Charley Hull reflects on her year so far
As satisfying as July was, contending at Royal Birkdale and finishing second in Germany the week after means August has been pretty frustrating.
Not least in that I didn’t manage to get an invite to the LPGA Championship, which was the year’s fourth Major. I was pretty hopeful having got to No 26 in the world rankings and having won earlier in the year but it didn’t work out, which was a bit annoying.
I feel like I’ve made some real improvements in the Majors this year, finishing 7th at the Kraft Nabisco and 12th at the Ricoh Women’s British Open and, going into the last round, I had a chance in both.
My ideal would be to play three weeks on the trot and then have a week off so to have four weeks off has been quite strange. Maybe the mid-season break will turn out to be a blessing as my body didn’t feel like I needed a rest but mentally it might be good to get ready for a big second half to the year.
I got back into action in Canada where it was good to make the cut as it was a pretty big week on the LPGA Tour and my irons and short game were great which was encouraging.
My driving wasn’t as strong as it could have been but hopefully this will come with some more regular golf. I like to visualise everything off the tee, rather than being too technical, and after a few weeks off (other than some games with my mates) it is easy to forget the mental visuals and then, after a couple of weeks of tournaments, it comes back and I get my confidence back.
I don’t work with a sports psychologist and just do it myself and it seems to work pretty well. I have got to know Ian Poulter, who also plays at Woburn, and he does the same thing. It helps me to be really positive, play my normal attacking game and to really focus on the target, whether it is off the tee or on the greens.
On the greens I have switched to a left-below-right putting grip which I have been practising for a while and will now use in tournaments. It has always felt pretty comfortable and I’m not too technical and this feels more natural.
Like my driving I seem to putt best when I’m seeing the ball go in before making the stroke. My putting coach Andy Gorman likes the look of it so we’ll give it a go. Like my driving I seem to putt best when I’m seeing the ball go in before making the stroke.
I’ve been doing a lot of fitness recently to help with the stability in my legs and, rather than hitting longer drives or better irons, this has really helped with my balance over putts.
Now I am in Portland in America where my clubs have finally joined me, two days after leaving them behind in Canada, but my suitcase is yet to make the trip.
I’m getting to know more girls now on the LPGA Tour and have been playing some practice rounds with Amelia Lewis. We play for pretty big stakes, £5 (or dollars or whatever the currency of the country that we are in).
This season has been very encouraging so far and I’m really enjoying everything and, hopefully, improving and learning a lot.
I just hope my clothes finally arrive so I look OK on the course!
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