The Post-Modern Golf Swing (Dunaway)

I’ve been doing some soul-searching this winter during my blogging hiatus and I was struggling with to how explain certain things about the Mike Dunaway swing model.

First of all, I was struggling with the very concept of calling it a “Classic Golf Swing” action because… it really isn’t.

Nor is it the horrific and back-breaking “Modern Golf Swing.”

So what exactly is it?

The answer I came up with is the most logical and the simplest: the swing model Mike Dunaway used was what I’d call the “Post-Modern Golf Swing” model.

The reasons for it are also simple:

  • It doesn’t use any “rubber-band” torquing of the lower vs upper halves of the body as the MGS advocates, and which we know is out the window when it comes to wanting to swing a club and
  • It doesn’t involve using the hips & legs to rotate the body and shoulders

You may ask, “why exactly would you be struggling with any of this, DJ?”

Well, let me answer that question – it’s because I spent years looking at and simplifying the mechanics of the “Classic Golf Swing” pivot and action, that swing model used by virtually every great pro and amateur golfer until the “Modern Golf Swing” made its regrettable advent some decades ago.

Backs have never been the same since.

So, back to the Classic vs Dunaway swing –  while both make use of the hips and legs, the Classic swing is a more rotary action that involves the hips turning in place on the back pivot:

MCS “Classic” Swing Model

The Dunaway (some would call it the Mike Austin model, but Austin swung a little differently than Dunaway did, even though he was Dunaway’s mentor, and I prefer the Dunaway swing to Austin’s) makes use of the hips and legs as previously stated however it doesn’t have a rotary, “turning in place” hip action.

Dunaway “Post-Modern”

The hips rather shift on the back pivot and then shift again on the down swing, rather than turning in place and then shifting on the transition.

That is a huge mechanical difference, too large for me to dismiss it and say, “they’re kind of the same thing.”

They aren’t…

I’ve spent years looking at the MCS “Perfect Pivot” Classic Golf Swing action using the pivot action that Ben Hogan perfected in the 40’s and 50’s, and I’m at the end of the line with that model.

I haven’t been able to find anything to improve the mechanics either through stance or pivot or down swing action – the MCS model of the Classic Swing I have blogged about for the past 3-4 years is the optimal model.

I began to merge parts of the Dunaway model last autumn with the Classic MCS model, but all that was going to do was change the swing model from Classic to Dunaway.

So, if there is a way to swing even better than the Classic MCS model, it would involve a different model and not making changes to the Classic.

That means we’re talking about two different swing models, and there’s no way to merge the two.

Which means that, as I said in my last posting a few weeks back – there will be two (2) MCS Golf Swing models – the Classic (Ben Hogan pivot) model & the Post-Modern (Dunaway) model.

  1. There will always be different ways to swing and, aside from all of the horrific ways to do so,
  2. I’ve even said that you can swing differently with a mechanically-correct swing using the same model, as no two Classic era golfers had the same swing (Nicklaus vs Hogan vs Nelson, Jones, etc.).

Now, I am shifting to a position that doesn’t contradict either of the above statements, rather it adds a third element that I’m seeing after years of swing research:

There are two ways to swing properly and mechanically-soundly:

  1. One way with turning hips on the pivot,
  2. The other way, with shifting hips to power the pivot.

As long as they are both mechanically-correct, which I’ve never said the Austin/Dunaway swings were not, the only question would be, which one is the optimal swing model?

That, I have concluded, remains with the person swinging the club.  Some people may understand and perform one swing model better than the other and to them, that would be the optimal model.

I have cracked the Dunaway mechanics and am in the process of seeing if the exact way he swung is the optimal way or, as I did with the Classic Golf Swing model, if there’s a way to make that action even better, or optimize it.

It could already be there.

It could use a tweak.

I’ll know when I get back to it, which should be in the next couple of months or so.

7 thoughts on “The Post-Modern Golf Swing (Dunaway)

  1. Goose

    DJ, welcome back!
    Don”t you think the left side crimp to start the backswing is a key to the shift for Dunaway?

