1. From Athletic Beginnings
Paige Spiranac was born on March 26, 1993, in Wheat Ridge, Colorado. For her, being athletic is just something that runs in the family. Her mother, Annette Spiranac, was a professional ballerina known for her astonishing turns and twirls across the dance floor. Her father, Dan Spiranac, was a college football star who played at the University of Pittsburgh. He later played for the Carolina Panthers and helped them to win a national championship in 1976.
With athletic parents, it makes a lot of sense that they raised two athletic children. Their first daughter, Lexie Spiranac, attended Stanford University by scoring an athletic scholarship and competed in track and field. Their second child, Paige, pursued a career as a professional golfer.
2. She Was Bullied A Lot Growing Up
When Spiranac was growing up, she experienced severe bullying due to her rare scalp condition that made it difficult for her to grow hair on her head. Due to her condition, she was often bullied by her peers. Additionally, Paige suffered from severe asthma, even having to get rushed from school to the hospital during serious episodes.
Due to her rare scalp condition, she wore her hair in a short bowl cut often causing her to be mistaken as a boy. She struggled a lot with the condition and asthma and, to make matters worse, her classmates didn't support her as well. Instead, they used to throw rocks at her during recess and nobody liked sitting with her.
3. A Love For Golfing
Paige Spiranac wasn't always a fan of golf. While growing up, she wanted to become a gymnast and compete in the Olympics. As her parents were athletes, it was in her nature to train dedicatedly for seven hours a day, six days a week.
As Spiranac started to dominate the floor and vault routines, she realized that she had a special gift. She excelled from level six to Elites and got an invitation to the training center for the USA gymnastics team at Karolyi Ranch. Things were heading in the right direction for the young Spiranac, but her parents had a difficult decision to make.
4. Her Parents Made A Big Decision
Her parents made the difficult decision of switching her to homeschool because they wanted to add flexibility in her schedule so she could continue to excel at gymnastics. They decided to take her out of the conventional school system and into homeschool to allow her to focus on her studies and the sport. Moreover, they didn't want their daughter to experience the cruelty and bullying of middle school.
However, they also considered that the idea of getting homeschooled would create more challenges for her down the line. For instance, it would become difficult for her to make friends of her own age or go to parties and meet new people. Although young Spiranac was showing promising signs to become an Olympic athlete, her dream shattered into a million pieces one fateful day.
5. Injuries Shattered Her Dreams
From ages 6 to 12, young Spiranac was so determined to become an Olympic gymnast that she even moved to Colorado Springs with her mother just to train alongside some of the best gymnasts, such as Kerri Strug.
Everything was on track, but it all changed when she had to give up her gymnastics career due to two successive fractures. Spiranac's parents started to fear the worst because there was no sport or friends of her to motivate her. They feared that not achieving her dream might affect her mental health. Fortunately, what happened next was a pleasant surprise.
6. An Unlikely Help
Given that becoming a gymnast was off the table, 12-year-old Paige Spiranac decided it was time to start looking for another sport. In an interview with GOLF, she told, “Being an athlete was so important to my self-identity that even at that age I knew I needed to find another sport quickly.”
Her aunt recommended her going to a tennis boot camp, but she didn't enjoy it very much. Young Spiranac found her sport as a result of a life-changing intervention. Her father, who is a passionate golfer, took her to the driving range. Her mother perfectly describes her daughter's experience, “It was love at first swing.” After coming back home, Spiranac knew the dream she had to chase.
7. A Talented, Natural Player
As Spiranac continued to be homeschooled from fourth grade to the end of high school, she found it a lot easier to focus on her studies and golf. It enabled her to excel in the sport and that is exactly what she did. Her former coach Watkins believes that her hand-eye coordination and ball-striking technique helped her get a lot of attention and praise. She competed in Colorado's junior golf circuit as a young gold prodigy and won five out of seven tournaments.
For her remarkable performance, she was crowned one of the world's top junior golf players. Her success as a junior golf player made her a top-five college recruit. Now she had to make a decision on where to spend the next four years. With so many colleges competing to have her, how would she know where to go?
