At age six, Paige Spiranac was a competitive gymnast, practicing upwards of seven hours a day, six days a week. But at age 12, after several serious injuries, she abandoned the layouts and back handsprings for greener pastures: the nearest 18-hole golf course.
Though her father turned her on to golf, neither he nor anyone else in her family plays the sport. She fell in love with it and has been dedicated to walking the greens ever since. Now she’s fresh out of college and competing for a spot on the LPGA Tour — as well as a budding Instagram star thanks to her trick shot prowess and, uh, other stuff.
We spoke with her about what makes a good golf course, comparisons to Anna Kournikova and the best golf movie of all time.
InsideHook: Are there any golfers you look up to?
Paige Spiranac: Stacy Lewis, Paula Creamer, Michelle Wei. I look up to them, follow how they’re practicing and try to emulate them. They’re such hard workers and it’s amazing what they’re doing, how great they’re playing.
IH: What’s your favorite course?
PS: My all time favorite would be Cherry Hills Country Club in Colorado. I played a couple of junior events there and it’s so much fun, and so pretty.
IH: What makes a course “fun”?
PS: I like the classic treeline courses, which is why I love playing in Colorado. Golf can be very frustrating, so it’s nice to be outside on a pretty golf course that can take your mind away from things.
IH: Yahoo and Esquire have compared you to Anna Kournikova, who was often regarded more for her sex appeal than her talent. Does that bother you?
PS: I find it funny when people compare me to Anna Kournikova because she’s a great athlete and she’s sexy. People will criticize me by saying, “Oh you’re just another Anna Kournikova.” I hope I have her career. She was on tour. She was successful. She was a great doubles player. It’s hard to make it out there. It’s really, really hard. These girls are the best in the world. I may make it, I may not make it, but I’m working as hard as I can and I don’t mind [the comparison] at all.
IH: I’ve heard that you get a fair amount of marriage proposals. Which one was the most ridiculous?
PS: Every day I see comments on my Instagram that’ll say, “My future ex-wife.” I don’t want to be someone’s ex-wife. I want a little commitment here, c’mon guys. I think I’m going to start saying yes to them so I can do all of the cake testings and then just be like, “Sorry, I’m not ready for this.”
IH: Favorite golf movie: Happy Gilmore, Tin Cup or Caddyshack?
PS: I think I’ve seen Tin Cup the most so I think I’ll go with that one, but I love them all. I mean, you can’t really choose, right?