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Mighty Mike Austin and the 515-Yard Drive


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I had never heard of this

Mighty Mike Austin and the 515-Yard Drive

Link to the whole story

http://www.travelandleisure.com/articles/mighty-mike-austin-and-the-515-yard-drive/1

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Originally Posted by VegasRenegade

I had never heard of this

Mighty Mike Austin and the 515-Yard Drive

Thirty years ago a brash pro belted the longest drive in history. With a persimmon driver. He was 64. And the record still stands.

Link to the whole story

http://www.travelandleisure.com/articles/mighty-mike-austin-and-the-515-yard-drive/1

You've led a sheltered life then.

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I had heard of the drive before, but never the story behind it.  Thanks for posting the link.  The most interesting part to me is the last page.  It seems it was just barely possible.

Mike Austin's record 515-yard drive has yet to be approached in thirty years. Which begs the question: Did it—could it—really happen?

T+L GOLF asked the engineers at Focaltron, a golf-performance company in Sunnyvale, California, to simulate the drive to see whether Austin's story flies. After plugging in all the known data—that day's wind and weather conditions, the altitude, the persimmon driver and the two-piece ball—here's what they determined:

At an altitude of 2,030 feet and a temperature of eighty-eight degrees, Austin would have needed the day's maximum wind gust of 27 m.p.h. behind him, an astonishingly low launch angle and spin rate and a swing speed of 150 m.p.h. to carry the ball 445 yards before it started rolling. (Indeed, Austin's swing was once measured at 155 m.p.h.; by comparison, Tiger Woods swings the club about 120 m.p.h.) A few lucky bounces might—just might—have yielded another sixty or so yards. Plus, by cutting off the slight dogleg, Austin shaved ten or more yards off the hole. If all these variables came together, the 515- yard drive could have occurred. Or perhaps, as Austin's biographer, Philip Reed, suggests: "Something unquantifiable may have happened that day. It's like the moment when a mother lifts a car to save her child from the burning wreckage. Whatever Mike did that day seemed to defy everything we know about the golf swing."

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I really don't doubt that it could have happened, in my 40+ years of playing I've seen a lot of bizzare things happen.  Couldn't count on both hands how many times I've said or though, how the hell did that ball get to that position.

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Originally Posted by lumpuckeroo

I really don't doubt that it could have happened, in my 40+ years of playing I've seen a lot of bizzare things happen.  Couldn't count on both hands how many times I've said or though, how the hell did that ball get to that position.


Amen!

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I really doubt it carried 445 yards. I've never seen that claimed except by the people trying to replicate it; no eyewitness claimed it. I'd believe it rolled 215 yards, if it had a hard and fast surface and a wind behind it.  Launching at like 4˚ with really low spin and almost a flat descent, I guess it could happen. As long as the ball is still going fast when it starts rolling, no problem getting it to roll 100+ yards.

What I really don't like is the cult like status attributed to this guy. It's a great story, but it's a freak thing and he doesn't have a mythical understanding of the golf swing. There have been longer drives on airport runways, off mountains, etc. This was on a golf course in the academic sense, but I don't see how it's any different. No different really from the 473 yarder DJ hit a few years ago; he averages 310 but the conditions made that happen. I could hit a drive into a hurricane or frozen lake, or on the moon that would go that far.

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Having a swing speed of 155mph is seriously crazy.  I played just last night with a guy who has a swing speed of 127mph (according to him - which I believe).  He had a wind assisted drive on a the 16th hole that ended up going ~ 360yds (looking at where we teed off versus where it landed on Google Earth).  It was just short right of the green...  The hole measures 410yds from the tees, but he took the short cut (went right).

I can't imagine witnessing anyone swinging the club 155mph - let alone making clean contact.

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OK, I was going to post something about how since nobody saw it, maybe it bounced off some sprinkler heads, or he mistook somebody else's ball for his, or a number of other flukey things.  but then I read this part of the story and ...

"Winterwood Golf Course is one of the oldest tracks in the Las Vegas Valley. It was built in 1964, and ten years later was still way out in the desert. Today it's called Desert Rose and is just another overplayed local course lost in Vegas's sprawl."

