|Charley with former European Captain Alison Nicholas in Colorado
It’s almost time to crown BT’s Action Woman of the Year for 2013 and there are just 10 more days to vote for Charley Hull.
Click here for the voting page
Charley turned professional in January 2013 and was part of the first European Team to beat the Americans on home soil in The Solheim Cup in Denver last August. She formed a successful pairing with Jodi Ewart in the day two four balls and defeated Paula Creamer by five and four in the singles.
Turning up at the Solheim Cup six months after turning professional and being the star of the show is quite something, to do it at 17- the youngest ever participant is sensational.
“I didn’t really feel nervous. It’s only a game after all. I just went out there, smashed some balls and played golf.” Indeed she also smashed American veteran Paul Creamer in the singles, drilling five birdies to a five and four victory. Charley then asked Creamer to autograph a ball for a friend back home. It’s this attachment to the ordinary that gives her great appeal. Her performance and personality winning over the Americans even though she was instrumental in beating them for the first time on their home turf as part of the European team. Although Charley does recall some fairly aggressive home support from the crowds: “They were really noisy, trying to put me off but it just made me think “I’ll show you”.”
Charley wasn’t particularly surprised at her achievements in Denver and in her own words “doesn’t really have a weakness”. Don’t be fooled into thinking this is the confidence of youth though, golfing great Laura Davis and Ian Poulter think her a sensation and her opponents are beginning to fear this blonde assassin from Burton Latimer, near Kettering. She never backs off a shot but combines pluck with all-round skill and most importantly an unflappable temperament. There’s certainly no sulking allowed on the golf course or she’d be at risk from a “talking to” from Dad Dave, who along with her Mum and friends from home, keep Charley’s feet firmly on the floor.
Charley’s standout memory of the Solheim was when she “holed the 17th against Lexi (Thompson) and Paula (Creamer)” during her fourball with Jodi Ewart-Shadoff. She loved the facilities too “they were amazing”.
Charley enjoyed the whole experience and didn’t feel under any extra pressure because of her age. “I didn’t really think about it, I had done the preparation and I went out and enjoyed myself. My teammates didn’t treat me any differently and we all socialised together and had a big party at the end.” It was the party were perhaps Charley felt her youth for the first time. “There was lots of champagne but I couldn’t drink because of my age. I’m not really interested in alcohol anyway.”
Back home the celebration involved a trip to Kettering Golf Club, where Charley was awarded a life time membership. Kettering was the course where she first played with her father as an infant. She won the ladies championship at nine years old and was playing off scratch at 11 years. “I always wanted to be the best” she says and in ten years time? “I hope I’m the top female in the world”.
|Charley asks opponent Paula Creamer to sign her golf ball on the 14th green at Colorado Golf Club after winning the match by 5&4
- 2013 March of, when Charley made her professional debut in Morocco.
- 2012 the year Charley made her debut in the Women’s British Open where she tied for third after the first round.
- 2014 the year Charley has set her sights on America and on earning LPGA membership through play on sponsor invites and other qualifying avenues as opposed to going the normal route of attending the LPGA qualifying school. Charley still prefers England though.
- 5 the number of tournaments Charley came 2nd in the Ladies European Tour immediately after turning pro.
- 4 days spent at home between the British Open and the Solheim Cup “It’s been a busy year and takes a lot out of you mentally”.
- 0 the number of days off per week Charley has. “I play golf every day but because I enjoy it”.
- 5 members of her family. Father Dave is a former plasterer, her Polish mother Basienka works in a clothes shop and two older sisters “It’s only dad and I who play golf though.”
- 1 dog. A Jack Russell called “Tom”.
- 2 the age when Charley first picked up a golf club.
- 4 the age when Charley first played with her father.
- 10 the age when Charley played alongside American pro Morgan Pressel in the British Open pro-am competition.
- 13 the age when Charley left school to be home-schooled. “I never really did much school work anyway, it sometimes got me in trouble with the teachers.”
- 4 is for “fourballs” and her dream fourball would include Tiger Woods, Seve Ballesteros and Rory Mcllroy. Oh and Christiano Ronaldo would carry her clubs because “he’s pretty alright”. They would play at Augusta, her favourite course in the world.
- 0 superstitions. “I used to have some but I don’t let that kind of thing control me anymore.”
- 0 boyfriends. Charley has lots of friends though and prefers to socialise with people outside of golf. A perfect day off would involve playing some golf then meeting up with friends to go shopping in Topshop, eat pizza and go clubbing.
- 1 Social media site used: Facebook. Charley steers clear of Twitter after getting “unwanted followers”. She professes to be “not bothered” by media attention otherwise and doesn’t like to read about herself in newspapers “I’m just there to play golf, enjoy it and focus on that.”
To see more including a video and vote click here
Tune into The Clare Balding Show on BT Sport 1 on Saturday 25th January, when Clare will be presenting the award to the winner.