Paige Spiranac (born March 26, 1993) is an American social media personality and professional golfer. She played college golf at both the University of Arizona and San Diego State University, winning All-Mountain West Conference honors during the 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 seasons, and leading the Aztecs to their first Mountain West Conference Championship.
Spiranac went on to play professionally in 2015, on the Cactus Tour and elsewhere, earning her first and only win so far at Scottsdale's Orange Tree Country Club.
After initially creating her social media accounts to post trick-shot videos, Spiranac now has over 2 million followers on Instagram.
Spiranac was born in Wheat Ridge, Colorado to an athletic family of Croatian origin. Her father, Dan, was a member of the 1976 Pittsburgh Panthers national championship college football team; and her mother, Annette, was a professional ballerina. Her older sister Lexie also received a college athletic scholarship, competing on Stanford's track team.
Spiranac grew up in Monument, Colorado, where she practiced gymnastics in hopes of competing in the Olympics. Her talent allowed her to skip from level six to Elites, earning an invitation from Karolyi Ranch. At 12, a twice-broken kneecap derailed her gymnastics dreams and pushed her towards golf. A victim of bullying among other gymnasts due to a hair condition, she sought sanctuary in golf's isolation. Spiranac split time between Scottsdale, Arizona, and Monument, Colorado, as a home-schooled student so that she would have time to train.
Junior, amateur, and college golf career
In her early golf career, Spiranac won five tournaments in seven tries on Colorado's junior golf circuit, including the 2010 CWGA Junior Stroke Play, en route to becoming a top-20 junior player in the world, a top-5 college recruit, and a two-time West Region Player of the Year and first-team All-American as a member of the Future Collegians World Tour. This earned her a golf scholarship from the University of Arizona.
University of Arizona
Spiranac's freshmen year only saw her compete in three events for the Wildcats during the 2011–2012 season, including the Windy City Intercollegiate, the PAC-12/SEC Challenge, and the Wildcat Invitational. Her best score of the year was a 73, reached twice during the Windy City Intercollegiate.
San Diego State University
Spiranac transferred to San Diego State for her sophomore year, seeking a change of environment. Improved success followed in the 2012–2013 season, with First-Team All-Mountain West honors, a fifth-place finish at the Cal Classic, a sixth at the Mountain West Championship, and nineteenth at the NCAA Central Regional Championships. Her 2013–2014 junior season resulted in Second-Team All-Mountain West Honors, along with one top ten finish at the Mountain West Championship. Her senior season ended with the Aztecs' first Mountain West Conference Championship in school history, which she described as "one of the absolute happiest moments of my life."
CWGA Match Play
In July 2015 the Colorado Golf Association hosted the 100th Colorado Women's Golf Association Match Play Championship at Raccoon Creek Golf Course. In a 35-hole title match against Brittany Fan of the University of Colorado Boulder, Spiranac finished nine holes under par to secure the win.
In 2015, a Total Frat Move article encouraging people to check Spiranac out online, resulted in her Instagram following jumping from under 10,000 to over 100,000 in just two days.
This explosion in social media led her to being invited to play in the Omega Dubai Ladies Classic in 2015. She missed the cut, but the online attention resulted in many sponsors and endorsement deals, making her a professional golfer. Her 2016 golfing season saw her play on the Cactus Tour, finishing the season with $8,010 in winnings and another invitation to Dubai.
Colorado Women's Open
Spiranac competed in the 2016 CoBank Colorado Women's Open, placing ninth at one-under-par and earning $1,750. By accepting prize money, Spirinac became a professional golfer.
Spiranac debuted on the Cactus Tour at the Las Colinas club in Queen Creek, Arizona. A five-under-par final round earned her a tie for 14th place and a prize of only $100 out of the $12,080 purse, a small figure even amongst women's professional golf tournaments. Another strong final round showing at her second event at Lookout Mountain, a day's best three-under-par, resulted in a third place tie at one-under with Hannah Arnold, good for $950.