You guys remember who else calls Desert Rose their home course?  Hint:  He may not be able to drive it 515, but he can drive it 300, and it's not unbelievable anymore.

What kind of coincidence is it that one of the longer beginning golfers out there plays the same course that holds the record for the longest drive ever?

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OK, I was going to post something about how since nobody saw it, maybe it bounced off some sprinkler heads, or he mistook somebody else's ball for his, or a number of other flukey things.  but then I read this part of the story and ... "Winterwood Golf Course is one of the oldest tracks in the Las Vegas Valley. It was built in 1964, and ten years later was still way out in the desert. Today it's called [U] Desert Rose [/U] and is just another overplayed local course lost in Vegas's sprawl." You guys remember who else calls Desert Rose their home course?  Hint:  He may not be able to drive it 515, but he can drive it 300, and it's not unbelievable anymore. :dance: What kind of coincidence is it that one of the longer beginning golfers out there plays the same course that holds the record for the longest drive ever?

Someday, I hope to play more than just local courses, and play there. Sounds fun. BTW, the longest thread belongs to the longest beginner hitter too! I wonder if he can muster even more speed when he gets his swing refined? Jamie And Mike Dobbin better watch out. Mike Austin is really awesome. His swing looks really powerful. I wonder what he could do with one of those 460cc tour weight club heads? Or the LDA heads? I bet he would cave in a few heads.

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Having a swing speed of 155mph is seriously crazy.  I played just last night with a guy who has a swing speed of 127mph (according to him - which I believe).  He had a wind assisted drive on a the 16th hole that ended up going ~ 360yds (looking at where we teed off versus where it landed on Google Earth).  It was just short right of the green...  The hole measures 410yds from the tees, but he took the short cut (went right). I can't imagine witnessing anyone swinging the club 155mph - let alone making clean contact.

I guess with that kind of distance you need "google earth" to verify the distance?:-)

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Originally Posted by Lihu

I guess with that kind of distance you need "google earth" to verify the distance?

Hahhaha... Hey, he hit it a 'country mile'... And I was curious how long he actually hit it.  I hit mine in the fairway and had 87yds to the pin.... So I was curious how far my wind assisted drive with my 105ish ss ended up as well!

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For the record:-

" In the 1974 U.S. National Seniors Open, the precursor to the U.S. Senior Open that was first played in 1980, Austin hit a measured drive of 515 yards that still stands in the Guinness Book of Sports Records as the longest drive ever hit in competition.

Austin was 64 at the time. He used a Wilson 43.5-inch, steel-shafted persimmon driver and a 100-compression Titleist balata golf ball.

The drive came on the par-4 5th hole at Winterwood Golf Course in Las Vegas (now called Desert Rose). Former PGA champion Chandler Harper, paired with Austin that day, later called it “the damnedest thing I ever saw.”

With a tailwind of about 20 miles an hour, Austin launched a drive that carried more than 400 yards, bounced onto the green and kept rolling. When it stopped, it was 65 yards past the flagstick.

Later that day, tournament officials used a measuring wheel to determine the exact yardage. When they passed 500 yards, they knew they were recording a piece of golf history.

“It was like God hit it,” Austin said to golf writer Andy Brumer. “Who can hit a ball that far? No one. I feel like I got some assistance from God.” "

Doesn't seem to be too much doubt about the authenticity, nor is there anything reported that can be construed as unusual ; other than the distance that is.

Why all the scepticism?  (English spelling)

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Originally Posted by burner

For the record:-

" In the 1974 U.S. National Seniors Open, the precursor to the U.S. Senior Open that was first played in 1980, Austin hit a measured drive of 515 yards that still stands in the Guinness Book of Sports Records as the longest drive ever hit in competition.

Austin was 64 at the time. He used a Wilson 43.5-inch, steel-shafted persimmon driver and a 100-compression Titleist balata golf ball.

The drive came on the par-4 5th hole at Winterwood Golf Course in Las Vegas (now called Desert Rose). Former PGA champion Chandler Harper, paired with Austin that day, later called it “the damnedest thing I ever saw.”

