Never heard of Mike Austin? Neither had I.
The scene was the US National Seniors Open Championship in Las Vegas in 1974. Egged on by his partner that day, Chandler Harper, winner of the 1950 PGA Championship, to "really let one go", he did just that. It was 450 yards to the pin on the par four 5th hole. They found Austin's golf ball 65 yards past the pin. Guess he should have hit three wood. 515 yards was, and still is, the longest recorded drive in professional history. Here's the best part. Mike Austin was 64 years old! He was aided by a 35 mph tail wind, but keep in mind that the hole was relatively level, and Austin had a steel shaft, persimmon head, and balata balls.
His golf exploits just scratched the surface of this prodigious man. He was a WWII war hero. He shared an apartment with Errol Flynn. He gave secret golf lessons to Howard Hughes and played against Hogan and Snead. He'd been noticed as a youngster by no less than Bobby Jones, who remarked about the young Austin's 300 yard drives at East Lake.
Born in England, but raised in the southern US, Austin was a cantankerous sort. His gruff presence was as intimidating as it was natural. He taught golf in southern California, L.A area, for many years and hosted what else, The Mike Austin Golf Show. His exploits and character are detailed in a fantastic book by Philip Reed called In Search of the Greatest Swing. I recommend it highly for an inside look at this legend.
Mike passed away in 2005 at age 95 but his legacy continues to this day. Mike Dunaway is a well known advocate and teacher of Austin's swing, (www.MikeDunaway.org). I'd rather have you, the reader, dissect the basics of the Mike Austin swing. It's not radically different from the current idea of a golf swing. It's much simpler and uses just a few "basic" concepts to get the fundamentals across. My best friend, Dean Miller, a legit 8 handicap, watched half of an Austin video, took it to the course, and proceeded to nail 14 of 14 fairways. I'm prepared to "Austinize" my swing over the long winter. If I gain some length great. What I really want is accuracy and I'm convinced that Austin's ideas are sound.
Why aren't these incredible concepts taught in the mainstream? Austin, a PGA member, claimed that when he presented his ideas to the PGA they had already decided on what the model of an ideal golf swing should be in order for their teaching pros to have some continuity, i.e. two plane swing, forearm rotation, etc. Mike professed to have been "blackballed" from teaching his methods. You be the judge. After all, 515 yards is still 515 yards.