8. A Calculated Decision
Paige Spiranac attracted some of the top colleges all of whom wanted to give her the best offer. She took some time before deciding to attend the University of Arizona on a full-time scholarship. Given that Spiranac was raised in a small Colorado town and was also homeschooled, it was a wholly different and overwhelming experience for her.
In an interview to GOLF, she didn't shy away from admitting that she found it difficult to fit in at the University of Arizona due to her social ineptitude and not having a lot of friends. She also said that she had never been in an environment with alcohol and all of sudden she was surrounded by "professional partiers." And that's not it. She also became the victim of "mean girl stuff" as players from other teams were spreading "false and nasty rumors" about her. She was a victim of bullying before and now she had to do something about it.
9. Time for a Change
When Spiranac's sophomore year came around, she made the decision to change things for good. She transferred to San Diego University and there she finally felt like she was fitting in with her peers. There, she met her coach Leslie Spalding, who played a pivotal role in making Spiranac a pro.
Although Spiranac's coach said that she "worked the ball" better than any player she had ever been around, the scores weren't really reflective of her skills. The golfer tried her best and invested a lot of hours to improve her performance. However, she used to break down under pressure and even miss easy putts. The question that everybody was asking was if she would be able to pass these mental barriers.
10. Finally, Becoming A First-Time Champion!
Coach Spalding wanted to take Spiranac's mind off from the pressure of performing at tournaments. She would take the aspiring golfer on long walks and tell her stories about her past and ex-boyfriends. She also taught the golfer to pick a random number before hitting a ball and count backward.
The dedication and patience of Spalding helped Spiranac overcome mental barriers. She became captain of the golf team during her senior year and helped the Aztecs win their first-ever conference at the Mountain West tournament. The victory was celebrated all across SDSU's campus, but they didn't know that others off-campus would also notice it.
11. Getting a Glimpse of Social Media Fame
Spiranac and her team posted a trick-shot video on the internet and it instantly went viral. None of them expected it to go viral. She didn't know at that time what was going to come for her.
After the video went viral, one of Spiranac's friends sent a photo of her to the content manager of TFM Girls (an Instagram account related to the website Total Frat Move) without telling her anything about it. Once TFM Girls posted a photo of Spiranace on their page, they earned 100,000 new followers in a matter of just two days. It was clear by then that her life would never be the same.
12. Facing An Unknown Future
As Spiranac became viral on the internet in a matter of weeks, she had no idea what her future would look like. She had to take just a couple of classes before completing her degree and had a determined goal to play professionally, but she had no funds to travel for mini-tours. Her father owned a barbershop and mother worked in retail, so money was a problem. That's when Spiranac decided to look into becoming a golf instructor or caddie.
Meanwhile, her popularity on Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter were multiplying. She started to make the most of the opportunities when different apparel and equipment companies reached out to her. But it was the summer of 2015 when Spiranac received a message on Twitter that would change her life.
13. A Life-Changing Message
Spiranac received a message on Twitter from Dubai golf executive, David Spencer. He was desperately trying to raise awareness for the 2015 Dubai Ladies Masters tournament and wanted someone to attract new eyes to the sport. When he saw Spiranac and noticed the surge in her popularity, he immediately contacted her.
He invited Spiranac to compete in the tournament and even offered to pay for her airfare to convince her. It was a perfect opportunity for an aspiring golfer and it seemed like a win-win situation for both of them. But was it?
14. From Praise to Harsh Backlash
As she agreed to make her professional golfing debut in Dubai, it seemed like everything was going in the right direction. However, both Spencer and Spiranac were receiving intense backlash as seasoned professionals in the golfing community raised questions about her ability and even said that the only reason to invite her to the tournament is because of her looks and not talent.
For instance, Laura Davies, considered by many as England's most accomplished female golfer, said that she didn't know the recent college-grad "from a bar of soap." There was a hurtful headline that read: “With more selfies than birdies, golf shouldn’t need Paige Spiranac.” The harsh backlash motivated Spiranac even more. But the million-dollar question on everyone’s mind was: Does Spiranac have what it takes to deliver at the tournament or would she simply break under immense pressure to perform?
