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Thursday, December 2, 2010

Martin Hall and the Golf Machine

If you're watching Golf Channel's 12 Nights at the Academy series, you know they're showing three finalists who are in the run for their own shows. Well, those three aren't unknowns; they've been on TGC before. Tuesday night they "auditioned" the first teacher, Martin Hall.

Hall is probably best known as Morgan Pressel's instructor, and he teaches a system based on the Golf Machine. It's worth knowing a little about the Golf Machine because you'll see references to its creator, Homer Kelley, if you read much golf teaching literature. Golf Machine is a complicated system and, other than Morgan, the only other well-known player I know who uses it is Bobby Clampett... and Clampett is better known as a CBS announcer because his Golf Machine ended up with an unexpected monkey wrench in its works. (In fairness, I suspect much of the problem was simply all the attention Clampett received when he joined the Tour. He was expected to "validate the claims" of the Golf Machine community, and I think the pressure just got to him.)

Anyway, TGC devoted a brief segment to some of "Martin's Maxims" Tuesday night, many of which are very useful and I'll refer to some of them in the future. Let me tell you right now that my favorite maxim is not a swing tip at all -- it even sounds a bit cynical in an age where players assemble an entire team to keep their game in shape. It is simply this:
"The best sports psychologist is a square clubface at impact."
A useful truth to memorize and quote to competitors when they start throwing clubs. ;-)

Anyway, I found a couple of YouTube videos from a Golf Channel Academy special Hall did about four years ago. These two videos cover the entire show, so I've included them both. They focus on four things Hall says you must know in order to hit the ball farther.

Although I've seen this show before, I admit I didn't watch them again before posting them... at least, not completely, so I'm not going to cover their complete contents in nauseating detail. (I'm posting them both because I want them here for easy reference -- both for you and me -- and I'll refer to them in the future.)

However, I do want to call your attention to the first segment of Part 1 -- it's only about four minutes long -- where Hall explains how the hinges of the wrists work. Hall is the only teacher I've ever seen explain this and, if you've never seen it, you simply must watch that part. It's pretty easy to verify to yourself that he's correct; the only thing I would add is that the right hinge does straighten out (not flip, but straighten out) somewhere between ball contact and waist-high in your followthrough. That isn't made completely clear in the segment, so I wanted to point that out.

I don't necessarily buy into everything I know about the Golf Machine but, like most systems, it has some strong points (like the wrist hinge explanation) that make it worth a little of your time. And Hall is pretty entertaining to watch. I'll be interested to see how the voting plays out.


  1. A good plan, before taking on The Golf Machine - get passing grades in algebra, trigonometry, physics, and kinesiology. That's one bear of a book !

    I enjoyed most of the Martin Hall show. He's a great guy and a terrific instructor. Not really my type because his maxims just get too silly for my taste - but I'm with you. The first segment where he got into wrist hinge and he pulled out that band that connected the shaft and left forearm was excellent.

    However - I can't begin to tell you how ticked off I am with xxx Golf Channel and this line of BS they are throwing out on this "search" for the next great teacher. Two retreads from years past and Gary Player's son ? Come on. They put in more leg work to find Michael Breed.

    Karen Palacios-Jansen is a horrible instructor - VERY attractive - but a terrible instructor. She is a walking cliche of golf basics.

    And Player ? I don't know much about the guy - but be honest - he was picked because of his father. He's probably a good teacher - you don't have a father like that without growing into a pretty good understanding of the swing.

    Admit it xxx Golf Channel - you didn't do a "search" to find some hidden gem in the golf instruction world - you pulled out three easy names from the rolodex and sent them a plane ticket. What a joke.

    Did you happen to catch Nobilo and Chamblee last night ? I thought they did a good job. Tilghman made a mess out of the Annika Sorenstam show, but she got in some good stories and tips.

  2. I was surprised at how good N&C were -- especially after the clip TGC chose to advertise it had Chamblee talking about "initiating your core." I thought the show had a lot more practical advice (without jargon) than that.

    I missed most of the Annika show. I did hear her say that she thought Charlotta had found her niche as a teacher, which is really quite a compliment. Making things clear, especially for kids -- which Annika said is Charlotta's specialty -- is no small feat.

  3. lol - we picked out that same phrase and it sounds like it sent shivers up both our spines that the whole show would be like that. I guess xxx Golf Channel doesn't understand that you're not supposed to put the bad stuff out as a preview. (lol)

    I really liked that Chamblee gave credit for where his tips came from. The first one he gave, from Harvey Penick, on getting the feeling for having shaft lean with the weight going forward was excellent.

    Tilghman had to have a dummy card in her hands to get through each segment. She couldn't even get through "give us your alltime favorite tip" without pulling out the card.

    I'm looking forward to Rocco and Jimmy Ballard tonight.

  4. I just finished my post for Friday, and I did it on some of Ballard's teaching. The show was definitely the best presentation of his teaching I've seen... and that was in no small part due to Rocco. Those two should start a school together.

  5. good to hear - I have it recorded - looking forward to watching