There are many Mike Austin self-appointed guru’s/ experts out there that have, as Mike would say, “the damn thing wrong.” That’s hurting a lot of the guys and gals that are trying to learn the real deal. There’s a turn in the Mike Austin golf swing. It’s not just a shift. Why else would Mike Austin be saying to keep the rear knee and hip going until it reaches the big toe? That action is driving the swing. It’s a shift of weight and a turn.
The right knee is flexed at address. Straightening the right knee pulls the right hip back thirty degrees. (You are now at the 4 o’clock / 10 o’clock position that we have visited before.) The right knee is the trigger. You did nothing actively with your right hip. You then need to move that right hip 120 degrees to the finish – your hips finishing perpendicular to the flight line. Of course, that’s done by the ankles and knees – not by spinning the hips. Note Mike Austin’s “hands on” teaching method. Critics (who, by the way, never took a lesson from the man) love to allege that his teaching was overcomplicated and that he excessively utilized medical terms. To borrow an oft-cited phrase of Mr Austin, “That is crap!”
Here’s an absolute essential to the Mike Austin swing, as explained by Mike himself.
Never swing the arms! The arms move with the chest as a unit. The chest moves via the actions of the ankles, knees and hips.
Your C7 is like the hub of a wheel. Your arms are spokes. Swing your arms independently and you have broken the structure of the wheel.
I went back to my mission statement and recalled that I started the blog because I was quite upset at those who were espousing incorrect versions of what Mike Austin taught and claiming that they had figured it out or had taken lessons from Mike (more likely one lesson) and consequently could enlighten Mike Austin fans as to what the great man taught.
Prime example – Here is a student shifting his weight by rolling between the insides of the ankles.
Mike Austin’s response? “Pick up the heel! Pick up the heel!”
To teach otherwise and call it Mike Austin, is, as Mike would say, “A bunch of crap”. Note too, Mike explaining the benefit of a narrow stance enabling you to work with the hips. With a wide stance you are working “against the hips”.
One of the biggest misconceptions that I read regarding Mike Austin’s teaching is that his methodology was designed for power hitters and/or long drivers. Not true. Mike’s technique was not based on brute strength. Yes, it resulted in powerful shots, but it was based on effortless power and supple quickness, without the pain and strain normally associated with such shots.
Nor was Mike Austin infatuated with distance. Mike constantly reminded students about tempo. Further, he was very interested in a student obtaining a nice “cruising speed” where there was a “nice reward for the amount of energy expended”.
Here’s an example of a great swing at a wonderful “cruising speed”:
(BTW, this was the student’s first lesson with Mike Austin. I watched the entire lesson unfold before my very own eyes and my camera – from set up to puring the ball – all in the course of one hour. The most amazing lesson I have ever witnessed.)
“I am interested in Mobility, Not Stability!”, Mike Austin would growl, forever imprinting a new golf secret into your psyche. Mike didn’t agree with most of modern golf instruction including: taking a wide stance, anchoring your feet to the ground and torquing the upper body against the lower body.
Mike advocated supple quickness, not rigid slowness. It started with the stance, including the width of stance.
To promote mobility, Mike advocated a narrow stance. A wide stance causes the knees to work against the hips. A narrow stance, on the other hand, enables the ankles, knees and hips to work in unison as the engine of the golf swing.
Further, a narrow stance promotes balance. The narrow stance allows a shift to the back leg during the backswing, and then a shift to the front leg on the through swing.
Didn’t want to leave you hanging on the second part of the Mike Austin Golf Stance. So, here goes:
In Part 1 of the Stance we: (1) stood erect; (2) allowed the derriere to move back until our arms hung freely above the tips of our toes; and (3) clapped our hands together. (We did not squat with the knees.)
Now, we know that the trailing hand (right hand for righties) must go from the clapped position to a point below the left hand. We get there by flexing the right knee and allowing the right hip to drop. This sets the right shoulder below the left shoulder. Here’s a view from head-on and then down the line.
AND HERE’S THE KEY BENEFIT TO MIKE AUSTIN’S SET UP: YOU CAN NOW HIT IT WITH EITHER “HUND”!
Here’s Mike using his leg to nudge the back of the student’s right knee. The student now feels the motion of going from an extended right knee to a flexed right knee. This allows the right hand to lower properly below the left, with the resultant lowering of the right shoulder.