couldn’t keep his nerves in check to hit shots in a grand stage tournament.


      1. D Watts Post author

        That’s an awesome story, Brandon – I wonder what year that was, I imagine sometime in the late 90’s as he mentioned Arnie being 78. If Dunaway was right about the prostate cancer diagnosis coming that year, that would make it the ’97 Pebble Beach.

        I think there’s something weird going on, some serendipity perhaps, with Brandon posting this story of the Dunaway shank – I’ve been looking at something last evening and am actually going to the range today to look at something that has intrigued me for years. It has to do with shanks and why they happen.

        More on this later at DJ’s Watering Hole…

          1. D Watts Post author

            I’ll have something posted at DJ’s Watering Hole tonight or early tomorrow with some video, AndyMac! 🙂

    2. D Watts Post author

      I have a similar experience, buddhabob – I don’t think I can hit the ball any longer today than I did at age 27-28 when I had practically no golf swing knowledge. I remember playing with my Callaway Big Bertha (tip to Dunaway, who helped to develop the Big Bertha, though I didn’t have any idea who MD was until 2008) strong 3 wood because I couldn’t control the driver, and I could hit that thing 325 yards on a good pop.

      Unfortunately, it was all raw power, and my swing research has always been about finding accuracy and consistency in the swing. I may have hit some longer drives in the years of my swing research, but I’d put that down to having better technique and getting the sweet spot purely, over having a higher swing speed.

  4. Just Joe

    Hey DJ, Joe here, you sent your video to me again and I got it to work on a PC, it wouldn’t on my iPad. Thanks Now for business I thought you did a good job on the video. I’ve watched your web site for some time now plus I’ve got all of Mike Dunaway videos.

    All good stuff I do believe in this swing and I’m all in. I think in one of your short videos you mentioned the feeling that your shoulders don’t turn. This works good for me as I say in ( in my minds eye) or feelings they don’t but of course they do.

    It just better for me to think of it more of a rocking motion even though most teachers seem to hate that analogy. Dunaway mentions crimping your side muscles, I like that thought to Rock my shoulders and not turn them. Any words of wisdom. Thanks Joe

    1. D Watts Post author

      Hey Joe, thanks for dropping in! Great to know you’re “all in” on the swing, and let me answer your comments about the shoulders:

      Without seeing your swing action, I’d have to conclude based on your observation that you’re simply pivoting correctly, with the hips freely moving on the weight shift. The “turning” sensation usually comes from the separation between the hips and the torso, and that’s not a good thing IMO, as you know already.

      When you pivot with the correct hip action, they’re synched, and the sensation you get is what you’re describing. “Feel vs Real,” the saying goes. I think you’re on the right track and I used the side-crimp analogy or something close to it in the MCS 3.0 video, so I can’t argue with Dunaway’s description there – if that’s the visual you use and want to continue to use, I say go for it!

      Feel free to let me know how things work out going forward 🙂


  5. Buddhabob

    Brandon I just ordered the Spectrum driver head, a 5 degree. Seems like they were giving them away. The Nemesis only is available in 8 degree unfortunately.

    yeah the stuff on Dunaway is very interesting. We had a guy on our golf team when I was a kid who was uncommonly strong and a terrific athlete. He went on to play defensive back at Arizonia State. He could carry a balata ball high and 300 yards with a persimmon wood and zero training. Probably would hit 350 today easy.

    1. Brandon

      enjoy the spectrum Buddhabob. It is a very solid head. If you don’t like how small that head is, the Encore is the big younger brother of the Spectrum sitting at 450CC. They are both low launching very low spin heads. I have a nemesis and don’t like it much. JMO

      It is interesting and sad that Dunaway’s life has gone the way it has. It almost looks like the long drive version of John Daly. It’s something about those Arkansas boys.

    1. D Watts Post author

      That’s from 2011, I wonder if that’s still going on, buddhabob – we used to have a Canadian branch of the Long Drivers of America, but that only lasted a year or two – I’ll check this out!

  6. Buddhabob

    saw this vid last night. Thought it was a nicer and more innocent version of the Remax thing and might be a way for DJ to garner some attention in Canada, go over there for the weekend with the long clubs and go for it. Don’t know if Sellinger has shut it down though and brought all the long drive competitions under the same umbrella. Love that guy with the Keegan squat, funny. Winning swat was 374 so they aren’t fooling around.

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