WEST PALM BEACH, Florida -- When Golf Channel hired Martin Hall in 2011 to essentially become America’s Instructor, he didn’t think it would be a long-term gig. Eight shows, perhaps. A second season, unlikely.
Instead, Hall hit TV golf’s version of the flyer. The Director of Golf Instruction at The Club at Ibis recently hosted his 400th episode of “School of Golf,” making it the longest-running instruction show in TV history.
“It’s staggering … mind-blowing … remarkable, really,” Hall said recently at his daytime home on the back of Ibis’ range. “It’s hard to believe we have done 400 shows.”
That’s a longer run than some of the greatest shows in TV history, such as Cheers (273) and Seinfeld (180). Hall has produced his share of laughs with his upbeat personality.
The 67-year-old Martin admits he wasn’t keen on the idea when originally asked to audition for the role. He thought he was too old to appear on live TV every week.
But Hall soon realized he didn’t have to change his style. He just needed to teach in the same manner he’s done since he quit playing on the European PGA Tour in 1977.
“I decided when I started doing this that the Martin Hall you will see on “School of Golf” is the Martin Hall you will meet on the range at The Club at Ibis,” Hall said. “I teach the same way on TV as I do in person.”
It’s not an easy job trying to teach someone the incredibly difficult task of hitting a golf ball correctly. It’s more difficult trying to teach through a camera.
But when Golf Channel moved Hall’s show this year from linear (TV) to digital (GolfPass app), golfers can hear Hall’s words of wisdom halfway across the globe.
“I must say I like being on digital better,” Hall said. “I can go longer than 21 minutes (during a 30-minute show) and my producer will allow me to go on rants. But what’s best is you can see me from anywhere, anytime, across the globe on GolfPass.”
Hall once counted that he has either played golf with, given lessons to or done TV alongside 47 different major champions. Plus, he worked with teaching legends such as Boca Raton resident Bob Toski, John Jacobs, Peter Kostis and Jim Flick.
The wisdom they have given me is something I can pass on to the next generation,” Hall said. “I feel a responsibility to serve as a bridge between the older teachers and the younger golfers. It’s important we preserve this golf knowledge.”
Hall had the credibility before stepping in front of Golf Channel’s cameras. He won the 2008 PGA Teacher of the Year and is 14th on Golf Digest’s ranking of Best Teachers in America. He has worked with major champions Morgan Pressel, Karrie Webb, Lexi Thompson and Shaun Micheel.
Hall has been teaching at Ibis since 1997 from his office at the back end of the range. Any time he invites a pro golfer for a clinic, it’s a must-see event.
“Completing his 400th show is an incredible accomplishment that is indicative of his professionalism and overall knowledge of golf instruction,” said Stephen J. LoGiudice, Ibis’ GM/COO. “Martin is synonymous with golf not only at Ibis, but within the industry.
“He adds credibility to our golf program and is an extraordinary asset to the membership and staff he teaches. His golf clinics have been some of our most memorable member events and we look forward to having him here for many, many more years."
Jay Berger, Ibis’ Director of Athletics, understands Hall’s role at the high-end private club better than anyone. Berger is a former top-10 tennis player in the world who also served as coach of the U.S. Davis Cup team and the Olympics.
“Martin means a great deal to Ibis in so many facets,” Berger said. “He gives massive exposure to our great club through his Golf Channel shows that I constantly watch. He participates in lectures with our members on the mental side of sports.
“He has shown incredible dedication to our club and members. Besides being a top 10 coach in the world for many years, he is incredibly approachable and one of the nicest people I have met.”
Hall has written all 400 shows. Asked where he gets the material, Hall smiled. It’s because he spends hours a day on the range doing what he loves.
“I get them from the students I teach,” he said. “I teach every level player from people who have won major championships to absolute beginners. I get a lot of lessons from my most difficult student – that’s me! I am my most difficult student because I have all this information swirling around.”
Thankfully, Hall will continue to pass on this information for years to come. And you don’t have to be a member at Ibis to listen in.
“I made a promise to myself and the people that watch “School of Golf” that I will give every show 100 percent and that I’ll treat every show as if it’s my last. Every show I do is important to me, my personal Super Bowl, and I give it everything I can.”
About The Club at Ibis
Ibis is a secure, gated collection of 33 distinctly different neighborhoods, located on the quiet edge of northern West Palm Beach and just minutes from the heart of the city. It is adjacent to the pristine Grassy Waters Nature Preserve, a 12,000-acre, state-protected preserve, with wildlife, birds, and tropical vegetation. The modern Clubhouse recently completed an expansion and includes three dining venues and banquet accommodations. The Sports Village includes fitness facilities, pools, a tranquil spa, and a yoga wall. The 22 court Tennis and Pickleball Center holds friendly tournaments and weekly group play. Golf is center stage and offers 54 holes on three Nicklaus family-designed championship golf courses. For more information, call 561.625.8500 or visit www.clubatibis.com.