With a tailwind of about 20 miles an hour, Austin launched a drive that carried more than 400 yards, bounced onto the green and kept rolling. When it stopped, it was 65 yards past the flagstick.

Later that day, tournament officials used a measuring wheel to determine the exact yardage. When they passed 500 yards, they knew they were recording a piece of golf history.

“It was like God hit it,” Austin said to golf writer Andy Brumer. “Who can hit a ball that far? No one. I feel like I got some assistance from God.” "

Doesn't seem to be too much doubt about the authenticity, nor is there anything reported that can be construed as unusual; other than the distance that is.

Why all the scepticism?  (English spelling)

I don't dispute where it ended up.  But if the only people that saw it were him and his playing partner, then nobody really saw it after 300 or so yards, so they don't really know that it "carried more than 400 yards, bounced onto the green and kept rolling until it was 65 yards past the flagstick."  All they know is it went out of their sight and then ended up 65 yards past the flagstick.  Who knows how it got there?  It could have been carried there by that dog from the Traveler's Insurance commercials for all we know.

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I don't dispute where it ended up.  But if the only people that saw it were him and his playing partner, then nobody really saw it after 300 or so yards, so they don't really know that it "carried more than 400 yards, bounced onto the green and kept rolling until it was 65 yards past the flagstick."  All they know is it went out of their sight and then ended up 65 yards past the flagstick.  Who knows how it got there?  It could have been carried there by that dog from the Traveler's Insurance commercials for all we know.

I'm not going to say I saw someone on my range the other day who hit it 515 yards, because I didn't. However, I am going to say that even I had a ball fly low and far, and it seemed like someone was holding it up. The ball had a crack in it and I lined it up with the path it would travel. I though when I hit it, that I could split it in half. Instead, this thing went on till the person watching me hit it could not see it anymore. He said it went over 280 yards before he lost track of it in the woods separating the range from the 2nd fairway. Freaky things do happen. I certainly am not, normally, capable of hitting 280 yard plus low drives like that, other than in a freak occurrence. Given this, I am convinced that someone as large and athletic as Mike Austin can hit a freak ball 515 yards. He was a professional boxer (his back muscles are built like steel cables from this) and studied kinesiology at a phd level to perfect his golf swing. There is definitely a physical reason why it happened. We just have not determined what specifically might give the ball this mysterious flight trajectory.

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Originally Posted by Lihu

I'm not going to say I saw someone on my range the other day who hit it 515 yards, because I didn't.

However, I am going to say that even I had a ball fly low and far, and it seemed like someone was holding it up.

The ball had a crack in it and I lined it up with the path it would travel. I though when I hit it, that I could split it in half. Instead, this thing went on till the person watching me hit it could not see it anymore. He said it went over 280 yards before he lost track of it in the woods separating the range from the 2nd fairway.

Freaky things do happen. I certainly am not, normally, capable of hitting 280 yard plus low drives like that, other than in a freak occurrence.

Given this, I am convinced that someone as large and athletic as Mike Austin can hit a freak ball 515 yards. He was a professional boxer (his back muscles are built like steel cables from this) and studied kinesiology at a phd level to perfect his golf swing.

There is definitely a physical reason why it happened. We just have not determined what specifically might give the ball this mysterious flight trajectory.

Another reason to be skeptical (American spelling ) is that in the last 30 years, nobody has even come close to touching it.  With all of the technological advances to the drivers, balls, and fitness, in 30 years, the closest anybody could come is 50 or 60 yards.  And the guy whose sole job is long driving, Jason Zubak, hasn't come within 100 yards of it.

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Originally Posted by Golfingdad

Another reason to be skeptical (American spelling ) is that in the last 30 years, nobody has even come close to touching it.  With all of the technological advances to the drivers, balls, and fitness, in 30 years, the closest anybody could come is 50 or 60 yards.  And the guy whose sole job is long driving, Jason Zubak, hasn't come within 100 yards of it.

Guys I figured it out:

The guy doing the measuring looked down and read the numbers upside down. It was really only 212 yards. Mystery solved.

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Guys I figured it out: The guy doing the measuring looked down and read the numbers upside down. It was really only 212 yards. Mystery solved.

And Dyslectic as well :-)

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