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Saturday, January 8, 2011

And the Winner Is Martin Hall

In case you hadn't heard, the Golf Channel has announced the winner of its Instructor Search.

Photo of Martin HallThe winner was, as I predicted, Martin Hall. (The crowd goes wild. For my amazing predictive powers, that is.) You can read Randall Mell's announcement here.

Apparently voters shared my belief that Hall's credentials -- which include having been Morgan Pressel's teacher -- and his ease in front of the camera put him ahead of his two "opponents" in the search, Karen Palacios-Jensen and Wayne Player. Not that those two aren't good teachers, but I have always thought of Karen as more of a golf fitness instructor (like Katherine Roberts) and Wayne is more of a mental coach.

You probably won't be surprised to learn that I'm a bit of a Monty Python fan -- my friends will tell you that's an understatement -- which may explain why I enjoy Hall's British humor so much. And some of his teaching devices remind me of Red Dwarf props gone horribly wrong. Anyway, Hall's 30-minute show will be called School of Golf and premieres January 25.

And for those of you who have never seen Red Dwarf, here's your introduction to the only true sci-fi sitcom that's ever been done. (And yes, there's a golf connection in the clip; see if you catch it.) The Red Dwarf is an intersteller mining ship. There was a nuclear accident on board and Dave Lister, who was in a suspended animation brig for smuggling his pet cat onboard, didn't get out for a million years. Now he's the last living human being in the universe. In this clip, Lister is trying to teach Kryten, a robot, how to lie. The word "Camille" that scoots across the screen is the name of the episode this clip is from, and the guy who walks in on them is Cat, the result of a million years of evolution from Lister's pet cat:

(The photo of Martin Hall is from


  1. As much as I like Martin Hall and Morgan Pressel as his student - this was a lose lose lose situation in that bogus "search" xxx Golf Channel ran. None of the three were going to work out. The other two are horrendous teachers, and Martin Hall comes across as Mr Rogers without the sweater.

    xxx Golf Channel lied when they said they searched high and low to find "the next great instructor" - all three were retreads on the channel. They should be ashamed of themselves.

  2. After I hit a bad shot, I have to be able to shake it off like the Black Knight and persevere no matter what. "It's just a flesh wound."

  3. Dex -- I wouldn't make the Black Knight too much of a golf hero...

    On the bright side, the Black Knight has a one-piece takeaway. Then again, he's only one piece to begin with. ;-)

    For the uninitiated out there, we aren't talking about Gary Player. This is "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" stuff... you know, culture.

    And Court, don't give up on Hall yet; he just might surprise you. Once he gets on a regular broadcast, I suspect his style will change somewhat as he adapts to a weekly show and gets feedback from the viewers. At least give TGC credit for getting someone who is a proven instructor.

  4. I hope you're right - but no - xxx Golf Channel gets no credit for being deceitful and not bothering to go more than 2 hours away from the studio to find "new talent". Hill isn't new. They did more work finding Breed. Hill's an old friend of the channel.

  5. Granted... but aren't we used to hype by now? Here's what I've decided to focus on: Maybe Martin Hall's show will end up being an understandable presentation of the Golf Machine teaching method. If he manages that, it should be worth the price of admission.

  6. I had two more quick thoughts...

    1) Regardless of how you feel about the contest, remember that it's not Hall's fault. Just because he got picked doesn't mean that he rigged the system. I think we should give him the benefit of the doubt here; let's see what kind of show he ends up making. Like I said, at least he's a proven instructor with at least one well-known successful student.

    2) This is a frightening thought, but I can't get it out of my head. You know, it's entirely possible that TGC really ran the contest exactly the way they say they did... and all the videos they got just stunk! Some of the samples they showed before they actually picked the final three made me cringe. I doubt most teachers are used to standing in front of a camera, and it's hard to teach effectively when you're overly self-conscious.

  7. I have no problem with Martin doing a show on xxx Golf Channel - he's a cool guy who knows the golf swing very well. He's not my favorite teacher because of his propencity for cutesy little phrases, but just because he's not what I would want doesn't mean he won't draw a good audience.

    My problem is the basic and obvious dishonesty displayed by xxx Golf Channel. They lied about the search and they're not hiring a "next big instructor". Just bugs me.

    I could find at least half a dozen pros in the Atlanta area who could do the job at least as well as Hall - so there are teachers in other areas outside of Florida. They didn't look.

  8. The question is... did they submit videos? TGC didn't say they were going door-to-door, but asked interested teachers to send in videos. I suspect a lot of teachers who would have done very well simply didn't enter the contest, either because they weren't confident of their media persona or they just didn't want the hassle of a weekly show.

    I suspect a lot of really good teachers are perfectly happy just teaching students one-on-one.