How Paige Spiranac Really Got So Famous On Social Media

Paige Spiranac became one of the world's most popular female golfers when she took her act from the fairway to the land of filters and FOMO. On Instagram, she boasts over 3.3 million followers, and more than 276,000 fans have subscribed to her YouTube account. She also proved that there's more to her success than short skirts and low necklines when she launched her own podcast, "Playing a Round."

Spiranac took the typical Instagram model formula — rocking revealing outfits and striking sexy poses — and gave it her own unique spin by adding golf swings and putting greens to the mix. But the Tiger Woods supporter never could achieve her dream of competing in the LPGA Tour, and she discovered the dark side of social media when cruel trolls used the game that she loves against her. "For people to be like 'You suck, you need to quit,' that was really hard for me and I took it very personally," she said in a February 2022 appearance on Golf Digest's "Be Right" podcast.

By that time, Spiranac was used to handling adversity. Growing up, she was a gymnast with Olympic potential, but a knee injury shattered that dream. Her parents set out to find a sport to fill the hole in the heartbroken tween's heart, and her dad hit a hole in one when he suggested golf. "It was love at first swing," her mom told It was also Spiranac's first step toward achieving social media superstardom.

Paige Spiranac had a surprising response to her sudden fame

Paige Spiranac played golf competitively in college at the University of Arizona and San Diego State. But while she was attending the latter, it wasn't her success on the links that captured the attention of the website Total Frat Move in 2015. After the outlet published a piece that was heavily focused on her appearance, Spiranac's number of Instagram followers began rapidly increasing, per the New York Post. At first, the sudden influx left her feeling overwhelmed. "Paige was in her room, laying on the floor in a fetal position, crying. She kept saying, 'I don't know why this is happening. I'm so scared,'" Spiranac's mother recalled to "You're talking about a girl who has always been shy and introverted." 

In an interview with Mile High Sports, Spiranac explained why she eventually began to embrace the attention. She wanted to take her golf game to the next level by going pro, but she lacked the funds to pursue this goal. This is when she realized that her social media following was her ticket to making the money she needed. "I started to get inquiries from different golf companies and was slowly getting into that only as a way to pay for my golf career," she said.

Unfortunately, her new role as influencer negatively affected her golf game when she competed in her first professional event in Dubai. "I bombed it because I just had so much pressure on me," she stated.

How Paige Spiranac feels about her imitators

Paige Spiranac eventually won a pro tournament in 2016, but after another lackluster performance in Dubai, she reached a realization. "I wasn't having fun out there anymore ... Then I decided just to take a little bit of break from golf to focus on media," she told Mile High Sports. She found that she was much happier, and she proved to be skilled in the art of creating social media content that grabs the attention of mainstream media outlets. The New York Post even published an entire piece about one of her tweets. "There is nothing better than a hotdog at the turn on the golf course," it read.

Spiranac also scored a pictorial in the 2018 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, so it's not surprising that her success inspired a few Insta-imitators. She told the New York Post that this made her a bit uneasy at first. "The Insta-golf girl morphed into something I wasn't really proud of, where girls who aren't into golf started posing to get followers," she said.

But Spiranac has also been on the receiving end of criticism for using the game that she loves in a manner that some in the golf industry disagree with, and she's learned that models and influencers who don't have a clue how to properly swing a club can still positively impact the sport. "These girls are out there making golf cool. We are getting more women into golf. I'm proud of where it's gone," she stated.