HAD it not been for a liking for chocolate, Georgia Hall could still be trying to reduce her handicap during monthly medals at Ferndown Golf Club.
A sweet tooth, however, gave her a taste for the sport when she was just seven, the Dorset star now preparing to make her debut in the professional ranks just four months after her 18th birthday.
Having swept all before her by winning the 2013 Ladies’ British Amateur Championship, Hall decided to take the plunge following impressive showings in the British Open and European Masters earlier this month.
Named after the American state in which Nick Faldo won the Masters in 1996, Hall will be bidding to earn her first pay cheque when she lines up in the Ingarö Ladies Open in Sweden, a three-day tournament which starts on August 7.
Teeing-off in Stockholm will cap a remarkable rise for Hall who got the golfing bug when her father Wayne first took her to the driving range at Canford Magna some 11 years ago.
“I enjoyed it so much, I asked to go back,” said Hall. “I have always been very competitive and, if you won a competition at Canford, you got a chocolate bar. I won five Snickers one day and ate them all on the way home!”
Hall, who achieved the pinnacle of amateur team golf when she represented GB & Ireland in the Curtis Cup last month, relinquished her status with her handicap at plus-three. It plummeted 26 shots from 36 to 10 between the ages of nine and 10.
She said: “I wasn’t thinking about turning pro when I was seven, I just used to enjoy playing. But a couple of years later, I would sit in bed and think it was something I wanted to do when I was older. Turning pro was my first aim and now I want to start winning majors – quite a few if possible!”
As a member of the Ladies’ European Tour Access Series, Hall would need to finish in the top five on the 2014 Order of Merit to earn an exemption to play on the tour next season. If she were to finish between sixth and 20th, she would be able to go to the final stage of qualifying school and skip the pre-qualifying event.
Hall, who is attached to Parkstone Golf Club, will rely on sponsors’ invites to play in tournaments and may try to earn her playing privileges for next season by winning one of 30 cards at tour school in Morocco in December should she fail to finish in the top five this season.
“I played in the Gary Player Invitational at Wentworth last week but this will be my first proper tournament and I can’t wait!” said Hall. “I would like to win it! It should be a good week.
“I really loved playing in the professional events as an amateur and it was a great experience. I enjoyed the British Open and qualified this year by winning the British order of merit.
“At the moment, I am just going to try to play my best in Sweden but I would love to get more invites to play on the tour in future.”
Hall, who shared the silver medal with world number one Lydia Ko at the British Open at St Andrews last year, has competed in three majors, the first – the Kraft Nabisco Championship at Mission Hills in California – just days after her 17th birthday.
“I love going shopping when I’ve got the money!” laughed Hall. “My favourite place is Westfields in London but I have only been there once. I would love to go again but I can’t drive because I haven’t had time for lessons. I am going to learn over the winter.”