Imagine being so prominent in your sport that, by the age of 20, you are already being compared to its most famous athlete of all time. This is the weight of expectation thrust upon Lily Muni He, whose promising success in golf, early start in the game and visibility in the media have led fans and the press to compare her to Tiger Woods.
A bright new star on the green, He, from Chengdu, has enjoyed wins at the 2018 Prasco Charity Championship and most recently the 2019 Ladies Golf Professional Association (LPGA) Q series tournament; victories that earned her coveted membership of the LPGA, the largest organisation in the world for female professional golfers.
Players like Annika Sorenstam, Julie Inkster and Michelle Wie all pushed the envelope for women’s golf in their eras and He is teed up to do the same for a new generation of female players, drawing likes from her 291,000 Instagram followers as much for her stylish aesthetic as her golfing ability.
All About Skills
However, she isn’t letting the label of “influencer” run her off course and hopes to prove any naysayers wrong about her skill in the sport. “It’s easy for people to dismiss me and think that this success was handed to me, but I picked up a club before I could even walk,” she says. “I was probably a year old when I first touched an iron. I practically grew up on the course.” She attributes her talent to her father, Nong He, who never played professionally but adored the sport and supported her with lessons from the age of five.
After first leaving China for Vancouver when He was nine, her family next planted roots in California, where she graduated from secondary school. Sacrificing much of her childhood playtime to perfect her technique, the golfing prodigy had worked her way up the ranks to the professional level by the time she was a teenager. “It was difficult growing up being a student athlete. I only had so much time in the day and I tried my best to balance everything. I always had to keep my priority in mind and playing professionally was what I wanted,” she says.