As Women and Girls' Golf Week heads into the back nine, former Women's Open champion Georgia Hall reflects on her career and why she's proud to inspire the next generation of golfing youngsters
Georgia Hall – Women’s British Open champion and Solheim Cup star. It has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?
But the 24-year-old’s journey to very top of the golfing ladder and those exalted moments on the greens of Royal Lytham and St Anne’s in 2018 and Gleneagles last year began in far humbler surroundings.
Long before the trophies and the honours came an introduction to the game as a youngster at Ferndown Golf Club near Bournemouth.
It didn’t take long for Hall to become hooked on the game and progress from being a nine-year-old with a handicap of 36 into a budding champion.
But while she has moved on, Hall has never forgotten those early, baby steps in the game under the watchful eye of father Wayne who then caddied for her when she won the Open two years ago.
Now – as an R&A ambassador and strong supporter of women’s and girls’ golf – Hall is aware of how her performances can inspire a generation of girls who are only just becoming aware of the opportunities to play or get involved in the game.
“I think it had much bigger impact than I thought,” admitted Hall earlier this month when reflecting on her Open triumph in 2018 and looking ahead to this week’s AIG Women’s Open at Royal Troon.
“Even six months later I had messages from girls on social media saying ‘I’ve taken up the sport because I’ve watched you play and compete in the last nine holes at Lytham and you made me find of fall in love with the game.’
“That’s a great feeling to know that I have brought a lot more youngsters into golf, and if I can continue that, that would be great’ if a British person can win the AIG Women’s Open, because it just touches everyone all across the country.”
It was perhaps fate that Georgia was destined for a career in golf.
After all, her parents did name her in honour of the US state where Nick Faldo pulled off a famous Masters victory against Greg Norman in 1996 just two days after Georgia made her appearance into this world.
By 2009 and aged just 13, Hall was named in the England under 18 squad and became Under 13 English Girls’ champion.
There were outings with the girls’ team in Home Internationals in 2010 and she stepped up to win the English Girls’ Under 15 championship that same year.
Naturally her talent saw her promoted to the England Golf Ladies’ Performance squads in 2012 despite her still being only 16 years old. As Europe’s number one amateur, the sky was the limit for the young English star.
In 2012, Hall won the British Girls’ Championship and also reached the semi-finals of the Ladies’ British Championship.
With England, Hall was part of the team which won the European Girls’ Team Championships and became number one on the European Order of Merit as well as four in the world rankings.
In 2013, Hall became the Women’s Amateur champion thanks to a dramatic last hole victory over Spain’s Luna Sobron at Prestwick Golf Club.
There followed appearances at the Youth Olympics in Sydney and a Curtis Cup appearance in 2014 where the cream of the crop from the British Isles took on their American counterparts in Missouri.
Inevitably, Hall then felt ready to leave the amateur ranks and turn pro.
Given a solid grounding in the game, Hall flourished. Her first professional title was claimed in 2016 in the Victorian Open on the Australian Ladies’ tour.
A third-place finish at the Ricoh Women’s British Open in 2017 hinted at better things to come and a year later at Lytham she didn’t disappoint.
Last year proved to be just as memorable with her contribution to Europe’s thrilling victory in the Solheim Cup.
There then followed a visit to Buckingham Palace where she received an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.
Yet Hall is also driven to give back to the game which has offered her so much.
In her role as a women and girls’ ambassador with The R&A, Hall is committed to making sure there are always opportunities for any other young girls who aspire to follow in her footsteps.
With the eyes of the golfing world on Troon this week, Hall is determined to play well.
She added: “It would be great for us to make more headlines and for people to see us around the world more and the U.K.
“Obviously as players, we’re going to do the best we can to showcase the best golf to the public around the world. So I think it’s a great opportunity.
“I think maybe more people can relate to women’s golf a little bit more because we don’t hit it 350 yards. We are kind of more about hitting a lot of fairways and hitting greens and putting well. I think if they can take that from the week, it would be a positive.”
Women and Girls’ Golf Week
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