Dunaway’s Best Swing Model

The swing model Mike Dunaway showed in the clip I’ve been showing is a nearly flawless one, and it’s too bad that it changed over the years, because I can’t see all that much in it that would have prevented him playing tournament golf.

I’ve been looking at it from all of the angles and there’s not much head shift at all, compared to some of the other swing variations he showed over the years.

In the Peace River video, you can see clearly how much his head was shifting on the back swing pivot:

And while the head shift in this swing from the Sybervision clip shows how little shift he had here, it’s still there, and that’s about all you could say that wasn’t optimal in Dunaway’s swing:

Now, this is usually not a problem if you’re a long driver or even if you’re hitting balls or playing golf most of the time, but under pressure, that is a real problem for delivering the club face to the ball squarely.

Granted, you will have players who have a lot of head motion on the back swing and still can win tournaments, as Rickie Fowler recently showed with this pretty awful-looking swing model (I’m sorry, I have to be honest, and this looks really bad):

The difference is that Fowler is a tournament player and has lots of time to work on getting something out of this cobbled-together action, which Butch Harmon actually praises in the Golf Digest piece from which I got the gif., and Dunaway was a long driver who never played tournament golf until his attempt to crack the Senior Tour back in the 90’s.

If you’ve never had to play scoring golf for money, in your 50’s is not the optimal time to start, and if there is anything in your swing that is not optimal, nerves will affect the shot-making.

If you have followed Fowler, in fact, you’ll know that he went into the Honda Classic this year with the lead and hit some really loose shots trying to bring it home, and looking at his swing, you can see that even a great talent like Fowler will struggle under the pressure of final round action with a move this erratic.

Mike Dunaway’s Excellent Action

So, under normal circumstances, you can groove a swing with head motion, but under pressure, you’re going to get some iffy shots, and Dunaway didn’t last long in his tournament attempts, when he was blading wedges from the fairway under the glare.

So, Dunaway could have made this swing work for tournament golf, I have no doubt, if he’d had more time to learn how to play tournament golf (casual golf and tournament golf are two different animals) instead of jumping in at the age of 50, and he might have succeeded if he’d stuck with it, but that shifting head is always a problem, however good you are.

Out of all the slightly varied swing models I’ve seen from Dunaway however, this one was the best, in my humble opinion.

In fact, give him a little more right bias so that his head at address was where it moved on the back swing, and you’re looking at a swing model that would be a killer, both in long driving and playing golf.



8 thoughts on “Dunaway’s Best Swing Model

  1. Laser

    “how much his head was shifting on the back swing pivot”

    –Obviously, a head that appears stable to an outside observer is going to make things more consistent for the golfer. But, is trying to “freeze” the head the right answer?

    Here’s a video of George Knudson that I never noticed before, although I’ve seen excerpts from it:


    If you advance it to about 5:50, there’s a nice close-up of Knudson’s head during a swing. The question is, if you try to freeze the head, will you be able to un-freeze it for the downswing and follow-through? And, will trying to freeze it restrict the backswing?

    My guess is that the answer is really: “do the right thing.” If you do that, then maybe the head will move very little, while being totally ignored. (Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t like trying to DO something and NOT DO something at the same time.)

    1. D Watts Post author

      Freezing the head isn’t the answer – remember that I deal in models and the optimal, so anything that is a flaw, I point out. A swing flaw won’t destroy a swing, but it is still a flaw.

      I looked at the swing you pointed out – there’s not much lateral motion even though the head is not still. It usually won’t be, but I object to a head drifting 6″ or more from the starting point as Dunaway’s does, that’s just too much motion to be consistent in a precision game.

      No one has a perfect swing, you can only try to emulate the model, which should be perfect, or why is it a model? Knudson had a great swing, one of the best, and if his head moved during the back swing, it was a great swing despite that, not because of it.

      The head will turn with the pivot, so you don’t want to freeze it – what you don’t want is a lot of lateral action, which will affect performance under pressure. Knudson never won a major, despite having that great swing… just saying…

      I know what you’re saying, and everyone should try to remember that when judging a swing, I will always comment on the less-than-optimal things I see in them. It won’t mean it was a bad swing – Nicklaus himself, I call rather sloppy with his footwork at times, but he’s still one of the greatest pure swingers of all time.

      1. Laser

        The answer, of course, is your whole-body swing. Everything works together.

        My guess would be that the backward lateral shift comes from too much lower right side resistance, instead of doing what it should be doing.

        1. D Watts Post author

          Just look at his setup in the Youtube thumbnail – doesn’t get any better than that. I wouldn’t have touched Knudson with a ten foot pole. I’d never let great be the enemy of perfect!

  2. Welshie


    At sometime I’d be interested in your view of Mickey Wright’s swing.

    She puts in some big numbers. 310 yard drive, albeit wind assisted, but with a wooden club and a balata ball.

  3. Welshie

    Many thanks DJ.

    Still catching up to all of the great stuff here…..


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