15. Unfortunately, It Didn't Go As Planned
Spiranac was super determined to prove to everyone that she is more than just looks. She was thrilled to perform outside of the United States, but the immense pressure of performing got the best of her. She finished 101st in a field of 107.
In an interview with the Daily Mail, she tearfully expressed how disappointed she was at not proving her critics wrong. She said, “A bar of soap could have probably played better.” She was already feeling down and, to make matters worse, she was being publicly shamed!
16. Another Form of Bullying
Spiranac was absolutely crushed on her way coming back to the United States. While she was disappointed and needed support from people, her Instagram inbox started to flood with hurtful and insulting messages. Some went as far as calling her "a horrible golfer" and "ugly."
She gave in an interview with the Guardian and expressed how she and her family faced harassment and even death threats after the tournament. She called it "the hardest experience of [her] life." As expected, severe cyberbullying pushed her into anxiety and depression. She even started to consider quitting golf altogether.
17. Benefitting from The Exposure
On the flip side, as a result of Spiranac's participation in the tournament, the event received a lot of exposure. Even David Spencer admitted that inviting her created “media frenzy" like never before. After all, there were TV crews and press conferences for the first time ever, and that's not all.
The tournament was a hit on social media with over 500 million impressions. Even the Daily Mail highlighted that the Spiranac's participation became the most-read sports story all over the world. Believe it or not, it was the first time ever that golf beat football. TV viewership also increased by four times. Even if Spiranac's performance was quite disappointing, one cannot deny the fact that her participation created a lot of media hype.
18. Fall Down Seven Times, Stand Up Eight
The proverb “fall down seven times, stand up eight" gives a strong message of not losing hope and keep on striving for more. And that's exactly what Spiranac did. She felt directionless after the loss in the Dubai Masters tournament and also due to the backlash she faced afterward. But she did what she did best, pick up her clubs, and keep swinging.
She worked hard on rebuilding her swing and amp up her game. She even turned down all tournaments offers before she felt fully prepared. Still, it wasn't easy for her as she had a few mediocre goings. Finally, she won her first pro tournament at Scottsdale's Orange Tree Country Club in 2016. Spiranac's win helped her become one of the top-25 amateur golfers in the world. When things started to look good for Spiranac, she posted a shocking message to her fans.
19. A Possible Hint Of Retirement
Spiranac posted a video on Instagram in 2017 with a lengthy caption that hinted at retirement from the sport. Fans were questioning her intentions of coming back because she hadn't played since 2016.
She wrote that although her swing in 2016 was the best it had ever been, she was having breakdowns due to the "harassments [and] death threats" and "hated every second" of playing. At the end of the post, she said that she was taking some time off so that she could focus on herself and other passions.
20. Becoming A Social Media Influencer
Although Spiranac didn't announce her retirement, she put a halt to it in 2016 and started working full-time as a social media influencer. By becoming a social media influencer, not only she earns a lot of money through sponsored posts, but she also shows another side of herself which most of her fans haven't seen at all.
From showing her comic book collection to cuddling with her dog, her social media accounts show that she's more than your average professional golfer. She is a nice person as well because she always tries to respond to hundreds of messages a day. Most importantly, she responds to hurtful messages in an attempt to turn her haters into fans.
21. Spreading Awareness for a Cause
Spiranac had to deal with severe bullying as a kid and cyberbullying as an adult. That's why she posts about her experiences on Stop Cyberbullying Day to spread awareness about it.
She announced her partnership with Cybersmile Foundation in 2017 to combat cyberbullying and offer support to its victims. She has devoted herself to help those who are experiencing bullying or cyberbullying in their lives.
22. Starting A Podcast
Spiranac started her podcast in February of 2017 called Playing-A-Round with Paige Renee. To start things off, the first few episodes were about golf, her experiences going pro, and a few tips on how to improve and excel. In the following episodes, she shifted her focus to more personal stuff to give a chance to her listeners to know her better.
