The Evolution Of Paige Spiranac

If you like to hit the links and click links, there is a good chance you know about Paige Spiranac. As of this writing, the golfer turned influencer has a following of 3.6 million on Instagram — to put that into perspective, she has over 600k more followers than golf legend Tiger Woods

In 2015, Esquire noted Spiranac had been declared both "the internet's new obsession" as well as "the hottest female athlete on Earth." All these years later, the golfer continues to grow her social media presence and her career. Whether you first stumbled upon her via Instagram or you learned about her through golf, you know she is a determined and dedicated person. "I'm just trying to play golf. And I love golf and I'm chasing a dream. People can say or think what they want but my focus is on golf and it's always going to be on golf," she told the magazine.

From being bullied in school to playing golf professionally and creating a social media empire, Paige Spiranac has been through it all. 

Paige Spiranac's younger years were hard

Paige Spiranac did not have the easiest time growing up. The Colorado native once told Esquire that she would spend most recess periods alone, often playing on the monkey bars. "I had short hair, I was really quiet, and I had asthma. So to another little kid, I was like the weirdest little freakshow ever," she said. At that time, Spiranac also had a scalp condition that caused her hair to fall out. As she said in Maxim, "Kids bullied me for that."

Spiranac eventually started taking gymnastics classes, but that did not help her make friends either. "The girls were vicious. They would spit in my drink," she remembered in Maxim. "I remember I brought in cake for my birthday and they all threw it out in front of me."

The bullying did not end once she was out of grade school. On Stop Cyberbullying Day in 2017, Spiranac posted about her own trauma related to bullying on Instagram. The golfer shared that she's experienced both in-person and online mistreatment. "I had no friends [growing up] and continued to be bullied my entire life," she wrote. "In college the bullying transitioned to cyberbullying when social media became popular. I was being stalked and harassed by a group of people over social and it got to the point where I went to the police." 

Paige Spiranac became a gymnast

The athletic gene runs in Paige Spiranac's family: Her father was a former college football player and her mother a professional ballet dancer. It was no surprise when she and her sister followed their steps. For Spiranac, after spending so much recess time attempting to flip around on the playground jungle gym, gymnastics seemed like the best option.

Spiranac shared with Esquire, "My teachers went to my mom one day and they were concerned because I was trying all these tricks on the monkey bars, and they're like, 'You need to put her in a gym before she breaks her neck.'" And so began Spiranac's six-year career as a young gymnast.

In an interview with Golf Digest, Spiranac got into why her career in gymnastics ultimately came to an end: "I fractured my kneecap twice, and that's when my dad suggested I play golf instead." Who would have thought an injury and her father's suggestion would lead to such fame?

She traded the mat for the clubs

After her gymnastics injury and her dad's advice, Paige Spiranac became a junior golfer. However, that wasn't her first pick: She initially tried tennis but she quickly realized it wasn't for her and moved on to the next sport. As she told Maxim, she immediately felt the magic when her dad took her to play golf for the first time. "I fell in love with it instantly," she remembered. "My parents always said put everything you have into it, or otherwise get a job."

Although she was starting a new sport from zero, her previous experience as a trained gymnast gave her the tools she needed to start a new career. "Gymnastics prepares you really well for something like golf. I was doing it for seven hours a day, and I really learned body awareness and mental toughness. I just transferred those lessons and habits to golf," she told Golf Digest.

When the time came for her to leave junior golf behind and start college, Paige Spiranac knew she couldn't leave the sport of golf behind entirely. So, she took that with her into university.

Paige Spiranac's college career

After high school, Paige Spiranac headed to the University of Arizona and then eventually transferred to San Diego State University. During her college career, she participated in tournaments individually and as part of the team, including Las Vegas Collegiate Showdown, per the SDSU Aztecs' records. During her sophomore and junior years, she placed in the top 25 at multiple tournaments.

In a 2022 chat with Maxim, Spiranac confessed her college career as a golfer was marked by her burnout. "I think I had a better junior golf career than I did a college career," she said. "I didn't live up to the expectations I had or my coaches had. I'm athletically gifted and physically gifted and everyone could see I was talented. But mentally I didn't have enough time to develop, and was always being pushed to the next level."

To this day, the golfer believes that playing golf in college may put your career at risk and would recommend simply skipping it to play pro. As she tweeted in 2022, "Hot take but I think it's better to turn pro than go to college if you're that good. College can ruin your game."

She won the Cactus Tour in 2016

Even if she was burned out during college, Paige Spiranac's talent did not wane and in 2016 she went on to win her first pro golf event, Arizona-based tournament the Cactus Tour. As Golf Digest proudly announced, Spiranac, who'd done some work for the outlet, out-golfed one of the best amateur golfers at that time. 

Spiranac took to her Twitter to share the victory with her followers. "Won my first tournament as a professional today on the @THECACTUSTOUR! Shot 71,74,68. #canactuallybreak80," she wrote. 

