The best teachers tend to be a little unconventional.
My 8th-grade English teacher was a character. Anyone walking the halls of Avon Middle School during the day would likely hear the booming voice of Dr. Jim Fuller whether the classroom door was open or closed. He delivered his sermons on literature with the same level of enthusiasm and in the same attire every day: khakis, button-down dress shirt, one of a seemingly endless collection of bowties and white-and-brown saddle shoes that looked like old-school, spikeless golf shoes. I was interested in writing when I got to Fuller's (he insisted we call him by his last name) class; by the end of the school year, I loved it.
Legendary golf instructor Martin Hall has always reminded me a bit of Fuller. His own way of communicating is engaging, and his teaching methods sit just far enough off the mainstream to make you really take notice of what he has to share about all aspects of golf. Over more than a decade hosting the instruction series School of Golf on Golf Channel and, now, GolfPass, Hall has used dozens of fascinating and unexpected visual and swing aids in order to help instill the fundamentals of the golf swing and the finer points of playing the game. Many people are interested in golf when they enter Martin Hall's tutelage. Over time, they grow to love it, too. After all, what's not to love about turning bogeys into pars and birdies?
Here are 10 of the most creative teaching aids Martin Hall has used over more than 400 episodes of School of Golf:
A golfer's shadow (2015)
Keeping the sun directly at your back at the right time of day can teach you a great deal about the motion of the golf swing.
A swimming pool (2011)
Normally golfers want to avoid the water, but here's a brilliant way to incorporate the surface of a swimming pool in an effort to drive the ball farther.
No, Martin didn't get a shrinking curse put on him at the beginning of Season 12 - he trotted out one of his favorite models to illustrate the importance of staying centered over the golf ball through impact.
Car headlights (2016)
It's not exactly "night putting" (no daughter of the Dean), but the two headlights strapped to Martin's knees in this clip illustrate the "timeless truths" of putting.
Three brushes (2011)
Using three brushes, Martin demonstrates why "synchronized" motion may be the opposite of what you want in your golf swing.
A laser (2017)
Attaching a laser to the shaft of a golf club enables Martin to illustrate a swing-plane drill that helped a two-time major champion.
Car and bottle caps (2020)
COVID lockdowns didn't stop Martin or the School of Golf crew from helping golfers. Here, he helps you work on your chipping from his home studio.
A parrot (2023)
No animals were harmed in the making of this tip.
A toothbrush (2018)
What could a broken toothbrush possibly have to do with teaching you to hit high, soft-landing flop shots? Only Martin knows.
A football end zone (2020)
It's football season, so naturally, Martin has a useful teaching aid that uses something from the gridiron to help you make better contact with your irons.