It was a year ago this week that Michael Hoke Austin died in Los Angeles at the age of 95, and another week before everyone could gather for a memorial to send him off properly.
Mike Dunaway, the world-renowned long-driver who regarded Austin as a second father, flew in from Arksansas. Jaacob Bowden, spiritual grandson to the Austin legacy, came down from Carmel. Phil Reed, who memorialized Austin in his book "In Search of the Perfect Swing," was there from Long Beach, along with Gary Sanati from Torrance and other acolytes from the metropolitan area.
Thomas Dang, the arriviste who bought the rights to Austin’s name, was there, too, claiming that Austin wasn’t cantankerous when everyone knew he was, and had long ago forgiven him.
Only Dan Shauger, Austin’s other spiritual son and high priest of the swing brotherhood, missed the memorial. Austin and Shauger had a falling out near the end of Austin’s life, which was unfortunate since Shauger had spent 25 years mastering the intricacies of Austin’s glorious, fluid swing and perpetuating his legacy.