Tania Tare is one of the world's most recognisable trick-shot artists and has amassed over 300,000 followers across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Here, the New Zealander discusses her process, her injuries, the state of the women's game and her aspirations to join the LPGA Tour.
Can you tell us about your introduction to the game?
I learnt how to do Tiger's commercial trick shot at 12 but didn’t hit a golf ball until I was 14. The first time I went to the golf range, I was asked by a coach in the bay next to me to take lessons with him. That’s kind of how it all began and with having a coach really early to teach me the fundamentals, I managed to improve quickly and definitely became hooked pretty fast as well.
What other sports did you play growing up?
I was heavily obsessed with tennis growing up and competitively played that from four years old until I wasn’t able to anymore at 12. Other than that, I played majority of sports for fun. Nothing competitive outside of tennis and golf.
What are some of the opportunities you’ve been awarded from your abilities?
I will say there are a lot of answers I could put here fortunately but a few are places I’ve travelled being a big one. I ticked off my two bucket list countries since I was a child to visit last year because of opportunities that have come with what I do. Those two countries were Switzerland and Japan. Another thing was ending up on the James Corden Show and Tosh.O. I also would say a lot of the companies I work closely with now or partner with are big opportunities that I have really enjoyed as well. Currently those companies include Adidas, PING, Audemars Piguet and Troon.
"I’m pretty realistic in where I stand and healing my wrists would not be the only work I'd need to make it on Tour." – Tania Tare
Are you still hoping to end up on the LPGA Tour?
It is a much lesser dream now. I’ve has three wrist surgeries and I'm supposed to have surgery again and I think with now eight years of dealing with wrist issues, and the amount of work I’ve put in to working with or around them, I think that dream has become a lot more distant. I’m pretty realistic in where I stand and healing my wrists would not be the only work I'd need to make it on Tour. It’s a difficult journey without injury and at the end of the day, there are a lot of other goals I have so I’m happy to prioritise accordingly. I will probably never actually admit though, that this dream is 100 percent over.
Who inspires you?
Mostly the people who have supported me in any way to get me to where I am now. I feel like not only do I owe it to myself to achieve the things I'd like to, but also to the people who in any way helped give me the opportunity to even attempt to. That is the kind of thing that motivates me heavily.
Can you tell us where you grew up, where you’re living and where you spend most of your time?
I was born in Auckland, New Zealand. I came to the USA on a golf scholarship for college, I now currently reside in Scottsdale, Arizona. Honestly, I spend most my time travelling for work so I'm not normally here too much but that is currently not the situation of course. It is a little nice to have a break from travelling though.
What are some of your favourite golf courses and places to visit in New Zealand?
Personal favourite is Titirangi. It’s my home club and I have been going there since I began playing the game. I also am a big fan of Alister MacKenzie courses because they are, in my opinion, true players courses. Another course I can’t get enough of is Muriwai Golf Links, as I love the sweeping beach view. Another worth a mention is Windross Farm Golf Course ... It’s surrounded by hillsides and so picturesque. I also got to play at Tara Iti, it was so majestic. It’s almost too hard to pick my favourites as New Zealand has such a swathe of dynamic courses.
Above: Tare returned to New Zealand for the NZ Open earlier this year.
How do you feel about the current state of the women’s game?
From a professional standpoint, I personally hope we see a lot more tournaments linked and associated with the men’s tournaments. It’d be great for golfing fans nationally and internationally to enjoy both Tours at the one event.
What are some of the most valuable lessons your trick shots have taught you?
The things I have learnt doing trick shots and creating content have been a lot different from what many think. As much as there is a lot of self-accomplishment that comes from thinking up something in your head and then watching it come together, the biggest thing I’ve learnt is that if you’re doing it for an audience, you actually have to sometimes tailor away from what you want to do or see, and more so what you think they want. For example, for a video to do well on social, there is often a range the video has to be between. I always say it has to look easy enough that people think they can do it, but hard enough that they can’t. If it's too easy, then it's ineffective. If it’s too complicated, the effect gets lost in the way the audience processes it. And it kind of in effect, is a waste of effort. There are ways around these two things but I won’t give away all my secrets.
How much thought and effort goes into your trick shots?
I’d say for where I’m at now in this part of my career, coming up with new material is the part that becomes harder and harder. But that for me personally is also one of the more entertaining parts as well. I don’t ever have moments where I specifically sit down and think about things to do next. Instead they are more like random 'light bulb' moments and I just note any random thought down in my phone and see what I can do with that thought the next time I go work on creating a video.
"I always say it has to look easy enough that people think they can do it, but hard enough that they can’t." – Tania Tare
What’s the best feedback you’ve ever gotten for one of your shots and who did it come from?
I’ve had pretty cool feedback from a wide range of people. I'd say a personal one for me that is possibly one of my favourites is Mark Cuban wrote on one of my tricks saying he was impressed. Not sure how he found it but he definitely is very high on my list of people I admire. Another one was Alex Rodriguez. So those are personal favourites.
Do you enjoy your digital presence? What are some of the benefits and challenges?
There is definitely a good and bad side. I am beyond grateful for all social media has helped me with and if I did it all again, I’d use it again. I do think though that I have pretty solid grounding and that’s why I am able to utilise social media but not get emotionally attached to the unhealthy side that comes with it. But at the end of the day, the positives of the use of social far outweigh the bad for me. I’m a big believer in encouraging people to use social media if they are able to see it purely as a tool. The minute you see it as more than that, I think that’s where it begins to be unhealthy for someone. And that’s something you have to answer honestly for yourself.
Can you describe some of your best trick shots for us?
A lot of my favourite trick shots are involving red solo cups indoors. Solo cup tricks were the first original videos I did and it's sort of where I made my first initial trick shot branding. There wasn’t really anyone who had done them at that time, so they were associated often with me. If I had to pick my favourites, I’d say my flip cup 2.0 and flip cup 3.0 were two very difficult and original ones I enjoyed pulling off. I'd also on a personal note add the snowboarding trick shot I did with my friend Possum Torr and doing trick shots on the 16th at the Waste Management.
What are you currently working on? Trick shots or otherwise.
One word: ReBuzz.