Her podcast is interesting as she discusses everything from her worst dates to getting blackmailed to even her inappropriate thoughts about golf legends like Tiger Woods, Dustin Johnson, and Jordan Spieth. Her content is funny and relatable. One of her male reviewers said that her podcast shows "golf through women's eyes" and even "makes you understand what us gentlemen in the sport are doing incorrectly." He was indicating toward her March 2nd episode in which she made headlines. Keep on reading to find out about it.
23. A Shocking Revelation
Spiranac shocked the listeners on March 2, 2020, with an episode in which she openly discussed the hypocrisy of golf. She admitted that she never felt like she'd fit into the sport. She said, "It's this big boys club where if someone does something they'll cover that up… but I wear a tank top… I'm the one that's ruining the game."
On one occasion, she recalled the time when she was denied the chance to help a charity just because of her image. In fact, she was willing to offer free golf clubs but they didn't accept it because of the board members not agreeing with her public appearance. She also recalled the time when a guy invited her on dates for a very unusual reason.
24. An Excuse For A Golf Lesson
Spiranac has over 2.5 million followers on Instagram and it is obvious that she gets a lot of private messages. Some of those messages involve people asking her out on dates or even just flat out asking to marry her.
According to her, many of her dates ended up costing her a lot more than just time. She revealed how so many guys took her on dates to driving ranges with only one purpose in mind: to get golf lessons and equipment. She particularly mentioned one guy who texted her 24/7 and was cute and flirty. He also took her to the range for six months before showing his true colors. He already had a girlfriend!
25. Finding Actual Love
It was 2016 when Spiranac received a direct message on Instagram. It was from Steven Tinoco, a fitness instructor, and minor-league baseball player. He previously ran into her in the Top Golf lobby and requested a photo with her. She obliged and they took a selfie. The next day, he sent her the picture and humbly asked her to go on a date with him.
She liked his manners and agreed to the date together. They started seeing each other pretty regularly, and before they knew it, they fell in love. In the last month of 2016, Tinoco proposed her in Dubai. Although they haven't married yet, Spiranac indicated that fans could expect wedding bells soon.
26. Admirer of Tiger Woods
Paige Spiranac believes that once Tiger Woods retires from golf, there would be very few golfers around who could attract people television screens. “Golf has been great since Tiger Woods won the Tour Championship, and he won The Masters, and his coming back into the spotlight,” said Spiranac.
“More people are now coming to tournaments, and it’s picking up again, but what’s going to happen when he is done playing? Who are people going to want to watch on TV?”
27. Surging Popularity
When asked about her position on golf, the professional golf player turned social media influencer said, “A rising golf talent, media personality, and online influencer who’s on a mission to show the world how much fun golf can be.”
One thing about her can be said with certainty that she has made golf seem more exciting to a whole new crowd of people. Her undeniable popularity has helped golf become more popular among people who never thought about watching or playing it.
28. Not a Gimmick At All
Spiranac posts on her Instagram page and blog are about health tips, physical fitness, golf strategy, and swing tips. When some people criticized her for being super active on social media, she had a perfect response for them: “When it comes to the golf world, I know that there are people that might see me as a publicity gimmick.”
“I don’t think I am, and I know that If I was a guy and I had the same social following, people wouldn’t call it a gimmick. They’d say it was great,” she said.
29. Receiving Unfair Backlash
From time to time, Spiranac has to defend her position. She explained, “People like to think I got where I am because of how I look or the clothes that I wear. That’s unfair to all of my accomplishments and me. I don’t know any other professional golfer that does as much community service as me."
“For people to comment: ‘You only show some cleavage, that’s why you have what you have,’ is uncalled for. That’s the treatment that we as women have to face every day, and I see it a lot in golf.”
30. Appearance in Swim Illustrated Swimsuit Edition
In 2018, Spiranac appeared in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition; an honor for any model or athlete. Despite her popularity, she still faces a lot of criticism.
“I always felt like I never belonged and it is tough because I am a good player, I know what to do, but I still don’t like going to new clubs because I am worried someone will comment and say my skirt is too short or I don’t have a collar,” she added. “Why should that matter?”
