In the past couple of years, New Zealand-born Tania Tare has made a name for herself in golf with her amazing talent for trick shots, amassing nearly 100,000 Instagram followers and signing sponsorship deals all while working on finding a spot for herself on the LPGA Tour.
We recently got the chance to sit down with Tania to talk about her inspiration, the unanticipated reactions to her trick shots, and she even gives us a few pointers about how to get started with trick shots ourselves, but before we get started, check out some of her trick shots and prepare for your mind to be blown.
It might surprise you that Tania wasn’t always interested in golf.
Originally, she was a juggler, but at twelve years old, after watching a Nike commercial featuring Tiger Woods bouncing a golf ball and hitting it in mid-air, she was hooked. She watched the video over and over to learn how the trick was done with the hopes of being able to replicate it.
“In that time, I was juggling a golf ball. I never had put a ball on the ground to hit it,” Tania explained. “All I wanted to do was juggle, so, obviously, in hindsight, it’s actually really weird how it all worked out . . . Fast forward a few years, I was fourteen, and that was the first time I had ever hit a golf ball at the range.”
From then on, Tania’s focus was on golf, but performing trick shots would make a comeback years later when another viral video caught her attention.
“People were tagging me in this video on social media of this guy who stalled the ball on the back of his neck, and then he turns, and he hits it in the air,” Tania recalled. With a plethora of people encouraging her to try the shot herself, she took up her clubs, and went out to the range.
“After I think about 20 balls, I managed to pull it off,” she said.
A friend, who had gone to the range with her, filmed her success and posted it online. A few weeks later, she posted another video, this time a trick she made up herself where she hit a golf ball into a cup.
“I literally was just posting trick shot videos at the time because my friends liked them,” she admitted. “All of my friends at the time were baseball players, so they would be like, ‘Oh my god, I’m going to go to the golf course just so I can try that trick shot you did.’ So, they just started going to golf because they were excited about this trick . . . I kind of ran with it.”
Soon, Tania was posting trick shots constantly, each time trying to one-up herself with even more complicated maneuvers.
“I actually didn’t know at the time if the trick I was going to try was even possible,” she said of one of her trick shots, which she admits isn’t usually an isolated incident. “Once I start trying to do a trick shot, and actually figure out what I want to do, I can’t stop.”
Sometimes, Tania will pour hours into a single, 20-second trick shot video, working each combo until she gets it right.
“As soon as the golf ball hits the cup, it is just so satisfying to me.”
It didn’t take long after those first videos for people to start paying attention. Suddenly, Tania had people from all over golf media reaching out to her about sharing her content.
“They had never seen a girl do trick shots before,” she explained. “I didn’t think anything of it.”
After her videos were shared online, she became a viral sensation.
“I think I gained, like, three thousand followers in one day just from that.”
Sponsors started looking her way as well. Soon, Tania was filming a spot for Honda with fellow trick shot artists Joshua Kelley (@holein1trickshots) and Ryan Rustand (@coach_rusty) and made a video with golf ball manufacturer OnCore Golf.
Working with other trick shot artists was fun for introverted Tania, but filming her commercials for OnCore on location in Time Square and then again in front of Niagara Falls was a bit out of her comfort zone.
“They were like, ‘Okay, just do a trick.’ And I was like, ‘What?!’ because I already felt really weird walking around crowds of people with a golf club in my hand in the middle of Time Square. I just kept my hat down and didn’t even look up. It ended up being really cool.”
Though it was awkward in the moment, Tania recalled filming that day with so much excitement, and she confessed that she loved working with the OnCore as well as using the product itself.
“The ball is really great, and not only does it do exactly what I need it to do around the greens, but it also is really good for trick shots,” Tania explained. “It bounces off my club really easily. This ball is meant for me.”
Despite all her success with trick shots, Tania wants to be known, first and foremost, as a professional golfer that happens to do trick shots rather than the other way around.
“I don’t have any trick shot goals,” she told us. “But until I get on the Tour, I’ll take the trick shot girl thing.”
She embraces the moniker mainly because she knows how much of an impact she is having on people’s opinions about what golf can be, especially for non-golfers.
When Tania first started playing golf, she wouldn’t really associate herself with the sport. Like many young women, she believed that golf was a sport for older men. The intimidation factor was also there as she felt like she had to be perfect and professional all the time. But, through trick shots, she is quickly spreading the idea that golf doesn’t have to be all the things it is stereotyped to be.
“I started playing golf by copying a trick shot,” she said. “It took something out of the norm of traditional golf to make me interested. And stuff like that is obviously gimmicky, but that’s why I’m okay with being known as ‘the trick shot girl’ because it’s exciting for me to know that somebody could look at one of my videos and feel the same way I felt when I watched Tiger Woods’ video and get inspired to play golf.”
If you’re inspired by Tania’s story and want to learn how to do trick shots as well, Tania has some advice for those of you looking to test the waters a bit.
To begin, Tania suggests learning to bounce the ball on the face of your golf club. Start with little bounces and build up until you can bounce the ball to your eye height and catch it on your club face. If you can keep that up without it falling, then she believes that’s a pretty good indication that you’ll be able to pull off more complicated trick shots. The rest? Watching other trick shot artists to study their technique and lots and lots of practice. The key is to just get started and to be willing to make a lot of mistakes.
“I think a lot of girls think I can just go out there and pull off a trick shot every time, but it doesn’t work like that.”