The Truth About Paige Spiranac

Paige Spiranac is a retired professional golfer whose fame started with her stellar swing, but ascended due to her undeniable sex appeal. Spiranac's social media profile photo's playful placement of golf balls by her bust proves the deliberate combination of cleavage with her athletic-based content. This sporty, sexy melange has undoubtedly helped send Spiranac's Instagram follower numbers north of three million, even exceeding golf legend Tiger Woods.

The nature of Spiranac's success, however, has been questioned by many critics who have felt her fame is founded upon aesthetics over athletics. "With more selfies than birdies, golf shouldn't need Paige Spiranac," an Irish Examiner headline once quipped.

Despite the disapproval, Spiranac actively promotes her mission to make golf more modern, accessible and open-minded. "I think I'm an easy target to hate," Spiranac told The New York Post. "In the beginning I took [the criticism] hard, but it's not important. Some hate is good because it means you are doing something different and it causes a reaction. You can't create change if ­everyone agrees with you." Although her celebrity status is certainly enhanced by the blended promotion of golf alongside her hourglass shape and doll-like features, when it comes to the truth about Spiranac, there is much more than meets the eye.

Golf was not Paige Spiranac's first sport

Before Paige Spiranac was known for hitting the links, her childhood was filled with competitive gymnastics. According to Golf, Spiranac was a disciplined athlete who worked out seven hours a day, six-days a week, and dominated on the vault and floor routines. The family even moved to Colorado Springs so Spiranac could train at an Olympic-level facility. By the age of 12, however, her dreams were dashed by a twice-fractured kneecap, which left the avid athlete searching for her next sport. After a lackluster attempt at tennis, her father suggested golf. "It was love at first swing," Spiranac's mother Annette told Golf, adding, "From that day forward, Paige was totally committed to playing golf professionally."

Within five months of diligent practice on the course, Spiranac was able to beat her father, per ESPN. Soon after, she gained traction on the junior golf circuit, and qualified four times for Junior Professional Golf Association (PGA) Championships.

Her fast-track to success in golf may surprise some, but observers of Spiranac's game are acutely aware of her specific athleticism and prior training helped her golf game take off so easily. "She still has that gymnast body, with tremendous strength in her legs and core," said Tyler Hall, a mentor, friend and fellow player who also spoke with Golf. "She's very explosive, very flexible, and creates so much speed. I mean, not many women can carry their driver 270 yards. But her swing was pretty wild."

Paige Spiranac played golf throughout high school and college

Throughout Paige Spiranac's adolescence, during which she was home-schooled, she achieved many golf milestones, including an American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) tournament win. According to Golf, this helped her garner scholarship offers, including from Arizona State University, where she played for two years. Never feeling like she fit in though, Spiranac transferred to San Diego State University.

It was there she felt welcomed and supported by peers, as well as coach and former LPGA player Leslie Spalding. "I was blown away by Paige's raw ability," Spalding told Golf. "She worked the ball more than any player I had ever been around. ... She had all the shots. ... Some of the best hands I've ever seen, male or female." As a team captain on the cusp of a professional launch, Spiranac put a tremendous amount of pressure on herself, and by the end of college, she had accumulated some momentous wins, including her all-conference honors at the Mountain West tournament.

Spiranac's college days were also momentous off the golf course. On her "Playing A Round" podcast, Spiranac described how she "got completely destroyed by one punch" when her "psycho" college roommate "decked" her in the eye during a drunken blackout, having mistaken Spiranac for an "ex-boyfriend." It's unclear at which school the incident occurred, but Spirinac later commemorated the occasion by posing the gruesome evidence of the encounter (shown above) on her podcast's Instagram page.

The unlikely catalysts to Paige Spiranac's social media stardom

Paige Spiranac's shift to her "OG Insta golf girl" title, according to her Instagram bio, began in 2016 when her trick shot videos were picked up by TFM (, which published a swooning ode to Spiranac: "The Whole World is About to Fall in Love With Paige Renee, the Smoke Show Golfer from SDSU." This spurred thousands of followers (per ESPN), ushered an endorsement deal with Callaway Golf and a sponsor's invite to play in the Dubai Ladies Masters, an event sparking more media attention.

Unfortunately for Spiranac, Dubai ended in tears. She was ridiculed for her social media starlet approach to the game, and she finished near last. According to Golf, "Spiranac puked from all the anxiety. ... Yet her presence made the tournament a smashing success." The media frenzy further fueled her online following.

Embarrassed by her tournament performance and shamed by her critics, Spiranac nearly gave up. Instead, she decided to focus even more intensely on her game. "I was so tired of people saying, 'Oh, she's never won anything,'" she told Golf in 2017, adding, "That's the go-to put-down, that I'm a wannabe model pretending I'm a golfer. ... I was one of the top 25 amateurs in the world. I had a pretty good college career. ... gotten my first pro win. I'm not where I want to be, but it's not a bad start."