31. Not Much Support From The Golf Community
One of the things that are quite unfortunate is that Spiranac didn't get much support from her fellow and former pro golfers as she might have hoped. Many of them believed that she was given a lot of opportunities just because of her looks. She was and still is aware of the dismissive attitude towards her.
“Life is great for them on tour, and that’s awesome, but we need to think about everyday golfers,” she said.
32. She Doesn't Follow Convention
When Spiranac received a lot of backlash on social media, she responded that it is “Because I look different than the average golfer, maybe? I dress differently than most golfers, and I don’t follow convention when it comes to what golf is supposed to be. I think it is a fantastic sport, but I believe there is a specific point of view that needs to change.”
“I think it needs to become more inclusive, more forward-thinking. For me to speak out about that, it does bring on more hate, but it also starts a conversation, and I can create change.”
33. She is The Kournikova of Golf
Many of her fans consider her the “Kournikova of golf." Apart from that, there is a dark side of being too open and bold that she revealed in her podcast. Her ex-boyfriend did a disgusting thing of sharing her intimate photos with his friends.
That's when she started receiving messages about her nude photos and it pushed her into depression. In the podcast, she made a statement, “People always warn you not to take this type of photos. The idea might sound fun and spontaneous, but is it worth the risk?”
34. Her YouTube Channel
In Spiranac's YouTube channel, she posts videos weekly and her content revolves around anything from discussing golf tips to popular culture.
If you are a beginner, we'd recommend you to watch her videos as she gives in-depth golf tips and professional lessons on how to fine-tune your individual game.
35. Unwilling To Apologize
Spiranac is much more different than other golfers when it comes to presenting herself and the best thing is that she doesn't apologize for that. She doesn't shy away from her looks, or the more feminine side of her personality, and proudly shares it with the world on her social media accounts.
Her posts contain golf-swing videos, seductive selfies, trick shots, and even fitness photos. As her looks became the focus, people started to ignore her talent. Others, however, are impressed that Spiranac has managed to stand out in a world where everything many things arguably fall to image and perception.
36. Opinion of Other LPGA Players
Juli Inkster, who has 31 professional wins and victorious captain of the U.S. Solheim Cup team, said this in response to Paige's cover to the Golf Channel, “This is where our society is right now. I don’t agree with it, but it’s their magazine, and they have the liberty to do what they want."
By the way, some LPGA players complained about it and it led to many of Spiranac's fans calling them "jealous."
37. Golf Digest Cover
Golf Digest was founded in 1950 and since then, it has had 23 issues with women on the cover with nine of those shared with male pros. However, three of those covers had non-professionals on them, including social media starlet Paulina Gretzky and model Kate Upton.
Interestingly, there are covers of only eleven female professional golfers. It is imperative that the female golf world needs golfers like Spiranac, who are willing to promote themselves.
38. Making A Good Income
Thanks to the dramatic rise to fame, Spiranac is making a handsome income from social media endorsements. You can find glamorous photos on her social media accounts, but life wasn't as easy as it is for her. She has had her fair share of lifelong struggles.
One of the issues that she faced from a young age was neglecting her own interests for the sake of getting approval from others. “I always seek people’s approval, and I’m always never good enough,” Paige said. We are happy that she is way more confident and comfortable than before and enjoying her life.
39. Supporter of Female Empowerment
Spiranac is quite an outspoken supporter of female empowerment and is using her status as a social media influencer to promote awareness.
You can find her encouraging women to fight for what they believe in and to just be themselves. She also tries to empower women by hosting workshops and events which support women from different walks of life.
40. What is She Doing Right Now?
Paige Spiranac is posting videos on her YouTube channel on topics that range from how to strengthen your mental game while playing golf and staying inside during these challenging COVID-19 times.
In her recent Instagram photo, she wrote a caption: "Missing golf in Hawaii right about now! What’s the number one golf course on your bucket list?" Well, we wish her best of luck for her future endeavors and we hope you got to know the other side of Paige Spiranac.