We had the privilege to chat with the one and only Paige Spiranac recently and got to ask her a number of questions on a wide range of topics.
Taking it back to the early days we chatted about her start in golf and when she fell in love with the game. We also talked about what it’s like having millions of followers on Instagram, that ‘oh shit moment’ when things started to pop off on social media and how she handles her DM inbox. From Sports Illustrated Swimsuit shoots, gambling on the golf course, and hitting balls in front of Tiger Woods, we talked about it all.
BroBible: I’m not sure if you saw, but we actually published a story involving you recently with the New York Post basically doing recaps of all of your podcast episodes and using some clickbaity headlines. How has all of that been getting that sort of publicity push from the Post?
Paige Spiranac: “I was going to call you out about that, you’ve done two stories about me now, I was going to joke about you turning into the Post now. They’ve been so good to me, but it’s kind of funny how it’s sort of morphed into where people think we’re paying them, which has never happened. I will say though that some of the clickbait articles, the headlines are a bit interesting. They’re really great and I always appreciate their support. It’s hard to have a golf, sports podcast as a woman and so any kind of help or support is very nice.”
BB: Take me back to the beginning when it comes to the golf side of things? When did you really get serious about your game and where does your journey basically begin playing golf, what’s the story there?
PS: “I started a little later than most kids. Some kids pick up the club when they’re two, three years old as soon as they possibly can. I was actually a competitive gymnast and trying for the Olympics, but actually fractured my knee cap twice and had a couple of other really bad injuries so I kind of dedicated my whole life to that. But I went to my parents and was like ‘I can’t do this anymore, but let’s find something else I can do.’
I first tried tennis and hated that and about a week later I tried golf and fell in love with it right away. From the very beginning, I wanted to play professionally, it was always a goal of mine to be a professional athlete. I didn’t realize that it could really happen until my junior year of high school when I was a pretty highly ranked junior golfer and thought that I really wanted to go pro right out of high school then realized that probably wasn’t the best decision.
So then I played golf and it’s just been a big part of my life for such a really long time. I love it, but I also really hate it, but I love it now again, so it’s been great.”
BB: You are the queen of Instagram, but there had to be an ‘oh shit’ moment early on when things really took off from a social media standpoint. Do you remember that ‘aha moment’ when your Instagram really started to pop off and how is it even today having 2.7 million followers?
PS: “I still to this day, I’ll look at my phone, and I’ll look at my follower count or the comments and I’m like ‘oh shit, this is actually happening.’ I still can’t believe it to this day that people will follow me to watch a golf swing.
I would say that when I first started, all of this happened to me, I never sought it out and from the very beginning it was very overwhelming and I didn’t know how to handle it, but since I was playing golf professionally and I didn’t have any financial backing, I saw this other opportunity in golf media where I could get free golf balls and free golf clubs and I needed that at the time, so it kind of became my second job to pay for my pro golf career. I didn’t take it very seriously until really after I stopped playing professionally about three years ago. It was a side thing I was doing. From the very beginning, I was like ‘I can’t believe this is happening. I don’t know what to do.’
When I was gaining a lot of followers I was literally on the ground, in my bedroom, in the fetal position going like ‘What is my life? Do I want this, do I not want this’? It’s very daunting at first, all of these people are following you and you don’t really know what to do, but I’m so grateful for the platform that I have and it’s turned into something really cool. I love my followers, they’ve turned into friends to me and I’m so lucky I get to do what I love to do.”
BB: I’m going to go out on a limb here and say you receive some pretty suspect direct messages. What’s your strategy when it comes to DM’s? Are you the type of person that checks them all the time and replies back or do you just not even touch those, because I’m sure it’s overwhelming.
PS: “Yes, I do get a lot of very weird DM’s, but I also get a lot of really awesome, positive messages. I check them multiple times a day and try to respond to as many people as I can. I wouldn’t have a job without the support from the people that follow me, so I really try to make an effort to connect with them. Either through comments or private messages, really anything I can do to connect to them.
It can be overwhelming because you respond to a ton of people, but then you have to keep responding to them so sometimes I definitely have to put my phone down and take a little bit of a break, but I really do try to respond to all of them, well, the nice ones. It’s a good laugh, regardless, when they do send some pretty interesting stuff.”
BB: You were a part of Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Edition in 2018. That’s obviously a massive, massive deal. How did that all come about and what were some of the biggest takeaways from that experience?
PS: “I was in Sicily when I found out that I was actually going to shoot with them. I think everyone around me was getting irritated with me because I would ask 20 times a day ‘is this for real, are they messing with me?’ It wasn’t until I was actually in hair and makeup the day of the shoot when I realized oh, this is actually, really happening. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, definitely a dream of mine, but I didn’t think it would ever be possible.