Paige Spiranac's professional golf career was short-lived

Although Paige Spiranac's 2016 season finished strong with the Cactus Tour win, an invite back to the Dubai tournament, and $8,010 in prize money, Spiranac was fed up with fighting her haters, and was still a far cry from the LPGA tour. "As [Paige and her dad] drove home in a silent car, Dan Spiranac knew his daughter's golf career was over. She would never be one of the greats," reported AZ Central.

Realizing she had more potential online than on the course, Spiranac hired a new agent and decided to start pivoting towards a different path. "Together [she and her agent] filled whiteboards and Post-It notes with her plans to turn a one-year golf run into a long-lasting social media career," AZ Central explained. 

Once again, Spiranac returned to play in Dubai, but similar to her first stint, she became crippled with anxiety, struggled to eat and sleep, and cowered to the critics. "I have a love-hate relationship with golf, and sometimes my confidence can be really fragile," she told Golf. By the time the 2017 season started, Spiranac fully shifted her focus to social media. "I know at the end of the day golf is what I'm passionate about and something I love," she told Colorado Avid Golfer. "But there's more to life, and I always try to keep that in perspective."

That social media pivot worked out well for Paige Spiranac

Along with becoming an Instagram sensation who now boasts three million followers on her page, Paige Spiranac has her own YouTube channel, on which she discusses golf, fitness, and various aspects of her life. "I want people to see that golf is fun and it's cool," she said in an interview, according to AZ Central. "You don't have to be a professional golfer to enjoy it." In February 2020, Spiranac also started her podcast, "Playing A Round." The site teases the content with, "Paige doesn't take herself too seriously. She's sexy and playful and ready to give you a little T & A (Tips and Advice) so listen up!"

With "the highest engagement rate in golf," as Spiranac boasted in a New York Post piece, she stays active on all fronts and enjoys the opportunity to promote her partners, and engage with her fans. "These people are not just random strangers," she told Golf of her followers, adding, "A lot of them have been on this journey with me from the very beginning, and we've gone through a lot of highs and lows together.

Paige Spiranac's sexualized image creates a consistent stream of scrutiny and controversy

Paige Spiranac's athletic prowess and internet influencer power are often overshadowed by her Barbie doll appearance. The way she quickly rose to fame rubs some people the wrong way, and they don't hold back when it comes to talking about it. "Essentially, her looks became the focus, rather than her golf game and talent," wrote an ESPN commentator on Spiranac's viral trick videos and her social media surge after the article. "None of that feels new or innovative in a world where image and perception are everything."

While the concept of feminism is about self-expression, in any way one chooses to do so, but, as ESPN added, others who are more progressive want women in the world of golf to be taken "more seriously." This can be difficult to do when Spiranac's "most popular" question she receives, according to her "Talking Boobs & Bras for Golf // My Most Frequently Asked Questions" vlog entry, pertains to the authenticity of her 34DD breasts, which are real. "My cleavage is always out," she said, adding, "I don't get offended by it when people ask me these questions, because I am aware that I am, like, showing it off in a way."

Though she does not negatively engage with her critics, Spiranac told Golf that she does like to correspond with them, correct professional inaccuracies, or explain her personal feelings and perspective.

Cruel bullying shaped Paige Spiranac's childhood

Sadly, the criticism Paige Spiranac faces as an adult is nothing new, as she faced bullying all throughout her childhood due to bad asthma, a hair disorder that caused balding, and severe social anxiety, as she explained in Sports Illustrated. "I was this weird kid with a bunch of problems, and they all shunned me," Spiranac told Golf. "I would sit down at a table and every other kid would stand up and move. At recess one of their favorite games was to throw rocks at me. It was like in a movie except that was my life."

The trauma of being outcast left a lot of scars, but Spiranac has done her best to use her negative experiences to promote a good cause. Her work with the Cybersmile Foundation is a testament to her passion for this work, and for helping children going through this type of pain.

"People of all walks of life are cyberbullied every single day and that's not okay," she explained in Sports Illustrated. "It's time we start supporting the victims instead of telling them to delete social media or ignore the hate. It's time we made a difference, so I've dedicated a significant portion of my time to helping others."

Sorry folks, Paige Spiranac is married

Much to the disappointment of her many admirers, Paige Spiranac has been off the market since 2018, when she tied the knot with Steve Tinoco, a former professional baseball player studying to become a personal trainer.

The two met while at Top Golf, where Tinoco was with a bachelor party and Spiranac with her family. Tinoco recognized her, asked for a photo, direct-messaged it to her later, and asked her out. "He took me on a real date, and it was such a refreshing change from Netflix and chill," she told Golf, adding, "He's just a really nice, respectful guy with a good heart. After so many bad relationships I finally met a good one."

Many might question how Tinoco handles having a wife who is such a sex symbol, but Spiranac said Tinoco is very supportive and encouraging, even suggesting she "show a little more cleavage" here and there, she told The New York Post. "I met him at the start of my career, so we have done this entire thing together" she told the outlet, adding, "He is so understanding and knows this is a business for me." 

