|Lydia Hall enjoying the Ben & Jerry's sponsored ice cream at the ISPS HANDA Ladies European Masters media day at Buckinghamshire Golf Club
In 2012, Lydia Hall from Wales secured her first LET victory at the ISPS HANDA Ladies British Masters at Buckinghamshire Golf Club, the home of the Ladies European Tour. Lydia came from two shots behind going into the final round to end on a 54-hole total of seven-under-, ahead of American Beth Allen. Two years on, ahead of the ISPS HANDA Ladies European Masters at the same venue, we caught up with Lydia to get to know her better.
Tell us about your love of football and how you started playing.
I started playing football at the age of eight and played in the local boys’ team until the age of 11. Back then, once you hit the age of 11, you could no longer play in the boys’ team and there wasn’t a local girls’ team. So unfortunately football lost me and I looked for a new sport which happened to be golf.
What football team do you support?
I don’t really support a specific team but I really enjoy watching Swansea play and also Man United.
Which team do you play for and how regularly do you train and play in matches?
Last season I played for Porthcawl Ladies. We train once a week and play once a week. Whenever I’m home I train and play when I can, obviously golf comes first and I also have to be careful not to get injured.
What’s the best advice you have received?
The best advice I have received would be to never eat yellow snow…I’m only kidding. Best advice would have to be to always believe in your own ability and never let anyone else knock your beliefs in your ability.
Have you ever played rugby yourself and if so at what level?
I have never played rugby; my dad was never keen on me playing it for some reason. Even though I used to spend hours in the field outside my house helping my brother train and practice by going to fetch the balls he kicked and catch all the passes off him. I’m not bad though if I don’t say so myself.
What other sports do you most enjoy playing?
I really do love to play football. As a golfer we are always competing on our own and I miss competing in team sports. I used to play netball until the age of 16 for the local women’s team in a league, which was fun. I guess golf has always trumped all the other sports as it’s so challenging and demanding.
|Lydia with her trophy in 2012
John Peters has been your golf coach since you were 11. Where do you train now?
I have been with John Peters for almost 16 years, which is scary! He is a huge part of my support network and knows me very well. John has been head professional at Southerndown Golf Club since May 2012 and I have been attached there ever since. It makes perfect sense, it’s a great golf course and very challenging, so for practice during my off weeks it’s perfect. John can monitor my practice and swing whenever I’m there.
What is your training focus and goals?
My golf training focus is my short game from 100 yards and in. Everything from within that distance which includes pitching and distance control, chipping, bunker play and putting. These areas have always been my main area for improvement and in the professional game it’s the area which gets you the most success. My goals over the next few months is to get in contention over the weekends and to get scoring under par regularly. Having only played two events on the LET schedule this season so far I don’t want to set unrealistic goals. I want to take each round as it comes and focus on each tournament.
Zach Gould is your personal fitness trainer. When did you start working with him and what is your fitness focus?
I started working with Zach in January this year. He is a great guy and is helping me no end with my training. My main focus while physically training is stability, flexibility and power. Zach has brought a whole new aspect to my training. A lot of the exercises are basic daily movements but doing them in the correct way using a lot of the core and being body aware. My training is now all based around my golf and making sure my body is injury free.
As a passionate supporter of cancer charities and an ambassador and supporter of Velindre Cancer Centre, tell us more about your fundraising ventures Birdies4Breast and Pars4Prostate, how and why you started the initiatives.
Working on an idea I had back in 2012 where I would donate £1 for every birdie I got to Velindre Cancer Centre and I would also ask anyone who was a golf fan to do the same for however many birdies I got that week. I had great support from Raa Putters, they would donate but also from family and friends. From this idea myself and Sybil Fowler our Chief Executive spotted a great opportunity to develop a fundraising program for the golf fraternity and created Birdies4Breast: a lifelong quest. We looked at all the great charities and the fabulous events that they all run, and had the inspiration to create something specifically tailored for women golfers, with birdies being an integral part of a game of golf creating Birdies4Breast was an obvious choice. I am now am running golf clinics for the ladies’ sections, at each clinic they get three hours with me on or off course tuition and also the opportunity to ask questions about tour life and how to improve their own golf through fitness or even just knowing about snacking on the golf course to help with their concentration. I’m really enjoying doing the clinics its great fun and nice to know we are also raising money for great causes.
Why did you decide to help Welsh youth by developing the programme ‘Swing4Success’?
It was a great opportunity to work with the Active Young People Department and go into the schools and run the SWING4SUCCESS programme. I decided to do it because firstly it fitted in with my schedule and secondly I love introducing golf to the children. There are so many aspects to golf that can catch anyone’s interest or imagination. Whether it be playing golf, course design, clothing design or even events management. It wasn’t just about the practical part of the programme for me it was also about the theory based aspect where the children could draw and design their own golf course and then write a story about playing it. I can’t express how much the children but also the teachers enjoyed doing this. I feel that for golf to grow things like what I have done need to happen within the schools. All sports need to grab children’s attention in a different way. After doing the classroom work, the practical sessions became so much more fun and the children understood what to do immediately without too much instruction.
What would you most like to do after you finish playing on tour?
If you haven’t already gathered it from my passion in the previous question, I would love to teach. I get so much joy from people’s reaction when they hit a good shot or pull a shot off with your instruction that they never thought was even possible. I would love to have my own golf academy which offers all aspects of the game from golf tuition, a gym, massage treatment rooms and also a great equipment fitting centre with all the latest and greatest equipment and technology to help any level of golfer.
Do you have any advice for aspiring professional golfers?
The main advice I would give to any aspiring professional golfer would be to believe in their ability!
Lydia Fact File:
From: Pencoed, Bridgend, Wales
Date of birth: 14th December 1987 (26)
Turned professional: November 2007
Ladies European Tour wins (last): 1 (2012 ISPS Handa Ladies British Masters)