Rain, Solheim Cup & peri-peri chicken

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Women’s British Open on the BBC
Venue: Kingsbarns Golf Links Dates: 3-6 August
Coverage: Highlights of all four days on BBC Two and online

Charley Hull is Britain’s number one female golfer. At the age of 21, she is ranked 25th in the world, has won tournaments on both the LPGA and Ladies’ European Tour, has played in two Solheim Cups and at the Olympics. Here she gives us an insight into how preparations are going for her two biggest golf events of the year, and a taster of what life is really like for a professional golfer.

Hoping for rain at my favourite tournament

Charley was the youngest ever winner of a prestigious national golf competition at the age of 14. She beat professional international golfers to win The Leveret, a 36-hole event

Next week is my favourite tournament of the year – the Women’s British Open. But, unlike most of the players and fans, I’m hoping for some good old wind and rain.

Kingsbarns is a beautiful links course. When I played links golf as a kid, it would always rain and I never used to like it. But now I love it and I’d prefer it to rain as I always play well in the wind and rain, and the Americans aren’t used to it.

Growing up in England, I got used to playing links golf in the rain – I know how to handle it. Nowadays I play golf courses in Texas where’s it windy and can be a bit linksy, so it’s not a massive advantage, but it’s handy.

Lately, I think I’ve gone a bit golf mad again. I’m really, really into it and I get really, really excited to just go out and play. At the moment I get excited playing hard shots, especially out of the rough. When I’m playing well, the hard shots become easy and I find that fun.

I’m really happy with the way I’m playing at the moment. I finished just outside the top 20 at the US Women’s Open.

I’ve been working hard on my swing as I’ve been hitting the ball a little bit right. Sometimes I just overthink things, so recently I’ve been making sure I’ve not been doing this and I’m playing better. It was a bit of a mental thing, but I’ve got it out of my head now.

When I was younger I got a bit obsessed with golf. It was always golf, golf, golf 24/7. But nowadays I kind of go with the flow. I try to not think about it too much. I switch on and off throughout the round. Sometimes I’m thinking about what I’m going to wear that night when I go out with my friends. It relaxes me.

I go into every event thinking I can win, and this one is no different. I think the top 20 players in the world all have a chance of winning but I don’t think about them. I just concentrate on my game and at the moment I’m playing well.

Flying the flag for Europe

Charley Hull on ‘wicked’ Europe win

Once we’re finished at Kingsbarns, it’s less than a fortnight until we’re off to Iowa for the Solheim Cup. I love it. I think it’s a wicked event and it’s one of the highlights of your career.

I played in my first one in 2013, when I was just 17 years old, so I’m certainly not a rookie any more. I know what to expect. You just have to knuckle down and not be scared.

I take a relaxed approach as you don’t want to work yourself up leading up to big events like this. It’s obviously matchplay and we don’t play much matchplay on the LPGA Tour, so you can’t really practise this.

It is different to anything else. You always have to be with your team. I’m an individual and I like my own company so sometimes it can be hard. I’m just used to it being me and my caddie Adam. But in past years we’ve had some great team members so it’s been a great atmosphere and that’s made it really easy.

I can’t wait for it to start and, having lost the last one, I’m hoping to repeat the success we had in Colorado in 2013.

Too cool for school

Jason Day wore basketball-style golf shoes as he finished tied 27th at The Open, 13 shots behind winner Jordan Spieth

A couple of weeks ago I, along with all the girls on the LPGA Tour, received an email explaining that as part of the new dress code, plunging neck lines, leggings and revealing skirts are now banned.

I don’t wear any of them, so it doesn’t really affect me. But I think it’s a shame, as many people label golf old-fashioned and we need to move away from that.

Golf needs to be more original and athletic. If you look at most golfers, I don’t think they look that good. If the clothes were cool, more people would play and watch it.

I liked what Jason Day wore on the first day of The Open this year – white high-top trainers and black tracksuit bottoms. Some people didn’t like it, but that sort of outfit will attract younger fans.

Just me, my clubs and my caddie

Australian Adam Woodward has been Charley’s caddie for two years

I spend about about half the year away from home playing golf, mostly in America. It would be really cool to see a lot more events in Europe.

I haven’t played on the Ladies’ European Tour for a couple of years now. It’s kind of sad that so many of the tournaments have died out. I feel sorry for the girls who have no tournaments to play in, but hopefully that will be changing.

Being away from home for so long is kind of hard. But you just have to deal with it. My friends and family understand.

I get on the plane, just me and my clubs, and I meet my caddie Adam at the hotel. We’ll then be together for two to three weeks and then I head home for about a fortnight.

It can be quite lonely but I’m quite an independent person so I’m fine. I speak to my friends a lot on social media and I watch a lot of films. I don’t actually watch a lot of golf.

The thing I miss the most, apart from my friends and family, is my own bed… and also a certain restaurant that specialises in peri-peri chicken!

When I’m home, I go to the gym every morning and then I’ll practise. I prefer playing on a golf course than going to the driving range. Sometimes I play on my own and sometimes I play with my friends. I like to mix it up.

I’m very competitive. I prepare for all games of golf the same, whether it’s the Women’s British Open or nine holes at Kettering with my mates.

Charley Hull was talking to BBC Sport’s Henry Ditchfield

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