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”.
People have asked if Mike Austin mentioned the QL in my lessons. The answer is “yes”. The QL is the quadratus lumborum, the muscles which attached the pelvic bone to each side of the spine.
There’s been much study and some dispute of late as to the precise function of the QL. Some argue that it aids in lateral flexion, as in a side bend. Others say that it has little to do with that motion. What is intriguing is the studies generally agree with how Mike Austin told me to utilize the QL. Namely, when one side is activated it brings the lowest rib (the 12th rib) down toward the hip.
To get a feel, stand erect and act as if you are going to raise your left heel but don’t allow the foot to raise. You are activating the left QL.
What does that mean to us as golfers? At address the right knee (for a right hander) is flexed. You then straighten it which bumps the right hip to 4 o’clock. At the same time you utilize the QL to crimp in (concave as Mike would say) your left side. That lowers the left hip and shoulder and sets the plane upward. Now your swing can move on the previously discussed “in curve” and the path of the club will naturally move up as it travels along the upward plane set by the left hip and shoulder. But remember our past lesson. You don’t move your head. (You’re not a dinosaur!) How is that possible? You start raising you left heel which allows the turn. Gray’s Anatomy FIG. 389– Deep muscles of the back.
Wow! I have received a lot of emails concerning Mike Austin’s stance. Apparently, there’s been much internet banter asserting that Mike Austin advocated a closed stance.
Sorry, but this is simply not accurate. From what I can discern the advocates of a closed stance are doing so in order to address additional wrong moves such as coming over the top. Unfortunately, building on an incorrect foundation is only going to impede your progress.
Let’s roll the tape. Mike Austin’s instruction to me quite clearly discredits the assertion that he advocated a closed stance:
This is an important point as it builds on Mike Austin’s swing principles.
Remember, the ankles, knees and hips are the engine of the Mike Austin swing. A closed (aka blocked) stance will impede the hips and reduce your power!
Moreover, Mike Austin was adamant that you had to build the proper foundation (which includes the stance) before you put the roof on your swing.