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Monday, June 23, 2008

Englishman who coached Morgan Pressel

awarded PGA Master Professional status

An English golf coach who made his name across the Atlantic including guiding Morgan Pressel to become the youngest ever women's major winner, has received one of the highest accolades in the game.
Martin Hall, the former professional at Trentham in Staffordshire in the early 80s but now based at Ibis Golf & Country Club in Florida, has been awarded PGA Master Professional status in recognition of his brilliant coaching career.
The 52-year-old drew inspiration from great American coaches Jim Flick, Peter Kostis and Bob Toski. It was his subsequent friendship with them that led to him moving to the USA to pursue his passion for teaching and coaching.
Rated one of the best coaches by world famous Golf Digest magazine, Hall was also an instrumental figure in the Nicklaus/Flick golf schools, helping establish academies around the world and coaching in 16 countries from Japan to Canada.
More exciting for Hall was spending time with Nicklaus and also Tom Watson, and being able to pick their brains."It gave me a close up profile of what a world class champion is like outside of the ropes," says Hall.
"Not withstanding their enormous athletic ability, both were very certain, very sure of themselves and tremendously determined and competitive. I asked Jack how he could win 18 major championships?
"He said he knew he was never going to hit it left in the last nine holes of a major. That has given me great insight, under pressure he was absolutely intent that the toe of the club didn't pass the heel until after impact."
To me that knowledge really has clout, it's not something you read in a book."
Two other key figures in his life have been his wife, Lisa, the two-time Solheim Cup player and four time Tour winner, and Pressel whose victory in the Kraft Nabisco Championship last year made her at just 18, the youngest ever to win a major.
"I knew she was really good when she shot two 77s after qualifying as a 12-year-old for the US Open. She's quite a player," he said.
His own golf career began at 12 after his family moved to the countryside from Stoke."I wanted to be a footballer but we moved to the country and there was nothing to do," he said."One day in the summer holidays, when my parents were out, I took my mother's clubs, took a bus to Newcastle Golf Club in North Staffordshire and headed straight onto the first tee and played nine holes."
A life-long love-affair with golf duly began. His first job was as an assistant at Wentworth but he also played three years on the European Tour.
But it's in coaching where he has really made his mark and he's become a much sought after speaker with guest slots at both the US PGA and PGA teaching and coaching conferences under his belt.
"It's a big honour to get this PGA Master Professional award particularly because I've been out of the country for nearly 25 years," said Hall."It's when something like this comes along that it makes you realise all the hard work was worth it."