The Blade Always Faces The Ball

In honor of the Masters, here’s a fantastic lesson from the Master, Mike Austin.
Viewers are interested in how the club and hands move, so here goes – in vivid detail.
The first lesson is (drum roll please):
The blade always faces the ball.
That negates most everything you’ve heard about the Mike Austin swing – the forearms pronating, etc.
Second item: Remember the post “It’s an In-Curve”? Notice how the club doesn’t go straight back.
It faces the ball but moves in a circular path. That negates half of the other incorrect information out there about the Mike Austin swing.

Don’t believe it. Here’s the legendary Mike Austin himself.

Note too, the importance of the pivot. That’s why we have spent a lot of time on it.
Mike goes right back to it in teaching the action of the blade.
Copyright llenroc enterprises LLC April 2011

38 thoughts on “The Blade Always Faces The Ball

  1. There was always debate on that issue.
    Personally, I think the flammer is beneficial even with the changed hand action.
    I keep the club end of my flammer quite loose which allows me to mimic the newer release.
    The center bar maintains the proper width throughout the swing. It also assists with the proper feeling of the rotational aspect of the swing.

  2. Chuck,
    I’ve heard you say that Mike changed his hand action later in life. Did his modified hand action still work with the Flammer device? Thanks

  3. The hands DO NOT go straight back along the target line. The go on an in-curve. They will feel like they are going around your hip.

  4. I’m confused.

    Do the hands work on an inside path during take away?
    What is too inside?
    What is not inside enough?

    When I try to add some speed to the swing I end up pulling everything or block pushing the ball right. At times I seem to be swinging too steep as I am now taking my hands straight back during take away and I have a feeling that is not right.

  5. Anytime. Love the enthusiasm. And,thank for supporting the site and spreading Mike Austin’s instruction. Best.

  6. Sam,
    I will check out your question to make sure I know precisely what Mike was referring to there.
    Thanks much.

  7. Thanks so much. Feel fee to chime in guys and/or send in video. Would love to see how people are doing.

  8. Yes, in fact your right near will continue to turn past the target, to left field.
    It is incredible that Mike Austin’s method of using the joints properly eliminates back pain and strain.
    Keep up the good work.

  9. Slowing down or stopping at impact could be an issue. Its something I fought in my conventional swing. I also notice my arms want to roll over, that I do fight and am working hard to stop. If I am stopping at impact I have to correct that for sure.

    Would making sure the right knee turns to the target help a stalling or stopping at impact problem?

    I will say I hit about two hundred balls today and my back feels fine. Granted 175 of the shots were half swings or short pitches to ingrain the setup, pivot, and under, up and out movements, I don’t know for sure if I am getting them right but I am working on them.

  10. Hey Jesse,
    Here are some thoughts. Big goal is to try to make the game as simple as possible – narrow possible corrections down so that you know how to correct them when you are out there on the course or frustrated on the range. You’ve started that process – cool. Also, refine the real “problem”. Are you hooking it? Are you pulling it? Are you pull hooking it? If it’s a pull, hit out to right field. If you are hooking try not to turn the blade through impact. You can even feel that the heel, rather than the toe of the club is leading through the impact area. You should also check to make sure that you are not stopping or slowing down at impact. Complete your swing all the way to the finish.
    Don’t forget to really simplify things – try hitting 10 fades in a row. Then go hit a straight ball. Start fading too much? Hit some hooks. That’s what Sam Snead use to do. Plus, you would be learning to shape shots – an added bonus.
    Finally, feel free to send some video. If you want, we can even share it with the group. Hope that helps. Onward!

  11. I’m working hard based mainly on what I am learning here and a few other videos I have found. My setup and pivot are starting to come together with setup beginning to feel natural.

    When I first started working on the MA swing I hit more balls straight, now the ball starts straight and then hooks or I try to over compensate and push them right. I know that can be a whole plethora of issues but, I am also wondering my grip may not be neurtal enough.

    I feel good taking the club away from the ball, I try to maintain the the blade facing the ball thorugh out the swing, club consistently arcs inside the target path, pivot to start down swing is still a work in progress, its okay just most of the time, not great or where I would like it. My issue is I think I’m noticing my hands closing the club face through impact. I don’t have video of this but that is what I feel is happening. I always know when I pull hook it as thats my normal shot with a conventiojnal swing so that feel I know intimately.

    Think its my grip or some, improper release or other issue? I can sometimes time it just right and hit the ball straight but its become a hit or miss thing if the ball goes straight, seems like it always hooks a little. Short pitches are pretty straight, irons 8 iron and below hook.

    I still have much work to do as its hard to unlearn years of conventional swing training. I’m sure thats something most of us have had to deal with. Just part of the learning/training process.

  12. Chuck if you ever get the chance it would be great if you could post something about impact and the release. I am totally confused about ho release should happen or performed,

    Thanks for what you are doing!

  13. Chuck, Great to see the updated site! Love the formatting and look forward to your next steps in developing a comprehensive guide to the only swing in golf. Quick question: It is generally recognized that MA changed his thinking about how the hands work in the swing. This clip with the blade square to the ball on the back swing is part of his later idea that the hands don not “roll over” through the ball, but turn “under and up”..Is that correct? Would you provide a clearer idea of how this is accomplished? Is this move with the hands similar to the move taught by Joe Dante in his book “The Four Magic Moves to Winning Golf”? Dante described the move with the hands as an early wrist break with the thumb pad of the right hand pressing into the thumb of the left hand causing the right wrist to break backwards and the left wrist and hand to turn under…Is this similar to what Mike was advocating later in his teaching career?

