Through a combination of technology and fitness, today's golfers are doing things never seen before. But today's golf trick shot artists are also performing on another level. Fueled by creativity and remarkable hand-eye coordination and motivated by one-upmanship and the ability to go viral, 2017 was an incredible year for bite-sized moments of brilliance that wowed people everywhere. Let's take a look back at some (emphasis on "some") of the trick shots we found most impressive.
We start with Josh Kelley, aka @holein1trickshots. If Justin Thomas was the PGA Tour Player of the Year, then Kelley is the Trick Shot Artist of the Year. He's so good and so prolific that we could just make this entire list from his Instagram feed. But we particularly enjoyed this backwards shot:
And this club toss hole out:
And whatever the heck this is:
Kelley also proved you can keep your short game sharp even if you're on baby duty. In terms of degree of difficulty, this was probably one of his easier stunts, but a good trick shot is also about entertainment value:
Kelley also teamed up with his pal Ryan Rustand, aka @coach_rusty, to show off his unbelievable balance:
Speaking of Rustand, he had quite a year of trick shots himself. He's pretty good at holing shots with things other than a golf club. Like his hat:
And even a golf cart:
Kelley and Rustand combined with Tania Tare to form a trick shot super team ahead of the Honda Classic. The results were spectacular:
So was seeing Tania doing her thing in person when she came to visit Golf Digest's headquarters:
Yep, she's legit. No camera tricks or special effects necessary. Tania also showed tremendous versatility by pulling off trick shots in bikinis and on skis:
And she continued to prove she's one of the world's best beer pong players:
Although Sophie Godley might give Tania a run for her money:
And how about this unbelievable bank shot she pulled off?
But when it came to unbelievable shots, it's tough to top this bowling alley trick shot. As in, we don't know whether to believe it's real or not. Either way, it's quite the creative concept and presentation:
Almost as amazing is this two-handed shot from Asia:
And we also enjoyed this "two-putt" from our young friend Matty Du Plessis:
But while those last three utilize conventional golf swings/strokes, we saw plenty of golf trick shots in 2017 that stretched the definition of what a golf trick shot is. Take this towel shot/throw:
And this kick shot trick shot:
We also learned that tour pros like proving they can pull off trick shots as well. Check out Patrick Reed faking out the fans at TPC Scottsdale's famed 16th hole:
It's not quite on the level of @holein1trickshots, but Reed gets bonus points for doing it in front of a big crowd. And European Tour pro Sebastian Gros demonstrated he's the new king of the backwards flop shot (Sorry, Phil):
And finally, after being challenged by Bubba Watson, Wesley Bryan -- formerly of trick shot fame as part of the Bryan Bros tandem, but now a PGA Tour winner -- showed he hasn't lost his touch:
As the old saying goes, "You can take a man out of being a trick shot artist, but you can't take the trick shot artist out of a man." Or something like that. In any event, thanks to all the imaginative and talented people of the trick shot community. And we look forward to seeing even more of your work in 2018.