Ask the expert: Martin Hall
Director of instruction, Ibis Country Club, West Palm Beach, Fla.
Hall, 2008 PGA Teacher of the Year, is a highly visible advocate of training aids:
Why should golfers use training aids?
When it comes to the golf swing, I think training aids can help you see it and feel it and understand it. I hear people talk all the time about auditory and visual and kinesthetic approaches to teaching, but I don’t bother analyzing that. With training aids, you can touch all three senses.
Who influenced you the most with training aids?
Wally Armstrong (former PGA Tour player and teacher). He kind of lit a fire under me.
I know you have a Jack Nicklaus story about training aids. What happened?
I got Jack to swing underneath a rope once. He nearly killed himself. He couldn’t do it. That being said, I don’t force training aids on people who don’t want to use them.
How do you deal with those who openly question the use of training aids?
I would say those people probably haven’t spent much time trying to use them. If I can paraphrase Maslow (psychologist Abraham Maslow): If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail. I believe an instructor has many tools at his disposal, and he needs to go into his tool chest and choose the proper one. Picking the right training aid is the same as picking the appropriate tool for the appropriate task.
What are your favorite training aids?
Anything that trains the hands and wrists to behave in a way that should allow golfers to play better. I think that is one of the most misunderstood parts of the swing.