We caught up with the young golfer, Lili-Rose Hunt, as she embarks on an international pathway to the top of the game while studying for A-Levels
Lili-Rose Hunt isn’t your average A-Level student. As an amateur golfer who’s been picked for the women’s national squad, she’s also working toward her exams next year while planning a gap year like no other. She won’t be finding herself on a beach in Costa Rica – not that there’s anything wrong with that – she’ll be pushing her game playing as much as she can working towards becoming professional because make no mistake about it, for Lili-Rose this is her future.
If after the gap year Lili wants to step back into academia, she’ll look to the US where the two aren’t mutually exclusive. She says: “There are more opportunities to play in the US. They’re constantly playing golf.” Lili-Rose is currently in upper sixth at Bromsgrove School where her teachers have been ‘very accommodating’ allowing her time off for competitions and being understanding about fitting work around her schedule. It makes what could have been an overwhelming situation manageable.
NATIONAL CALL UP
Lili-Rose picked up a golf club for the first time at the age of six at school. She took to it straight away and encouraged by her golf-loving dad started playing. By the age of nine Lilli-Rose was competing. The competitions were initially small before she advanced to larger more prestigious tournaments within just a few years. While still in Prep School, Lili-Rose was crowned the IAPS U13 National Golf Champion and now, aged 16, competes regularly at a high level. Her achievements are too many to list but knowing that she’s now part of the women’s national squad will tell you all you need to know.
Being picked for the squad takes Lili-Rose’s game up a notch and has given her access to a team of support staff. She attends a training camp once a month at Woodall Spa Golf Club where she has access to a fitness and strength trainer as well as a nutritionist and psychologist. The team element of the sport is enjoyable. Lili-Rose says there’s a really good team spirit: “It’s great to finish your round and then cheer on the other girls.”
She loves the solo game with the team element adding an extra dimension. What is it about golf that she loves? She accepts it’s a bit of an odd concept saying: “I find it mesmerising. I know it’s just hitting a tiny white ball but it’s addictive always striving to do better.”
MEET YOUR HEROES
Lili-Rose’s hero is one of the best golfers in history, Sweden’s Annika Sörenstam. Annika won 90 international tournaments making her the most successful female golfer of all time. She won every award and broke every record possible in women’s golf. Since retiring in 2008, Annika has been committed to giving back through her foundation which supports young golfers.
Lili-Rose was invited to the Annika Invitational Competition in Sweden earlier in the year where she was lucky enough to meet her hero. She said: “I had a session with Annika and I really enjoyed it. I like her work ethic plus she was so inspirational while on tour not least the lowest round of 59!” Lili Rose’s referring to Annika posting an incredible score of 59 at the Moon Valley Country Club in 2001 – still the only woman to have done so and in the company of only a handful of male golfers having ever achieved a sub-60 score. Not a bad role model for a budding champion like Lili-Rose.