The Mike Austin Swing with Jaacob Bowden

Today I felt an intuitive impulse to post a video to YouTube that was previously a paid product…my "The Mike Austin Swing with Jaacob Bowden" that was created in 2012.

For those that don't know, I began my golf career at age 27 as a 14-handicapper. I quit my computer engineering job in Kansas and moved out to California on December 20th, 2002 to go for a career in golf. A month after I arrived, I met Dan Shauger, who gave me free coaching nearly every day for a month and then gradually less afterwards. Dan also introduced me to his friend Mike Austin, the man who at age 64 hit a 515-yard Guinness World Record drive of 515-yards in the 1974 US National Senior Open.

With Dan and Mike's help, I quickly lowered my handicap. First, I beat my best of 78 with a 74, then a 73, then my first time under par with a 69 on March 26th, 2003.

Also before the end of March (less than 3 months!) I added tons of distance (increasing my longest drive from 330 yards to 358 yards to 377 yards to 393 yards).

Granted I'm am a natural athlete, but some of this improvement came from additional practice. After all, I had just quit my engineering job and my new "job" was working on my game all day. Anyone is bound to improve when they add that much practice time to their schedule.

I'm also naturally strong, but still some came from golf fitness and working out in the gym. This later became the basis for my swing speed training programs at Swing Man Golf.

Some came from my almost daily technique work through Dan and our occasional visits to Mike Austin's house, which was nearby.

  • I learned how to leverage power from my legs out to the golf club, relying less on rotational power and more on lateral and vertical power. This also had the side benefit of relieving a lot of stress off my knees, hips, and spine.
  • I learned how to strike the ball more consistently in the "sweet spot" (better contact means more distance and also more accuracy/precision) through the concept of the swing circle center using the C7 vertebrae.
  • I got permission to trust my instinct to minimize face rotation through the hitting area and consequently started hitting much more powerfully and accurately/precisely due to better ball striking. Basically, my shot dispersion window got much smaller.

Obviously a lot of people wondered how I improved so quickly.

On October 15th, 2007, I launched Swing Man Golf as a way of answering that question for people, while creating a new source of income for myself.

On April 21, 2012, I finished creating my Mike Austin video that shared what I learned from Mike and Dan…integrated with other videos from Mike Austin and spiced up with my own interpretations.

At the time, I was still struggling to get myself out of the debt I took on from switching over to a career in golf. So, I wrote, filmed, and edited everything myself with some very basic filming equipment that I had (wireless microphone, tripod, iPad as a teleprompter (hanging on the tripod using a coat hanger - haha), and iMovie on my MacBook Pro laptop.

I'm not a professional film maker, but I think it turned out okay…all things considered.

I should add that I no longer purely use the Mike Austin swing. Rather, I've refined what I do to make things work better for me personally. However, I do honor that this was a valuable part of my learning and growth as a golfer, and that others are interested in learning what I learned. That's why I keep the video out in the public realm.

Anyway, give it a watch below:

On a side note, the shirt I was wearing in the above cover photo with Mike was the very first logo for Swing Man Golf, which was drawn by my friend/roommate in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California in 2004. We lived on Carpenter in the 2nd house up from 1st.

Chasing the Dream - Teaser & Promo Footage

Recently, I've been going through a lot of my old laptop and backup files and reorganizing things. In doing so, I came across some old footage from 2003-2006 that I thought would be fun to share.

My college friend Jasper Jan and I had been documenting a lot of my journey in going from average length hitting 14-handicap golfer to professional golfer and long drive champion ever since I started that golf journey at age 27 in 2003.

Back then, we had tentatively called the film "Chasing the Dream".

Here is a teaser that Jasper had cut. The timestamp on the video file said March 22, 2006, although it may have been created earlier.

The sunset shot was recorded in 2003 when I first started. I believe it was on the driving range at Tierra Rejada Golf Club or another similar club nearby.

The voices you hear are Jasper interviewing the late Dan Shauger (died 2014), who was helping me with my game and who had introduced me to the late Mike Austin (died 2005).

Unfortunately, somehow nearly all of our old film footage got lost or misplaced and we subsequently couldn't finish the project.

In going through my files, I also found some old promotional footage that Jasper had put together. Of course, Chasing the Dream was supposed to be about me…but it was also supposed to be about baseball player RA Dickey too. Keep in mind that when we were filming this, RA had not yet made it back to the majors and little did we know that he would later go on to become a Cy Young Award winner.

