When I first met Mike Austin, I wasn’t sure if I had what it took to become a long hitter, much less help others become long hitters. I wrote about this in my book,
In Search of the Greatest Golf Swing.
“Mike,” I heard myself saying. “Do you think you could teach someone like me, someone my size, to hit the ball 300 yards?”
I expected another appraising stare from Austin. I expected him to ask how tall I was, or to question my strength, or to qualify his answer in some way. Instead, he quickly answered, “Distance has little to do with size or strength. Distance comes from supple quickness,” And has he said those magic words, “supple quickness,” he cocked his left wrist, tucked his shoulder slightly, and made a fluid swinging motion. And in that small, deft motion, I saw a faint echo of his greatness. It was like handing a baseball to a Hall of Fame pitcher and seeing his old, gnarled fingers work into just the right grip to throw a slider or a curve.
“You see that net out there?” Mike pointed at the backstop for the driving range, which was at least 150 feet tall. “I had a student, a young woman, after taking lessons from me she was hitting the ball over that net.”
As he said this I felt my mind expanding. It was like I had just glimpsed a new me-or what I could expect with the right coaching and lots of practice. I had experienced this sensation before, when I first met Dr. Tom and saw him shooting free throws for an hour and never once missing. As Dr. Tom worked with me, and I began making long, unbroken series of baskets, I felt my mind grasping the idea that I was-capable of far more than I ever imagined. As Dr. Tom said in his book (which I co-wrote), Free Throw: 7 Steps to Success at the Free Throw Line, “We are more limited by our beliefs than our abilities.”
That sentence has stuck with me ever since. I think about it often during the daily operations of Pause-N-Go Golf.