Rebuilding From The Ground Up (Because One Must) & Some Revelations On Mikes Austin & Dunaway

Following my looking into the neutral vs “weak” grip issue, I’ve rebuilt both the MCS Classic Golf Swing and Post-Modern Golf Swing models, because one must completely dismantle and rebuild anything where a fundamental change emerges.

It is not an earth-shattering process – the grip is the first thing one establishes (or should be), even before building the stance, so changing the grip actually required me to rebuild my stances for both models, and it only took a day or two.

In doing so, I think I’ve solved the mystery of how Mike Dunaway’s mentor Mike Austin had a different-looking swing action from MD’s, why they argued about a lifted leading heel vs planted and also perhaps why MD’s mentor was said to be very wild off the tee.

Let’s Focus On The Swing And Not Personalities

First off, I’ll state that I discuss Mike Dunaway far more than Austin because 1. Dunaway’s achievements were accomplished in the light of day and can be verified and 2. while Austin did indeed build a very powerful swing action and mentored Dunaway, most of his tales and legendary exploits are at best dubious and at worst outright fabrications.

That’s not to be argued, because I have no time for people who continue to insist that the claims are true, much less credible, and this is about the golf swing, not legends and fables.

I mean, anyone who still claims that Austin taught Ben Hogan how to hit a fade is on serious pharmaceuticals or simply continuing the con, and that’s just one of the tales.  No, not for me.

What I do know is that, having met a couple of people who actually knew Austin, they said the man was indeed very long but more often than not played his second shots out of the trees rather than the fairways.

Let’s move on to the swing – there are two distinct pivot actions involved in a standard Classic swing and the shifting Post-Modern type of swing.

I am absolutely sure on this and am ready to find out if my change on grip theory to more faithfully follow the proven greats of swing will bear out my findings, which would be that:

  1. Austin built a lifting (leading) heel back swing pivot and raising heel into impact with a sliding release,
  2. Dunaway’s swing when Austin was finished with him was a shifting, flat-footed back swing pivot action with a flat-footed impact with a step-around release,
  3. The difference in the actions is produced by the difference in setting up over the ball (and yes, they set up differently over the ball, which I will be able to prove),
  4. Shockingly, Austin combined the two pivots by setting up his address for a lifting heel, Classic swing and then began his pivot with the Post-Modern shift into the trailing hip before completing the pivot with a lifting heel, call it a hybrid pivot action.

It would also explain why MA and MD argued so strenuously over the raising vs flat leading heel – even when employing the shift-and-post action, Austin was still making a rotary pivot in the end, which raises the leading heel and causes the trailing heel to raise into impact.

The difference in the two setups are in the balance at address and the exact attitude of the lower body – one causes a rotary back swing action, the other requires a shifting and posting onto the trailing leg to make a proper pivot.

But what happens is that if you build a wider-than-necessary stance with the Classic action, you can both shift and post while still making a rotary pivot:


…  and this is why Austin fought to the death on the requirement of a lifting leading heel and Dunaway, with a much narrower stance, insisted it wasn’t necessary.

They were both correct in that their actions required their actions, but Austin was incorrect about the requirement of a lifting leading heel with a shift and post pivot – because Dunaway proves that the Shift & Post pivot is best performed with a flat-footed action where the trailing heel lifts only at or just before impact but the foot doesn’t slide:


To add to the confusion, the two Mikes would make videos together on how to swing like them, but only presented one way of doing it, and I think it’s even worse than presenting just one model – I think they presented a mish-mash of the two models, which made replicating either one impossible.

I don’t think it was deliberate, as they would argue over the swing mechanics as if there was only one model, but there were in fact two, and anyone with eyes could see that pretty quickly when watching their swings.

Even worse, Dunaway would change his own swing at times to comport with Austin’s descriptions, which meant that an iron swing of Dunaway’s that looked like this:


… ended up looking like this rather strange creature when he was working with Austin on presenting swing mechanics:


That above is Dunaway swinging to “ring the bell,” where the head remains still and the hips shift to the right on the back swing, then back to the left on the down swing.

The reason Dunaway looks so strange in that iron swing is because it’s not the way he himself swung a club.

And we know that wasn’t Dunaway’s method of pivot as when he demonstrates it accurately in the Peace River video, the upper body and head shift on the pivot:


In fact, the way Austin presented his own swing was with a shifting head over the trailing leg on the back pivot and not any “ring the bell” type of thing:


Again, if you look at that stance width with MA swinging his “Flammer,” you see that this is what causes the head shift even though he’s pivoting with a lifting leading heel and swinging through with a raised trailing heel and sliding foot, neither of which are incorrect with a Classic rotary pivot.

You can also reasonably picture that if you connected perfectly on a swing like this, you’d probably send it, but you probably couldn’t do it every swing.

That, to me, would explain MA’s inability to drive the ball straight and consistently, however powerful and long his drives were – with all of these moving parts, it’s simply more difficult to time the impact than if one is swinging one way or the other.

I’ve today been practicing both the Classic and Post-Modern pivots and it was by accident that I had too wide a stance on one of my Classic practice swings – I felt my hips and legs performing the shift and post separation before the rotation kicked in to turn the hips – and right there, I looked down and said, “Aha…”

I’ve been swinging for years and years and I knew instantly that I would not want to swing with that wide a stance, because it would be murder on my consistency swinging Classic-style with a shifting head on the back swing.

The Post-Modern doesn’t have that problem because the position from which to swing down is actually from the position at the top after the head has shifted into place – that’s correct, the head is not in position at the setup for the down swing, but the nature of this swing action makes that so.

Now, if you ask me what happened with the two Mikes, I can’t answer that question, only what they were doing – as to why, we’ll never get to ask them as they’ve both passed on.

For me, the problem is not having classed the two swings as different, which meant they presented conflicting concepts while trying to teach one swing action which belonged to neither.

And that’s why I was never able to replicate either of their swings before I left that school of swing theory and built my own swing theory.

Now, I should be able to prove that Dunaway’s swing model was virtually the same as the one I’ve built with a flat-footed shift-and-post action, and that if you narrowed Austin’s stance for his more rotary swing, it’s basically the same as the MCS Classic Swing, and that if you make the Classic stance extra wide, you’ll get Austin’s actual swing as shown above in the black and white gif.

Also that the difference in the two pivots is caused by the setup balance and weight distribution.

How’s that for some holiday weekend theory work??

More to come!

2 thoughts on “Rebuilding From The Ground Up (Because One Must) & Some Revelations On Mikes Austin & Dunaway

    1. DJ Watts Post author

      Hi Dave – yes, I’ve actually got the Count Yogi video sitting in a DVD organizer with all of the Dunaway and Austin videos – entertaining fellow, he was.

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