The film concept was pretty cool. Obviously, it was about chasing dreams…not only for myself and RA, but Jasper too, as he was fairly new to the film industry and had the dream of being a Hollywood producer. However, Jasper also wanted to contrast the journey of an individual golfer dealing with poor circumstances, being broke and in debt, sleeping in cars and tents, practicing for hours rain or shine, etc…to a team sport like baseball where a lot of money was behind the team and it's players.

The promotional footage was intended for private promotional viewing purposes only. It was originally cut with "Foo Fighter - Best of You". However, in order to post it publicly on YouTube, I had to cut out the audio.

Here's the footage.

Visiting John Marshall & My Full Swing

Before I flew back to DC from Atlanta, I decided to stay an extra day to see my old friend John Marshall.

Jaacob Bowden and John Marshall pose for a photo

I know John back from my days in long drive and with Mike Austin and Dan Shauger. John played golf in college and is a 5-time World Long Drive Championship Finalist and was the 2005 and 2006 ALDA Super Senior National Champion. Now-a-days he is teaching golf part-time at Steel Canyon Golf Course and is considered one of the best teachers in the state of Georgia.

While we were at the range and lunch and before he dropped me off at the airport, we chatted for hours about golf and life…and John also took a look at my golf swing. I was curious to know his thoughts as a teacher, but also as a former long driver and someone who worked with Mike Austin and Dan Shauger.

One of the problems I've had over the years is that I was a little too concerned with how my swing looked. In talking with my mental coach, I think it in part had to do with me wanting to be liked. Growing up and early in my golf career, like many people, I admired the powerful yet effortless looking swings of guys like Fred Couples or Ernie Els. I also took a lot of influence from golfers like Ben Hogan, Count Yogi, Sam Snead, Mike Austin, and John Daly.

I think subconsciously I had something operating internally that was saying if I can have an optimal and beautiful swing, then I will get attention and people will like me. This plagued me a bit back when I played high school and college basketball too. I had a good vertical leap and sometimes I would rather jump high for the ooh's and aah's versus actually getting the rebound.

Jaacob Bowden dunks a basketball at age 26

I even went so far as to map out a swing blue print on paper, the ideal way in my mind for me to swing.

The problem was that, although I liked how this "ideal" swing looked on video, it was never as consistent as was needed to play what I felt was my best golf. With that swing, I hadn't posted a round in the 60s and I could just as easily shoot in the 70s as the 80s.

However, if I stopped thinking about making it look optimal and instead focused on hitting as consistently as I could and making my dispersion circles tight, I scored much better. All my rounds in the 60s that I recall were with so-called "imperfect" swings.

Last year, I played 9 holes this way in New Mexico at Black Mesa Golf Course from the black tees 7,307 yards…and I recall hitting every fairway and every green, shooting par. And when I played with this swing on the back 9 of the 8,191 Ross Bridge Course on the Robert Trent Jones Trail, I also played well and I remember hitting every fairway there too. I was +1 on the 9 but it translated to a +6 handicap because of the course difficulty…and perhaps even better considering the soft conditions. That's good enough to play the PGA TOUR.

But when I look at this swing on video, I never liked how it looked and I was always averse to it being filmed.

In the backswing, my head drifts away from the target and I raise up. At the top, I'm really laid off, I don't get my lead shoulder down enough, my hands are really flat, and my trail leg doesn't quite straighten. At impact, my lead leg isn't straight enough, my hips don't turn enough, I'm not off my trail foot enough, and I'm holding off my hands and not free-wheeling the club enough. I give up quite a bit of potential power and I could pick apart these swings endlessly.

That being said, more or less I hit it where I want. In fact, I'm not sure I really missed a shot during our range session.

After seeing my shots and watching the corresponding videos, John said he loved my move and wouldn't change a thing. This was good for me to hear.

Between what I've been working on with my mental coach about self-love and John's reinforcement of how I was swinging at the range and the dispersion/consistency results it was producing, I think going forward I just need to quit worrying so much about what others think and embrace my "imperfect" swing and all of the little idiosyncrasies about it.

My scores will thank me…and who knows, perhaps it gets me out on the PGA TOUR.

Jumping for Distance - Part 2

Mike Austin demonstrates how a one foot jump without leaving the ground can push up the lead shoulder for parametric acceleratio

In Part 1, I wrote about how I think this concept of jumping up with both feet for more power may have come about in part due to misinterpretation of still photography and force plate data, self-propagation, and a possible case of correlation vs causation. I also covered reasoning why these players are often airborne, and that can be from flawed setups that include overly wide stances and/or lead foot positions that are too closed at setup or a re-planted lead foot that ends up too closed during the downswing.