It was such an amazing moment. It’s funny because you look at the pictures and you think ‘oh my gosh, these amazingly beautiful women are just laying down and look so glamorous.’ I’m going to tell you though, I have never been so sore after posing. It is a challenge. Those girls are basically athletes having to get in those weird positions and I had sand everywhere. I’d find it in my hair three weeks later, in my ears, it was a mess. I got completely destroyed by a few waves, and it’s definitely hard work. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity, I still can’t believe it to this day. I’m proud to be a part of that family.
I was there for two days and I did one full day of pictures. You wake up at 4:30 in the morning and you shoot from 6 to 11 and then you go back again at night when the lighting is good then the next day was a full day of video work.”
BB: When it comes to dress code on the golf course it seems like it’s a never-ending debate in a lot of circles. You do your own thing and go the more athleisure route with your outfits. Have you had any strange encounters on the course where people ask you to change or even don’t let you tee it up because of your outfit? Is that stigma your most disliked in golf?
PS: “Yes, 100%, I have always been more relaxed when it comes to dress code. I understand when people are playing professionally that there are fashion standards that you have to uphold and I get that. When people look at me, I think they think I’m showing up to somewhere like Riviera in a tank top, but that’s not true. I’m actually really scared about getting in trouble and I always look up the dress codes when I go to different courses so I never get in trouble. When I’m playing and you see some pictures, it’s when I’m playing at some very relaxed courses where I can wear my tank tops and leggings.
When I was younger though I didn’t really care and would show up to my country club and places with some crazy outfits and got in trouble so many times. I got kicked off the golf course, I’d hear people over the radios saying ‘did you see what Paige is wearing, you’ve gotta tell her to leave.’ It’s kind of been this long thing in my career.”
BB: Let’s talk gambling on the course. I’m sure you have a few stories in that arena where guys underestimate you.
PS: “Gambling is one of my favorite things to do on the golf course because it’s just so much fun. I don’t like to play for a lot of money, but I’ve definitely gotten into some situations where people throw around some crazy amounts of money around and I’m like looking in my bag and I have like a dollar. Luckily though, I win more often, I’ve been lucky so far.
I had to play this one match for one of my partners and a group of three guys won to then come and play me and they were so confident that they were going to beat me, just talking all this shit about me. We get there, It was at my home course and I know it’s tough, but they want to play the tips. I was like ‘ok guys, how about you three play me in a three-person scramble against my best ball and they won only one hole, so that was really fun. I think some people just don’t think I’m good at golf because I had some so-so professional tournaments that didn’t go so well, so they don’t think I can break 90 and so it’s funny that they actually think that they are 15 handicaps and then they want to play me straight up.”
BB: You’ve played a lot of really great golf courses and have been a part of some really unique events within the game. What’s the most nervous you’ve been on the course?
PS: “I was at Tiger Jam, which is Tiger Woods’ charity event out in Vegas. It was a couple of years ago and he was doing a clinic and a couple of hours earlier I was getting a chipping lesson from him, which was terrifying, my hands were shaking. I was giving myself these perfect lies because I didn’t want to chunk it in front of him.
But then he brought me up during the clinic and said ‘ok, we’re going to bring up Paige to hit one drive’ and I was shaking. I walked up there with Tiger in front me, hundreds of people behind me, I hadn’t warmed up and my miss is a hook so I was thinking ‘don’t snap hook it, anything but that’ and I luckily I hit it straight and Tiger was like ‘oh, you don’t suck at golf’ and I was like ‘best compliment I’ve ever received.'”
BB: You recently entered into a partnership with X-Golf, a new indoor golf simulator company. Simulators are continuing to gain more and more popularity, especially in big cities. What is your overall scope when it comes to the simulator world and do you think it’s ‘the future’ of golf?
PS: “I heard a little bit about X-Golf before, but not too much. But where I live its nice golf weather pretty much year-round so I don’t really ever have to go to a simulator. I’ve been on them before and seen all of the technology. So when I walked into X Golf for the first time I completely fell in love with it. It’s a great mix for new golfers that just want to have fun but it’s also really great for serious golfers as well.
The technology is absolutely incredible, you can spend hours there working on your swing and making sure of your path and numbers and get really dialed in. The sand shots and chipping also felt really realistic where I know at some simulators they don’t really feel that similar to real golf, but it translated really well. There are also PGA professionals there for lessons. I thought one thing that was really cool was that they have a league, all the food and drinks, it’s just really cool.
I really do think it’s the future, especially when you live in certain areas where, like New York City, where you don’t have access to a lot of courses. It’s very unintimidating for new golfers to get into the game and that’s one of the best things about it all, you’re not worried about holding the group behind you or your dress code and it’s also good for a serious golfer to get in a practice session.”