Trees on links courses is the stuff of puristic nightmare but Charley Hull has revealed that she will imagine row upon row of glorious oak when she tries to overcome her dislike of seaside golf here at this week’s Women’s Open.
The 24-year-old has five top-10 major finishes on her resume, but none have come at this event. Hull knows why. “I’m not the biggest fan of links golf, I like playing with it my friends as a bit of fun but I find it hard to score around sometimes and prefer parkland golf courses and American-style,” the world No 26 said.
“I don’t know, on links you can hit good shots and get bad bounces and bad luck and you don’t necessarily have to be the best ball-striker. You just need to go down the fairway and green, keep out of bunkers, and give yourself a putt and then you’re sound.”
Hull has put in the work of late to conquer her discomfort. Last month, she played Royal St George’s, another Open venue, in the Rose Ladies Series and last week was at Hillside. It was on the famed Southport course where she developed her new radical gameplan.
“I will picture the fairways being tree-lined because I like really, really tight courses and I like to feel like tunnel vision, where this is kind of open and flat and it’s hard to pick your lines because it’s hard to pick out the fairways sometimes. So I just have to be really focused.”
What will not help her cause of emulating countrywomen Georgia Hall’s success at Royal Lytham two years ago is if the pace of play is as criminally pedestrian as it was at last week’s Ladies Scottish Open. “I hate slow play, I just get bored and get frustrated,” Hull said.
And what is her unusual tactic in those circumstances. “I just doodle in my yardage book,” she replied. “Like, draw little hearts and colour them in.”