In Part 2, let’s look at what I feel is a better alternative, the one foot jump. To me, it’s safer, it doesn’t complicate ball striking as much, and it can still generate huge amounts of vertical ground force.

Read more at GolfWRX

18 Strong - Episode 49

Thanks to host Jeff Pelizzaro for having me on his 18 Strong podcast.

Show Notes:

• Jaacob shares his story from growing up in St. Louis, MO to becoming one of the world’s leading experts in gaining swing speed.
• He didn’t start his journey to be a professional until after college and working several years in the corporate world.
• He went from a 14 handicap to a professional golfer in a ridiculous amount of time
• Jaacob talks about his mentors Dan Shauger and Mike Austin and how they changed his golf swing and ultimately his career path
• Jaacob tells us about his long drive competitions and what his training consisted of during that time
• He gives us his 2 biggest keys to gaining speed in your swing
• Jaacob explains how his system at has helped thousands get more clubhead speed in short period and how you can take advantage of it, too

Listen on YouTube below.

Dusting Off My Mike Austin Swing

It felt a bit slow, rigid, and awkward because I hadn't done it for a while, but for this video I decided to try to see if I could make the original Austin swing I had previously made years prior.

Mike Austin - Teaching the Teachers

The Mike Austin - Teaching the Teachers video is now available at Swing Man Golf

In celebration of Mike Austin’s 515-yard drive in September of 1974, Swing Man Golf has now released another video as part of Mike Austin Month…this one is called Mike Austin Teaching the Teachers!

Mike Austin at Studio City

Mike Austin at Studio City is now available at Swing Man Golf

Mike Austin at Studio City has just been released over at Swing Man Golf.

Be sure to check it out!

Mike Austin - Austinology - With Mike Dunaway

Mike Austin's Austinology featuring Mike Dunaway  is now available at Swing Man Golf

Swing Man Golf is now offering Mike Austin’s Austinology video series.

To learn more, click here.

Jaacob Bowden Golf Swing Montage

Here are a few clips of me using demonstrating the Mike Austin swing over the years.

Mike Austin - Golf is Mental Imagery

Mike Austin's Golf is Mental Imagery is available at Swing Man Golf

Swing Man Golf is now offering Mike Austin’s Golf is Mental Imagery video series.

To learn more, click here.

Golf & Country Magazine


Be sure to check out the 3-page article about me in this month’s Golf & Country Magazine!

Distance & Accuracy Combined

Jaacob Bowden was a return guest on Golf Smarter Podcasts with Fred Greene on June 5, 2012

Was a guest again on Golf Smarter Podcasts. Have a listen to Episode #336 below!

Show Notes:

"GSfMO#337 Mike Austin over drove a 450 yard hole while in his 60s! Jaacob Bowden lowered his handicap from 14-scratch with his method and now he’d like to share it with you. Austin is gone but Jaacob met and studied his method of keeping the club face square through more of the swing."

Learn the Mike Austin Swing - Video Launch

NOTE: This post was edited on May 4th, 2021 to include the full video, which is now posted for free on YouTube.
Learn the Mike Austin Swing with Jaacob Bowden

Launched my new Mike Austin instructional video.

Be sure to check it out below:

Me Using the Mike Austin Golf Swing

Mike Austin Golf Swing Montage - Golf's 515-Yard Man

Dan Shauger's Spin the Meatball Concept

Mike Austin Swing Clinic in St. Louis, Missouri

In St. Louis, Missouri from October 5th to 7th to put on a Mike Austin golf swing clinic.

My CBS Interview About Mike Austin in Los Angeles

In Los Angeles, California for an interview with ABS about Mike Austin.

Mighty Mike Austin & the 515 Yard Drive

Catch me in the July/August 2004 issue of Travel + Leisure Golf Magazine in David Hochman's article "Mighty Mike Austin and the 515 Yard Drive"!!!

Dan Shauger & My Instruction Video

In Los Angeles, California from May 7th to 16th to tape Dan Shauger's instructional video and shoot my own personal instructional video.

Mike Austin - Secrets From the Game's Longest Hitter

Videotaped and interviewed for the DVD re-release of "Mike Austin - Secrets from the Game's Longest Hitter".

Travel & Leisure Golf Magazine Interview

Interviewed by Travel & Leisure Golf Magazine. Be on the lookout for it in the upcoming months.