    1. D Watts Post author

      Hi Goose!

      I’m not “back” yet, just felt the urge to dust off the keyboard and share some thoughts about the direction I’m taking next. I hope you’re doing well – I’m looking forward to the end of this winter, as the writing bug is beginning to itch again… just have to wrap up the business keeping me occupied, then I’ll really be “back!” 😀


    2. D Watts Post author

      Goose – apologies, forgot to answer the answer query!

      Don”t you think the left side crimp to start the backswing is a key to the shift for Dunaway?

      You’re absolutely correct, however as with everything else, the devils are in the details. It’s a key, yes, but I’ve been working the past few weeks on how I best start and make the pivot motion, what “feel” or “visual cue” works best for me. I’ll have more than one, of course – one works best for me, and another or more may work better for others depending on how they visualize their motion.

      So, absolutely – but that’s the starting point. I’ll want to do some testing and video analysis first to see what exactly works best for me, and try out the other ways as well.

      More to come!

  2. peterallenby2013

    DJ! Great to see you checking in and giving us an idea of future direction for the site and blog. It was Mike Austin’s video that started me on this path. Your work emerged as one of the best and most transparent investigations of the golf swing. Your research should be held as the gold standard for golf swing methodology and especially for those interested in efficiency and anatomical correctness. YOur investigation into Dunaway should be a great ride! Stay warm friend! – And send a copy of your work to Jordan Speith – He needs help!

    1. D Watts Post author

      Hello there, Mr. Allenby!

      Thanks for the kind words, my friend. I am hoping that this work will get more people swinging correctly with the Dunaway swing model, since it seems many people can describe it but not actually execute it the way it should be done.

      All I know is, if I could figure out Hogan’s pivot and have others doing it very well, I am determined to do the same for Dunaway.

      And send a copy of your work to Jordan Speith – He needs help!

      Agreed, however our old friend Jason Day, at 32, may be more in need of aid than YJS – did you read the article about JD in Golf Digest where he’s contemplating retirement? ‘Tis a shame! I tried to contact him years ago – crickets… all I can do is try.

      I hope to be back sooner than later. ‘Til then, PA 🙂


  3. D. Moriarty

    This might be a controversial thing to say, but I actually think the Dunaway pivot works Better for me because it is inherently restrictive. The controversy here being the word “restrictive”
    I’m hyper mobile in the hips and can pivot too far. If you watch Todd Graves that teaches the Moe Norman swing, he mentions that you can have too much hip turn and that can lead to not turning enough to get to impact properly. This Dunaway pivot feels as if I’m not moving from where I set up, but I’m still moving my hips, much like in the MCS Part I when you turn your body and your head stays still.

    For whatever reason, that feels more powerful to me because I feel like I can really go at it without getting out of position or off my rhythm. Just my two cents.
    I was experimenting with graphite shafts until I started doing more of a Dunaway pivot and they just feel like straw now because I’m moving through the ball almost too aggressively. This is going to be an interesting series you’ve got coming!

    1. D Watts Post author

      Good to see you, DL!

      This might be a controversial thing to say, but I actually think the Dunaway pivot works Better for me…

      This is not controversial at all, and is exactly why I’m pursuing the Dunaway swing, DL – it will work better for some than the Hogan pivot MCS version, because people are built differently, have different levels of athleticism, etc.

      When we discussed your swing a while back, I remarked on the narrow stance you had, if you’ll remember. It so happens that the shift-and-post pivot of the action that Dunaway used requires a narrower stance than the Hogan “floating pivot” action.

      There are surely more reasons that one person may prefer or perform the pivot better with one model or the other. For that reason, and because my swing research has always been about finding the optimal mechanical golf swing action, I can’t ignore a swing model that is mechanically-correct and happens to be different from the Hogan-inspired “floating pivot” action.

      Those who have read my blogging from the early years already know that I was deep into the Austin/Dunaway swing long before I ever developed the “floating pivot” model, so I’m just returning to the job I left unfinished.

      Should be a fun season! 🙂

Comments are closed.