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Mighty Mike Austin- "The Golfing Bandit"


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How to miss a green by 55 yards
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For years Mike Austin was well known by professional golfers for his length off the tee. But it was one drive in 1974 that secured his name in history. While playing in the U.S. National Seniors Tournament, at the Winterwood Golf Course (now the Desert Rose) Austin was put in a foursome with PGA Champion Chandler Harper. After hitting several 400-yard drives, Chandler said, "Mike, let's see you really let one go." Austin drove the ball on 460-yard par 4. It carried to the edge of the green, bounced over and rolled past the pin and off the back edge. In a 2003 interview, Chandler said he found a ball on the next tee box and called to Austin, "This is impossible, but there is a ball over here." They identified the ball as Austin's and stepped off the distance back to the center of the green. The drive was 515 yards.

How can a sixty-four-year-old former actor with a steel-shafted persimmon driver and an old fashioned two-piece ball could outdrive today's best golfers? I don't think he could. If anyone here has hit a ball with a wood driver & an old topflite you understand what I am talking about. When I last tried a wood driver, I hit it maybe 250 yards & about a foot off the ground. I fly a ball about 290 with my current driver, so how is it that guys like Brian Pavlett, Sean Fister & Jason Zuback can't reach the old timer with their 50 inch cobras & their pinnacle long drive balls? There are certain physics that need to occur at impact in order to propel an object that far. Club heads need to be traveling above 150 mph. Ball speeds need to be over 210. Spin rates have to be low, well below 3,000 rpm. There is no way this could be achieved with a persimmon driver & a steel shaft.

What do you guys think? misidentified ball? Super powered balsa wood? .99 cor? or just good old fashioned country strength & a couple cart paths? :cheesy:
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Total BS. I don't believe anyone, much less a 64 year old, could hit 515 yards with a persimmon club and steel shaft. It's just not possible.

 

In Golf Digest, Sean Fister says his longest drive ever was with a wood driver on a 512 yard par 5 with the wind blowing 40 mph at his back & on baked fairways. I believe that, any one nicknamed "The Pipe Wrench" who is 6'5" 245 can do that. Just not a 64 year old who holds the record.

 

I thought I was going to get some emotional wrxers on here saying "how could you, its in the guinnes book" I'm glad i'm not the only one who doesn't buy the myth. If you believe it & you are good at physics, please send me an equation of how it is possible with a wood wood & a balata ball & a 64 year old.

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Total BS. I don't believe anyone, much less a 64 year old, could hit 515 yards with a persimmon club and steel shaft. It's just not possible.

 

In Golf Digest, Sean Fister says his longest drive ever was with a wood driver on a 512 yard par 5 with the wind blowing 40 mph at his back & on baked fairways. I believe that, any one nicknamed "The Pipe Wrench" who is 6'5" 245 can do that. Just not a 64 year old who holds the record.

 

I thought I was going to get some emotional wrxers on here saying "how could you, its in the guinnes book" I'm glad i'm not the only one who doesn't buy the myth. If you believe it & you are good at physics, please send me an equation of how it is possible with a wood wood & a balata ball & a 64 year old.

 

 

How about a little empirical data?

 

I played a lot of golf with Mike Austin.

 

 

He could hit one iron off the deck, right arm only, way past most players drives.

 

I was always impressed by his shots into a strong headwind.

 

He was 78 or 79 when he had a stroke that ended his playing.

 

There are plenty of players around here that can attest his length.

 

His record was downwind on hard ground.

 

Mike told me that the trajectory of the shot was really low.

 

Doug

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Depending on wind and the hardness of the ground, I can believe it. I once hit my old Hogan 6 screw driver well over 400 yards. I was well over the green on a 390 yard par 4 and this was in about 1990.

 

That said, I had probably a 40-50 mph hour tailwind, a slightly downhill hole (very slight and almost flat actually), but ground that was hard as a rock. I would say the ball rolled at least 150 yards, but there was little grass to stop it on the rock-hard fairways.

 

So, given the correct conditions, I can believe a 525 yard drive but it's more a result of mother nature than anything else.

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I've only heard stories about Mr. Austin's length so I have no personal knowledge from which to draw. I do not find it quite so hard to believe given several factors. I'm sure it had to be rock hard, and for those of you who remember the days when courses only watered tees and greens that is not far from the truth. An iron shot from the fairway at times resembled your worst hard pan nightmare. I used to hit a low screaming hook that would fly about 160yds and roll out to 250yds. Downhill, downwind I think it would be possible regardless of the age, especially for someone with talent and a propensity for the long ball.

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....on 460-yard par 4. It carried to the edge of the green...

 

I think this is where most of my disbelief lies (as well as most who read this, I imagine). I can see how it can happen on rock hard fairway with a tailwind, thus giving you 100 yards of roll. However, the article said it CARRIED to the front edge, which I don't believe, unless its a severe dogleg where the line of flight (cutting the corner) from the tee to the hole is significantly shorter than the measured yardage.

 

I once had 125 left for my second shot on a 560 yard par 5, but I didn't hit my drive 435 yards.

1 - I was in Colorado, and it was downwind

2 - I caught a downslope right at the corner of the dogleg

3 - I hit a huge rope hook, but thankfully I had aimed well right not knowing what was over the hill

4 - the part of the fairway I ended up in was 40 feet or more below the teebox

 

Don't get me wrong - I probably hit it 350+ all things considered, but 435??? :drinks:

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