Unseen Mike Dunaway – Modern Driver

Thanks again to A.H. for sending me these two angles of Mike Dunaway hitting a modern driver back around 2011.

I had always wondered what Dunaway or his mentor Mike Austin would have looked like hitting the modern drivers with the longer and flatter-lie graphite shafts, and here is big Mike D.

A little scene-setting from A.H. who took the video:

At this time he was recovering from swine flu… Mike said he was feeling about 60-70% on these drives but I can tell you they were absolutely crushed…

…One thing that’s tough to tell from video was Mike was a giant of a man. He was proportionately built but had massive bone structure, huge hands and wrists. There was an extreme heaviness to the hit, like he was compressing the ball to the extreme.

Mike Dunaway – Face On

I’m delighted to inform you all that, having worked on the shift-and-tilt hip pivot action all winter while I was otherwise indisposed to blog about it, this is pretty much what you should look like swinging with Dunaway’s model.

Mike Dunaway – DTL

While he and Austin swung with the same mechanical theory, I would hesitate to say they swung exactly the same.

Mike Austin DTL

That would be due to variations between their address setups – in fact, Dunaway’s own swing looked different over the years as he swung from slightly varied setups, although they all followed the proper setup principles.

I’ve been working on MCS-ing” the Dunaway model, because that’s what I do.  From Dunaway’s basic model, I’ve been going over the setup and the pivot action to optimize them for myself.

For example, you can vary the width of the stance to a certain degree and still produce the action, but it’s a narrow parameter, and you can also do the same with the pivot, from a shift and slight rotation of the hips into the post, to a full shift into the post before any significant rotation occurs – and we’ll see how things go later this year when I’m back swinging!

I’ll have more to say about this swing of course in the coming weeks.


4 thoughts on “Unseen Mike Dunaway – Modern Driver

  1. Mr. McJohn

    Tiger withdrew from the Player’s with a back problem. I’ll be damned….

    Well, as far as Dunaway is concerned, I’ve never made great progress studying his action. The way he swung was similar to Austin, and yet Austin was longer than Dunaway with older equipment, which gives me the impression Austin didn’t teach Dunaway the entirety of what he knew. And as you said, their swings aren’t entirely the same. Idk, maybe I’m just seeing things…

    1. D Watts Post author

      Hey MMJ!

      A few points on your comment:

      1. a) Regarding Tiger Woods, you could see this coming. Two years ago when he returned to playing, he was getting 180 mph ball speed on his drives and the buzz was on his 120 mph club speed. I was not one of those buzzing, as I figured a man who was 43 years old and off 4 back surgeries, the last one a spinal fusion, should probably not be swinging a club at 120 mph with a modern, twisting-the-lower-back type of golf swing. I noted at the time that while he’d no longer injure himself in the region where he had the fusion procedure, that just meant he would be twisting and putting strain into a different section of his spine and good things weren’t likely to come of it.

      b) I noticed last year his ball speed had dropped significantly from the previous season, down to just above 170 mph – my thought at the time was either he was struggling with physical issues that weren’t quite bad enough to sideline him (yet, it turns out), or he was dialing it back to preserve his back. Now, I’m thinking it was a little bit of both.

      c) It won’t get any better for him if he’s already injuring his back in the new places from the fusion location. But let’s hope that last major & captain/playing in the Presidents Cup was worth it for him.

      d) I could be way off base and he’ll be fine, but if I were a betting man, I’d put my money on the most logical odds. He’s still tearing his back up and refusing to change his ways.


      2. a) When it comes to Mike Austin vs Mike Dunaway, I have come in the 10 years since I began to really look at them to believe in what has been demonstrated. Mike Dunaway was said to be the longest hitter both Greg Norman and John Daly had ever seen (and Dunaway and Daly are/were both from Arkansas). Dunaway was the founder of the 350 Club out of which Art Sellinger came to form Long Drivers of American and help establish the Remax World Long Drive Championship in the 90’s. Dunaway was also on the Callaway staff as a club tester for what eventually became the Big Bertha driver.

      b) Mike Austin’s reputed longest drive of all time is no longer recognized by Guinness, and there is no other verifiable distance that he drove the ball other than word of mouth stories, so it is difficult to separate the man from the myth when it comes to how long he actually was.

      c) Austin himself, being Dunaway’s mentor, said Dunaway had a perfect swing, and the highest club speed he’d ever seen, including himself.

      d) If I had to bet money, I would place it on Dunaway beating Austin in a drive-off with both in their primes.

      3. I am not surprised you’ve had issues trying to swing the Dunaway model. There are things in it that are very counter-intuitive and everything is dependent upon the setup even before the mechanical action can be performed properly. Whereas the rotary “Classic Golf Swing” hip action is very athletically intuitive, the “shift & post” pivot is not.

      But I’ve cracked it from A-Z and my only questions are a) how well can I execute what I think is the optimal version of this model and b) how well can I relate it to everyone else?

      The answer to that is, if I have a, then b will follow! 😀

  2. Mr. McJohn

    I figure that within certain parameters, the human body is the same in regards to how it optimally moves within it’s physiological restrictions, barring deformities or physical problems. Therefore, wouldn’t it make sense to study the human structure, instead of using people of interest who swing in a specific manner as being a model of such?

    I figure I’m no real expert, given my minimal medical experience regarding kinesiology and the like, but I’m sure of the fact that Dunaway, while technically optimal in most regards, would be better understood given a general foundation on the knowledge of human physics. It’s not really my field, but within human physiology, there’s really only one way to swing, and I think if you had a complete foundation in place, the understanding of his swing and others would come to mind instantly. Just a thought….

    1. D Watts Post author

      … wouldn’t it make sense to study the human structure, instead of using people of interest who swing in a specific manner as being a model of such?

      That’s exactly what Mike Austin did, but other than Mike Dunaway, who did he produce that swings this way & has had any success to note in golf? And who did Dunaway produce who could swing as he did?

      It actually is the mechanically-optimal way to swing, but the greatest golfers of all time (except for Tiger Woods & we all know what happened to him) swung in the manner upon which the MCS Classic model is built. Having finished that research, I’m now looking again at the Austin/Dunaway model with an eye to doing the same.

      Most people will have an easier time learning how to swing like Jack Nicklaus than Mike Dunaway because the Classic Golf Swing model is the way one would intuitively understand how to swing and, until someone comes along who can a) replicate Dunaway’s swing and b) actually explain it so that others can as well, it’s still how most people will learn to swing in a mechanically-correct model.

      If anyone else knows a better way than what I’ve been doing with my years of research starting with no kinesiology/biomechanics** education, it’s a big and free world! 🙂

      ** PS – Nearly 100% of those “experts” who do have kinesiology/biomechanics educations are studying how to swing using the Modern Golf Swing model, which means they’re studying the best way in which to wreck’s body, and in my opinion, also makes their degrees/diplomas worth about as much as the paper on which they’re printed.

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