A sudden-death win at Scottsdale's Orange Tree Country Club over Hannah O’Sullivan, the then top-ranked amateur in the world, earned Spiranac her first tour win, in just her third start.
She next finished ninth at Stallion Mountain, earning an $800 prize. At the Aliante Golf Club, Spiranac finished 17th out of 52 golfers, her twelve-over-par score netting a $575 prize. She finished eight-over-par for a seventh-place finish at Walnut Creek in Mansfield, Texas, earning $600.
After a two-month layoff, Spiranac bounced back to a three-way second-place tie at Legacy in Phoenix, Arizona, with Jane Rah and Caroline Inglis. Her second best finish of the year earned $935. A two-under-par final round produced another top-five finish at Trilogy and $800. The final event of the season was the 2016 Arizona Women's Open in Sun City, Arizona. Spiranac shot an opening round 78 and finished 30th.
Seeking to concentrate on growing her social media presence and influence, Spiranac changed her agent to Jeremy Aisenberg of Octagon after the season. After missing the cut once again at Dubai in 2016, she has not played professional golf since, and has instead concentrated on growing her brand.
Spiranac currently has signed deals with Mizzen + Main, Philip Stein Watches, 18Birdies, and Cybersmile, and she has been featured in magazines such as the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition and Golf Digest. She began writing a monthly column in Golf Magazine, with the December 2018 issue.
Parsons Xtreme Golf
In 2017, Spiranac signed with PXG (Parsons Xtreme Golf), to represent its golf clubs in social media and television ads. Her four areas of focus with PXG are Growing the Game, Inspiring Women, Healthy Living, and Promoting Anti-Bullying.
In 2017, Spiranac became a brand ambassador for 18Birdies to help market its golf app nationwide. The app, designed for increased social interaction and competitions among golfers, has statistic and score tracking capability, and a GPS system with over 30,000 courses in its database.
In 2017, Spiranac became an ambassador for Cybersmile, a non-profit which provides global support and educational programs to help combat cyber-bullying. Spiranac was bullied in her youth over a medical condition that impaired the growth of her hair, giving her personal insight into the challenge when addressing groups of school children.
In social media
Spiranac's self-promotion has brought criticism and raised the question of what she brings to golf. Spiranac's appearance on the cover of Golf Digest sparked controversy. In its nearly seven decades of publication, the magazine only featured a woman on its cover twenty-three times, just eleven of them being professional female golfers. This raised the question of what she had actually accomplished on the golf course to warrant such attention. Sports commentator Sarah Spain of ESPN argued that the only reason Spiranac was chosen was her appearance and type of clothes she wore. Spiranac has received criticism for "sexualizing women's golf". On numerous occasions, Spiranac has mentioned that the criticisms have hurt her.
Spiranac sought to use the exposure to promote her anti-bullying campaign and continue to fight for a woman's right to feel comfortable in her own skin. Spiranac has raised in both the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition and Golf Digest accounts of random internet users harassing her online, and how she uses the experiences as motivation for her fight against online mistreatment.
The LPGA tour introduced a stricter dress code in July 2017, restricting plunging necklines, leggings, and short skirts. This triggered immediate criticism, characterized by the inflammatory Fox Sports headline "LPGA slammed for 'slut-shaming' its own players after new dress code restrictions revealed". Spiranac spoke against it in a Fortune magazine op-ed piece, The Progression of Women's Golf Is Plunging Further than Our Necklines, which appeared just days after the LPGA announcement.
In April 2018 Golfweek aired a video of Spiranac, PGA golfer Tony Finau, and a sports trainer and Paige's fiancé, Steve Tinoco, attempting to break a Guinness World Record for a golf trick-shot. The challenge required Tony to hit golf balls from 100 meters away, and for Steve to catch them bare-handed over the course of one minute. The threesome successfully raised the world record of 11 catches in one minute to 12.
In February 2020, Spiranac started a podcast called Playing-A-Round with Paige Renee. The premiere episode, entitled "Teeing Off", was released on February 7, 2020.