    I cannot wait to see what comprehensive instructional materials you have for eager Austin disciples like myself! Lessons perhaps!?

  14. I see it’s been a year since this last post and hope that it’s not the end! This is the best resource I’ve found on Austin’s methodology and I can’t get enough. Everything here just makes sense, and the videos are priceless. I think it’s great that Mike changed some of his methods over time. If anything, it just shows that he never ceased to learn and develop his understanding of the best way to swing the club. Thanks for all of the hours you put into this site.

  15. Chuck – it’s been a year now since your most recent update. Can you update what is going on with either the DVD or future blog posts?

    I also wanted to thank you so much for providing visual verification on a lot of misunderstood concepts.

    You strike me as a genuinely kind individual – one anyone could get along with. I appreciate and respect individuals like yourself. I look forward to the next update!


  16. Excellent post, very informative. I’m wondering why the other specialists of this sector don’t realize this. You must continue your writing. I am sure, you have a great readers’ base already!|What’s Happening i’m new to this, I stumbled upon this I’ve found It positively useful and it has aided me out loads. I am hoping to contribute & help other users like its aided me. Good job.

  17. Hi Chuck,

    Thank you so much for your efforts here. I would like to be able to teach the MA swing some day in the future (maybe suppliment my retirement..?).

    Could you tell me what Mike is referring to when he asks the woman to come, “…underneath the left heel”.? Is he making sure that she turns in her backswing and does not sway her hips?

    Thanks a million.


  18. Chuck,

    I hope all is well and that your just too busy to post …. always enjoy the short clips but haven’t seen seen any in a while….


  19. just found your website ,i have most of Mike Austin’s tapes and actually talked to Mike a couple of times on the phone , glad to see your blog and have enjoyed going through your comments and videos .Hope you keep it up .looks like you learned well,nice swing

  20. Yes, NotYogi and many of the “18” gang have been wonderfully supportive and appreciative.
    Mike did mention the scapulas at times, and you are quite correct that the movement would increase power.
    I have to say that he did not focus on it with me. Sometimes you can obtain the correct motion as a reaction to another movement and Mike spoke of that often.
    If you hit a fat shot watch to make sure that you did not lose your posture. Sometimes the force of the swinging motion will pull you downward and you need to resist that motion.

  21. Hi Chuck,
    Did Mike ever talk about sliding the scapulas — abducting the leading, and adducting the trailing scapula? I can see it extending the backswing and adding power, but seems like you’d have to have pretty accurate timing to return them, during the downswing,to their original position, to both add club speed and avoid hitting fat.
    Really tickled to see notyogi stop by. Have enjoyed ’18’ from waay back.

  22. This whole issue about the hands and squareness of the club is becoming increasingly apparent as being purely political.

    I love this video and heartily agree it is a perfect follow up to the in curve.

    Next and this is just my opinion should be how the right arm works.

  23. Not Yogi,
    Thanks for your kind words and continued support.
    Every time I hear of Mike Austin and/or Studio City a smile comes to my face.
    I was recently watching one of my old tapes and started laughing – Mike chatting at the range with Don Cornelius of Soul Train fame – only in Studio City . . .

  24. Chuck..I’ve been searching around the pawn shops for a suitable medal to pin on your chest for taking the enormous time and giving so freely so we all might start understanding the cyclone that is a golfswing.

    Mike loved what he did. Studio City range was my office and I never tired of watching the intensity of his students. My friend Squish had me work this move with a one iron. I don’t have one, but a two iron helped me “feel” exactly where the clubhead was.

    Thanks again.

  25. Cool!
    Now I’m curious, what happens to the blade on post-impact and follow through? Or is that the subject of a future video?

  26. Hmm. Actually, I have dozens of clips of him swinging that way and hours of tapes of him explaining that move.
    Unfortunately, I can’t explain why he didn’t disclose it until later in his teaching career.
    Some say he held back the true secrets. Others say the great Mike Austin was always working to improve the technique.
    Still others say he only let a few “in”.
    For all those over the years that say he didn’t teach this technique – Well, they were wrong.

  27. Alfredo,
    Yes, he did. Despite what a lot of people claim.
    I spent years going to Mike and spent literally hundreds of hours with him.
    It’s the same for all clubs.
    Best, Chuck

  28. hey Chuck!

    Thanks for the great video! Question: Why do you suppose there isn’t a single swing of Mike Austin on record of him actually performing this move while hitting a golf ball?

  29. WOW !

    so he really changed it in his later days ! On the DVD’s he talks of ‘squaring up the blade at impact’.
    Is this for all clubs ?

    Thanks so much Mr. Chuck ! Iam studying Mike Austin for some years now and never was shure about this fact.


  30. Chuck, can’t tell you how much I appreciate you sharing what you obtained from the legend, Mike Austin. I can really hear in my head when I practice a swing his words to you “No!No!No! It’s an in-curve! You are taking it straight back, that is not what I want you to do! It’s an in-curve.” Sure wish I could have had the opportunity to know him. Keep up the good work of sharing in your blog the teaching of the legend.

  31. nice.

    started doing the mcs and MA swing due to the desire of a good healthy back and it just makes more sense.

  32. What a great follow up to the In Curve clip Chuck!! The detail is just what we need … it is easier to keep the incurve with the blade facing the ball at all times. This one really starts bringing the pieces together .. great thanks to you and your continued help.


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