Charley Hull is no ordinary 20-year-old. The straight-talking Englishwoman has been breaking golfing records practically since she could walk.
Introduced to golf at the age of two, Hull came to public attention aged nine when she won a significant 18-hole handicap event against adults with a score of 28 stableford points from a handicap of 26 at Turnberry.
From there, Hull has gone from strength to strength by winning honours as Rookie of the Year, becoming the youngest competitor to participate in the Solheim Cup and lifting a Ladies European Tour title all before the age of 18.
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With victory at last year’s LPGA Tour’s season-ending CME Group Tour Championship the pinnacle of her achievements so far, alongside a tie for seventh at the Olympics, Hull has already set the wheels in motion to challenge the career of Britiain’s greatest ever female golfer and Hall of Famer Laura Davies.
To put Hull’s start into perspective, Davies did not win the first of her 20 career LPGA titles – albeit the US Women’s Open – until she was 23.
We caught up with golf’s rising sensation at Bridgestone’s “Chase Your Dream No Matter What” event in London, to talk all things golf. And Ibiza.
We often see the glamorous side of your career, but you also must have made plenty of sacrifices to get where you are today?
I’ve never thought about obstacles or sacrifices, all I’ve ever wanted to do is play golf. Leaving school at 13 meant that I missed a lot of things that normal teenagers do. Things like having a boyfriend and just hanging out with your mates. Being away from home is also hard. I try and get back as much as I can. But I’m a golfer, I’m not going to complain.
How was your Olympic experience in Rio last year?
I’m an Olympian, that’s pretty cool. We just went for the golf event, so I didn’t get to watch any of the action or meet many of the other athletes. That was my choice. I just wanted to concentrate on playing golf. The atmosphere was amazing though.
Do you think the Olympics could ever be the pinnacle of a golfer’s career?
Sure, why not? When I was growing up I watched the majors so that’s what I wanted to win, but if kids grow up watching the Olympics, then why shouldn’t that be their dream. I don’t see why it couldn’t be the pinnacle of my career at some point either. Who wouldn’t want a gold medal?
There’s been some controversy over the Tokyo 2020 venue not allowing women members. Is that something you would be uncomfortable with?
No, we should play there. They’ll see how awesome we are, and then they’ll probably change their minds.
What are your thoughts on the news this week that Muirfield has finally voted to allow women members?
There are still obstacles for women who want to play golf. Still, when I was a kid playing at Kettering Golf Club I was the only girl. Now you go to the club and there are quite a few. Things have improved and the initiatives launched by England Golf seem to be making a difference. I think everyone should stop talking about Muirfield though. Women can play there now, let’s just get on with playing golf.
You must be excited for the upcoming Solheim Cup?
I’m buzzing. I played in the States in my first Solheim Cup as a seventeen-year-old. That was a big moment for me.
Have you had much contact with Annika (Sorenstam)?
Yes, she was a vice-captain in Germany so I got to know her really well. She sends emails but I keep forgetting to reply. I’m not good with emails.
What! You don’t reply to Annika?
(Charley laughs.) Yes, you’re right, I probably should.
Your old England partner Georgia Hall is playing some great golf on the Ladies European Tour and looks set to make her debut appearance at the Solheim Cup. Would that be a partnership you’d like to see revived?
Sure, that would be fun. I’d also love to play with Suzann Pettersen again. She’s a great golfer and I love her personality. She’s really funny!
We know you love a good party in Ibiza. What else do you like to do when you’re not golfing?
Yes! I went twice last year and twice the year before. My schedules are quite busy at the moment but hopefully I can go again soon. I just like to go to the pub with my mates and chill out. Oh, and I love Nandos! I also really need to pass my driving test, but there’s never enough time.
What would be your advice for aspiring youngsters?
Just go and play golf without worrying. Hit it, find it and hit it again, is the best advice you can give. As long as you have fun it doesn’t really matter. You’re not going to die if you hit a bad shot.
Becky Gee writes for Women & Golf
A series of events will make up the 2017 Chase Your Dream, No Matter What calendar:
Top events: Bridgestone has partnered at international, national and grassroots levels to inspire golf enthusiasts, amateur and professional players to chase their dream, no matter what.
Top grassroots events: Bridgestone is promoting the national grassroots Bridgestone Chase Your Dream Trophy for amateur golfers.
Local grassroots events: Three grassroots events, each one hosted by one of our Chase Your Dream, No Matter What ambassadors will take place during 2017 to inspire people from all over the UK to overcome their own obstacles. Daley Thompson’s event will be an athletics-based challenge, Chris Mears’ will offer diving with a twist and Charley Hull will host a golfing experience.
For more information, click here.
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