Paige Spiranac wasn't always lucky in love

Before Steve Tinoco came into the picture, Paige Spiranac dealt with her fair share of failed relationships. Prior to her husband, she dated multiple athletes who played basketball, football, hockey and golf, Spiranac explained on her "Playing A Round" podcast. Being home-schooled as a child made her a bit of "a late-bloomer," she said, so she was a bit socially awkward when it came to making friends and dating.

Spiranac described her biggest college crush, who apparently only contacted her when he needed a late-night lift home. "He had no interest in me whatsoever," Spiranac said. "It was so bad to the point where he would text me at 3 a.m. just so I could give him a ride home, and so I was like his Uber driver, and I would do it." 

Along with free rides, Spiranac's potential suitors also used her for free golf gear and lessons. She figured she could open the conversation on the topic of golf, but the guys would always parlay their meetings into getting free gear and lessons. She relented due to the pressure. "I was desperate, and I wanted guys to like me."

A private photo scandal traumatized Paige Spiranac

Scoring a free round of golf pales in comparison to the violation committed by another one of Paige Spiranac's former flames, who showed a group of his friends a privately-shared, partially nude photo she once sent him. The photo spread like wildfire through the group, and eventually made its way online.

"It was horrible. ... I just felt so violated," Spiranac lamented on the appropriately titled "Ex-Posed" episode of her "Playing A Round" podcast. "It was horrible. Just getting these random messages from random people you don't know and they've seen you in such a vulnerable way. It was disgusting."

The worst part, she went on to explain, was having to tell her parents. Not only was she humiliated, but she was filled with constant shame, anxiety, and fear about whether the photo would ever go away, whether others would surface, and what people would think of her. The trauma that ensued from this incident pushed Spiranac nearly to her breaking point.

Paige Spiranac's Sports Illustrated Swimsuit shoot held special meaning

When Paige Spiranac was given the opportunity to pose for the 2018 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, she saw it as an opportunity to re-shape the negative social media narrative surrounding her body and the way she chooses to publicly portray herself. Citing the severe online "bullying" she endured, which got so bad that she considered suicide, Spiranac said in a video accompanying the shoot, "I finally took back what is mine. I took back my body, I took back my sexuality, and to kind of just be like, 'You guys want to see sexy? I'm going to show you sexy and I'm going to do it my way.'"

Still, critics came for Spiranac after the SI shoot, including former ESPN personality turned Fox News contributor, Britt McHenry, who tweeted, in part, "Posing nude is a way to ascertain empowerment through vanity. I don't think, and this goes for both genders, it's the best way to receive reciprocal respect or empowerment. Just my opinion though." Spiranac replied, "Different women feel empowered in different ways and it's not right to tell someone what they can and cannot do. It's more about the person you are and not the clothes you decide or not decide to wear. My body, my choice."

Regardless of how some felt about the photo shoot, it's notable that Spiranac continues to blaze her own path in the face of not only constant public criticism, but also some pretty traumatic personal situations. 

Paige Spiranac is outspoken about reforming golf

Regardless of what she is wearing, Paige Spiranac's outfits are an important part of her persona. Known for her skin tight polos and barely there golf skirts, Spiranac disagreed with the LPGA's 2017 dress code policy changes, which sought to limit attire, including "leggings (unless worn under shorts or a skort), joggers, or anything with a plunging neckline," the latter which are some of Spiranac's favorites. She even wrote an editorial for Fortune to address her concerns.

"I respect and understand that golf is enveloped in tradition and that certain rules and regulations must be upheld," Spiranac wrote. "But as both an ambassador for golf and an advocate for the continued progress of women's rights and equality in society, I fear that these new rules are stifling the growth of the women's game."

Spiranac also cited former rules dating back to "the early 1900s," in which female players were told to "refrain from hitting the ball" certain distances due to concerns about the grace of their posture while playing the sport. She drew parallels between these regulations and the dress code limitations, feeling they are just another way to hold back women from being themselves while playing the sport. "The LPGA is perpetrating the outdated stereotypes about the connection between what a woman wears and her morals," Spiranac continued, "as well as insinuating that women do not have control over the perception of their bodies, but rather that they must bend to the every whim of the male gaze."

Wait, Paige Spiranac is an introvert?

Don't let the three million followers, YouTube channel, and podcast airings fool you — Paige Spiranac is an introvert. While it's hard to believe a woman so well acquainted with the camera considers herself to be shy, her family told Colorado AvidGolfer, she absolutely is. So, why would someone who hates attention put herself in the spotlight?

"All she wanted was a chance to play, to make people realize golf didn't have to be played only by old white men in khaki pants," AZ Central stated, adding, "She wanted young girls to see her and fall in love with golf, as she once had, and to see more money and attention for the women's game." Despite all her difficulties in this mission, Spiranac still plays golf nearly every day, shooting content and developing talking points for her various mediums. She may be shy, but her determination to remain relevant shows she is in golf media business for the long game — or as AZ Central put it: "Her greatest advantage on the course was her ability to recover from even the worst of spots, to stabilize herself and salvage her round." 

The sand traps of life have yet to stop this wallflower, who is determined to continue regarding her haters with the same grit, craftiness, and ambition she uses on the green.