After her Cactus Tour win, Spiranac headed across the pond to the Scottish Open, which is part of the Ladies European Tour. According to The Sun, she ended up placing 58th overall. "I've been working really hard on my game so it was great to make the cut," Spiranac told Golf Digest. "I still have a lot of work to go, but this is a good start and a step in the right direction."

She did not make the LPGA

Paige Spiranac grew up admiring Stacy Lewis, a golfer on the LPGA Tour. "She is incredible, so well-liked on tour. She is my role model," she told Esquire. "And if I get out on tour I want to try to emulate what she does because she's amazing and one of the best players in the world." Unfortunately, that would not come to be. As Essentially Sports noted, after winning the Cactus Tour, Spiranac tried out for the LPGA Qualifying Tournament. Sadly, she didn't get the card needed to move forward in the tournament and shortly after that she decided to hang up her cleats and retire from professional golf.

In a 2017 interview with, Spiranac opened up about not making the cut. "All I ever wanted was to be a golfer on the LPGA tour," she said. "That's still my dream, but getting there has turned out to be a lot more complicated than I thought." Of course, she still plays the game, but now she doesn't have all the added pressure that comes with being a pro.

She started a YouTube channel

After retiring from golf, Paige Spiranac realized there was another way to share her talent and her knowledge with the world. In 2017, she began her YouTube channel with a course vlog. "I'm doing my first ever golfing, lesson-y, playing YouTube video. ... I'm gonna give you guys some tips. You can watch me play," she said in her introductory video. Thanks to that short video on the golf course and all of the subsequent content, her channel has grown to what it is today. As of this writing, she has over 300,000 subscribers and the quality of her videos has improved greatly.

What's more, she doesn't limit herself to only talking golf. For example, in an October 2022 video, she opened up with her fans about her experiences with body shaming, online bullying, the pressure to look a certain way, mental health, and remembering to feel good about herself. "I've learned so much about myself throughout this entire process of being comfortable in my own skin," she said. "Therapy has helped me so much, I am such an advocate for therapy."

Paige Spiranac launched a podcast

As Paige Spiranac's social media career became more and more successful, she decided to start her own podcast called "Playing a Round with Paige Renee." She launched the show with iHeartRadio in early 2020. On the podcast, the golf star not only dives into what's going on in her own life and the world of golf in general, but offers up plenty of golf-related tips and tricks. 

Given her long history as a YouTube and social media personality, you might think podcasting would be a breeze for Spiranac right away. However, that wasn't exactly the case. Talking about her podcast in a 2021 chat with Digital Trends, she shared, "It's a lot harder than you'd think it is. I've been so comfortable on YouTube and Instagram and Twitter, but doing a podcast is so different than any of the other content I've done before." She also noted that she would love to have former boy band members Justin Timberlake and Niall Horan on as guests. 

She is one of Maxim's Hot 100

In June 2022, Paige Spiranac became the cover star of Maxim's Hot 100. "If you told me, senior year of college, that my life would take this path, I would have laughed in your face," she told the magazine. "I'm really able to love who I am and what I'm doing through content creation and being an influencer. ... I wish I played golf at a higher level and accomplished more, but I wouldn't trade this for the world." So no, she did not become a LPGA star like she once hoped, but things still worked out.

Spiranac, who was dubbed a sex symbol of the sport early in her career, has caught a lot of flak for the way she dresses and how she presents herself; she famously eschews "traditional" golf wear for sportier, formfitting outfits that are easier to move around in. "I'm not wearing these clothes to, you know, cause controversy or anything," she said in Esquire in 2015. 

In 2017, Spiranac wrote about women's golf style for Fortune after the LPGA updated its dress code to include rules about players not being allowed to wear leggings or tops with low necklines. The golfer maintained that the changes to the guidelines needed to be reconsidered as they were unfair and regressive. "I may not go down in history as the best female golfer to ever play, however my intent is to do whatever I can to grow the game," she wrote.

She created a calendar with her mom

What influencer doesn't have merch for their followers to buy? Paige Spiranac took things a step further by creating a 2023 calendar — and she did a lot of it on her own. Well, with the help of a certain special family member, that is. "I found the location @therustyskilletranch, styled every look, did my own hair and makeup, and the best part is my mother shot every picture. It was just the two of us," she shared on Instagram in 2022.

Paige's mother, Annette Spiranac, has been there for her through the highs and lows of her career. As Annette recounted to, as her daughter struggled with becoming a public figure, she was there to help her navigate the new and sudden pressure. "I'll never forget the day the craziness began. She was getting thousands of new Instagram followers every hour. ... She simply couldn't process the attention," Annette shared. Lucky for Paige, her mom has always been in her corner. As the golf star once wrote in a Mother's Day Facebook post, "I absolutely wouldn't be where I am today, and know I can't get to where I want to go, without you." Aw.