Georgia Hall, the third Brit ever to win the prestigious Women’s British Open golf tournament, hopes to inspire more women to get into the sport.
On a beautiful Sunday in Lancashire, where the warm weather thankfully never crept past 23°C, Georgia Hall became the third Briton to win the Women’s British Open. It’s the first major title for the 22-year-old athlete, who hopes her victory will encourage other women and girls to get into the male-dominated sport of golf.
Speaking after her 5 August win, Hall thanked her family and boyfriend, and dedicated her success to her grandfather. “There’s someone special at home who’s going through a very bad time, so this is for you, Grandad,” she said.
Sky News reports that Hall’s boyfriend Harry Tyrrell usually serves as her caddy at golf tournaments, carrying her bag as well as offering strategic advice and moral support. At the Women’s British Open this weekend, however, she asked her father, Wayne, to be her caddy.
She acknowledged the support of her parents and Tyrrell in her victory speech, saying: “I’d also like to thank my dad for caddying. Thanks for doing everything for me when I was growing up… and to my mum. And to my boyfriend as well for supporting me.”
Hall was born in Bournemouth, and golf has always been in her blood. Even her name is inspired by the sport: she was born two days before Sir Nick Faldo won the US Masters tournament in Augusta, Georgia, in 1996, prompting her golf-mad parents to name her after the Southern state.
She developed her own interest in golf from a young age and won a clutch of prestigious titles in her teens after training at LeAF Studio School, a school for young athletes and performance artists in Bournemouth.
In 2012, aged 16, she won the British Girls’ Championship; a year later, she triumphed at the British Ladies Amateur Golf Championship in Lancashire.
Hall also dazzled at the Australian Youth Olympics in 2013, where she was one of the first golfers to compete for Team GB since the 1900 Olympic Games. She took home a gold medal for the individual event at the Olympics, as well as a winner’s medal for her performance in the team competition, and was a flag bearer at the opening ceremony.
“This is a huge honour,” she said at the time. “I was thrilled to have been selected to carry the flag for Team GB at the opening ceremony of the Australian Youth Olympic Festival.”
Hall turned professional in 2014, aged 18, and scored her first professional victory two years later when she came out on top at the Oates Victorian Open in Australia. However, her success at the Women’s British Open represents her biggest win to date.
“It’s incredible,” Hall said after the tournament. “I had so much support today from all the people backing me and supporting me and cheering my name. I’m just so grateful. I’m so over the moon it’s hard to put into words.”
After winning at the Women’s British Open, Hall also spoke of her desire to inspire other women and girls to get into golf. The sport is one of the most male-dominated in the UK: women currently make up just 15% of members of England Golf, the governing body for all amateur golf in England, while a 2013 study showed that only 14% of the 1.2 million golf club members across the UK and Ireland were female.
The lack of women in golf has been attributed to the fact that it’s still widely perceived as a ‘man’s sport’ – something not helped by reports of men-only golf clubs and old-fashioned “slut-shaming” dress codes. Last year, Muirfield golf club in Scotland announced that it would allow women to join for the first time, but several Scottish golf clubs still only admit men.
After Hall’s victory, however, The Telegraph reports that a crowd of children – most of them girls – had gathered outside the media centre at Royal Lytham & St Annes, chanting, “Georgia, Georgia”.
“It was great seeing so many young girls out there watching,” Hall said. “If I can be a role model for them, great. It is too good to be true. It was my goal when I was nine to win the British Open. I am so happy.”
Throughout 2018, Stylist is raising the profiles of brilliant women past and present – and empowering future generations to follow their lead – with our Visible Women campaign. See more from Visible Women here.
Images: Getty Images