In Search of the Greatest Golf Swing: Chasing the Legend of Mike Austin, the Man Who Launched the World's Longest Drive and Taught Me to Hit Like a Pro

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Overview

"Can you teach an ordinary golfer like me to drive the ball 300 yards?" With this question sportswriter Philip Reed's search for the greatest golf swing begins. When Reed met ninety-year old Mike Austin, he knew that Austin held the record for the longest drive ever-an awesome 515-yard shot during a Senior PGA event. What he didn't know is that he was forging a bond with a man whose amazing life he has now chronicled in a book that is charming, funny, and wise. As Reed's tutelage under his cantankerous teacher begins, he learns of Austin's ...
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Overview

"Can you teach an ordinary golfer like me to drive the ball 300 yards?" With this question sportswriter Philip Reed's search for the greatest golf swing begins. When Reed met ninety-year old Mike Austin, he knew that Austin held the record for the longest drive ever-an awesome 515-yard shot during a Senior PGA event. What he didn't know is that he was forging a bond with a man whose amazing life he has now chronicled in a book that is charming, funny, and wise. As Reed's tutelage under his cantankerous teacher begins, he learns of Austin's winning wagers on trick shots, sharing a Hollywood apartment with Errol Flynn; giving secret lessons to Howard Hughes; and matching shots against Sam Snead and Ben Hogan. As Reed's drives get longer, Austin's health worsens. Mike soon suffers a stroke that silences him, but Reed is sure that Mike wants someone to tell his story-of a man who could do one thing better than anyone else, who possessed the most prodigious golf swing ever. This book is not just for golfers, but for all readers who savor heartwarming stories of unexpected friendships and are eager to learn secrets of living life to the fullest.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786713660
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press
  • Publication date: 5/10/2004
  • Pages: 277
  • Product dimensions: 5.18 (w) x 7.28 (h) x 1.05 (d)

Meet the Author

Philip Reed’s article on Mike Austin, "Cracking the Golf Code,” ran in the Los Angeles Times in 2001. Reed’s first novel, Bird Dog, was nominated for the Edgar and Anthony Awards. His book Free Throw: Seven Steps to Success on the Free Throw Line, was co-written with Dr. Tom Amberry, who now advises the Chicago Bulls. Reed has also worked as an undercover car salesman and written "Confessions of a Car Salesman,” for Strategies for Smart Car Buyers, published in 2003. He lives in Santa Monica, California.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2004

    A Happy Coincidence

    This book is a delight on such a number of levels it is difficult to decide where to place the emphasis. It really should be in the library of every golfer, at least those that read more than simply golf instruction manuals, although this book is a little bit of that too, which I will get to. It is first, a fascinating short bio about Mike Austin, a professional tour player in the 1930¿s, 40¿s, 50¿s, and later, who possessed one of the more incredible swings in golfing annals. What spices the book though, is that Austin was also truly bigger than life. Some of the stories about him are enough to have caused some doubt even in the author, Phil Reed¿s, mind, that is until he verified many of them. In his time Austin hung out with celebrities (Errol Flynn among others), was a boxer, an actor, a linguist, and had a doctorate in kinesiology and so on. The stories about him are legend and the book is richly supplied with them. Austin could hit the ball 350 yards in his 60¿s and 70¿s. He actually hit it 515 yards at age 64, and it was in a sanctioned PGA tournament, not a long drive competition, and not with the modern technology that the pros use today. This distance is about 200 yards father than Tiger Woods averages. One of several interesting characters in the book is a fellow by the name of Danny Shauger. Danny is a teaching professional in the Studio City area of LA, and was (is) more or less Austin¿s protégé. He worked with Austin for years parsing out his swing and reducing it to a description of its basic parts that an average golfer could understand, if he worked on it. Danny, I was to personally find out, is a bit of a Mike Austin himself, but that is another story. On yet another level, Phil Reed¿s book is a memoir of sorts about the author¿s occasional feelings of inferiority around other certain types of guys. You know the type, guys who are natural athletes or otherwise bigger than life. This is an admission that many men could make,most probably, but very few do and I admire Reed for his courage. Anyway, by happy coincidence I picked Reed¿s book up this summer while browsing a book store for some reading to take on a vacation I badly needed but hadn¿t yet planned in any detail. I say happy coincidence, because at that point I had never even heard of Austin, described in the book as a generally irascible Scotsman. Austin by the way is 94 now, and although suffering from the debilitation of a stroke still occasionally teaches, albeit from an armchair. He also apparently remains, even in old age, a bit angry and a lot outspoken, but apparently a genius in general, and of the golf swing in particular. A week or so after I first read Reed¿s book, I called Danny Shauger on an impulse to see if he could work with me, at least on the rudiments of Austin¿s swing, if I flew out to LA. As I said, I needed a vacation anyway. Danny had the time and so off I went, with no small amount of skepticism about what I would find. What I found was incredible. I ended up working with Danny for a solid week. In my experience, Danny is light years beyond anyone teaching the golf swing today. Not just in his knowledge of the Austin swing but in his intensity and concern for his students. Danny himself is about 64 and I witnessed him hitting ball after ball, 350 yards. The distances I myself was hitting the ball after several days of Danny¿s intense tutelage are unbelievable to me (a 62 year old duffer). Perhaps I can say it best though by admitting I am no longer at all impressed by the distances a professional golfer can hit an iron shot because I was doing it myself within a couple of days of starting work with Danny. Reed¿s book itself briefly describes the Austin swing, so does Danny¿s recent book; ¿The Mike Austin Method, How to Kill the Ball¿. But Danny¿s book is a thorough instructional manual on the Austin swing. As with any golf instruction though, this swing will take some real work on the part of the

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