Georgia Hall, a seven-time event winner who competes on both the LPGA and European Tours, is known for her happy countenance on the course as well as her golfing prowess.
The 2018 British Open winner has spent the past year or so perfecting her game, both physically and mentally, and the result is a renewed take on the sport.
Bringing more balance into her life and being more choosy over where she plays is improving her game, she tells RSNG.com – though she’s kept some familiarity, not least in the form of her caddie…
RSNG Tell us why you always have a smile on your face when you play?
GEORGIA HALL, LET PRO “I think there is probably the odd grimace, haha!
“I think the answer to that is I know how lucky I am to be playing golf, and to have a career and a living such as this.
“Of course there are times when the life I lead gets tough, but there are few things I enjoy more or get more out of than walking around a course playing shots, so it’s very easy for a smile to creep over my face.”
I’ve always enjoyed social media – I am of the generation where we feel totally connected to the world and I think that is a really amazing thing
RSNG You are one of a new breed of golfer who is happy to post personal photos as well as sporting ones on social media. Are you totally comfortable with it?
GEORGIA HALL “I’ve always enjoyed social media – I am of the generation where we feel totally connected to the world and I think that is a really amazing thing. My parents didn’t have the same privilege and I do wonder what that must have felt like.
“When I post updates I would say most of it is around golf, but I also like to show people that there is a life away from the course.
“It’s important for me to express that because, of all the sports out there, golf is one of the most enduring. It takes a long time, it means you are away from home and the comforts that offers, and I feel it’s absolutely OK to break free from that once in a while and celebrate the fact you can dress up in something other than golf gear!”
RSNG It feels like the sport is on a real upward trajectory – would you agree?
GEORGIA HALL “It definitely does. I feel some of that is down to the players really pushing the sport and driving it forward; and also with sponsors and the media buying into the huge evolution the sport has experienced.
“It’s never about money for me, but when you see the European Tour really pushing prize money it shows how big the involvement of sponsors has become, and that can only mean that the sport is doing well."
RSNG Do you ever worry about the pressures of being in the spotlight?
GEORGIA HALL “No. If I do ever feel that, I believe I have the tools to be able to step back.”
RSNG You’ve spoken a lot recently about taking your game to the next level. What do you mean by this?
GEORGIA HALL “For my first few years of playing golf, I was always of the mind that the more I could play, the more I would learn. And I do stick by that to a point.
“But I think a lot more recently I have learned to be a bit more selective in terms of how I go about most aspects of my golf. Playing in every tournament ultimately leads to burnout; practicing too hard leads to injuries; failing to spend time with people who mean a lot to you ultimately can bring about resentment or frustration or loneliness.
“I’m definitely of the opinion now that less is more, and when you give yourself a break you recharge, and that feeling is real.”
RSNG How does that convert into winning tournaments?
GEORGIA HALL “It’s just about being selective. It’s turning away from the tournaments that may have provided me with easier challenges and really focusing on specific events, specific targets, to ensure I am progressing my game and my prospects of making it as far up the world rankings as I can.
“I am also making more informed decisions about the courses I enjoy and making it more of a priority to pick those. That’s not to say that over time I won’t change my opinions on playing certain courses, but I do find that when you go into an environment with a negative mindset you won’t play your best.
“There are certain courses that I just don’t enjoy, for whatever reason. At times you need to give yourself a break and just not put yourself through that sort of experience.”
I view golf like a puzzle that you have to find a solution for – it’s a real thrill for me to do that and to come out with the right result
RSNG You mention important people around you, but you have the benefit of your partner being your caddie. Is that unusual?
GEORGIA HALL “That is actually more common than you may imagine! But yes, being able to travel and see the world with Harry [Tyrell, her boyfriend] has been a really valuable experience.
“It always feels very different to going on holiday because your time in a certain place is compressed, and obviously there is the small matter of having huge chunks of your schedule dominated by golf, and traveling to the course, and media engagements; but it does feel like a special time and a special experience.”
RSNG Is this why you have resisted the urge to have a professional caddie with you?
GEORGIA HALL “Partly. I am also of the mind that I want to drive my own golf and my own destiny. Of course I realize the benefit of having as much expertise around you as possible, but I also feel equipped to steer myself, and probably when I am in the middle of a round I am the best person to judge whether I want to play it safe or go for it.
“I have always been quite nerdy about my yardage book and the way in which I plan out a round and assess the challenges. I view golf like a puzzle that you have to find a solution for, and it’s a real thrill for me to do that and to come out with the right result… the right performance.
“It’s really the longer game that I need most advice on. Once on the green I tend to take the lead myself.”
RSNG Is it something you will look to in future to develop your game?
GEORGIA HALL “I am more than happy with how my game is developing. Playing on the LPGA has taken my game to another level – it is a tougher proposition and the demands are so much greater, but I feel I have made the necessary strides and, right now, I am achieving on a basis and to a level that makes me very happy.”
RSNG Is having someone there who is truly supportive of you as a person, not just a golfer, valuable?
GEORGIA HALL “I think if there is any very small element of something technical that I do not have because I don’t have a professional, experienced, long-term caddie, it is more than made up for in my emotional and mental wellbeing. Having Harry there gives me an incredible feeling of positivity and optimism.
“That’s worth more than a few shots to me over the course of a round or a weekend of golf.”
WHAT NEXT? Find out how Nelly Korda withstands those high pressure moments out on the course in this RSNG.com interview.