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Paige Spiranac has turned her passion for golf into a successful career as the sport’s top influencer. But that wasn’t her original dream. She wanted to be a professional golfer.
It was a dream Paige lived for a year before she called it quits. That decision came after the pressures of the sport left her broken. During a recent episode of her podcast Playing A Round she talked about her golf career coming to an end.
After quitting gymnastics at the age of 12, Paige fell in love with golf. She said, “From the first golf ball I ever hit, I dedicated everything I had to being a pro golfer.”
Her free time was quickly filled with golf. She had a goal of making it as a professional golfer.
“I was homeschooled. I practiced every single day, morning until night. It was my only goal,” she explained. “I was a highly ranked junior golfer and then at 18 I had to make the decision to go to college or turn pro.”
Paige says her family encouraged her to go the college route so that she could experience being part of a team. So that’s what she did. She put her professional dreams on hold and heading to college.
She attended the University of Arizona and San Diego State. But started to get frustrated with the sport she had dedicated her life to.
Paige Put In The Work, But Wasn’t Seeing The Results
“So many growing pains. I was burnt out of, I wouldn’t say golf, just dedicating my life to something and not really seeing the results. With gymnastics, it was hard because I was fighting injuries, and then with golf – golf is such an interesting sport because you can work out, eat right, practice and still not achieve your goals. That was something for me that I just couldn’t wrap my head around.”
“It also went against everything that my parents ever told me because I come from two athletes. They always said, ‘If you put the work in and you dedicate your life to something, you will be successful.’ But that just wasn’t happening with golf, and I was driving myself crazy because I felt like I should be achieving at a much higher level. … I had everything to be a world-class golfer, but I just couldn’t put it together and I didn’t know why. It was driving me actually insane.”
While at San Diego State, Paige’s frustrations with not seeing results led her to stop caring about golf and start focusing on her social life.
Prior to her final semester SDSU, and with an assistant golf coach job at the school lined up, she started getting noticed on social media and decided to give a pro career another shot.
“I was playing really well and then my whole life flipped upside down,” she said. “I blew up on social media. I didn’t end up going back to be the assistant coach. I didn’t even finish my last semester of college. I never got my degree, which is something that’s so crazy and I’ve never talked about that. I was two credits short of getting my degree.”
Golf’s Top Influencer Would Trade It All To Still Be A Pro
“… I then got the invite to go play in Dubai. I blew up there. I did one year of playing golf professionally, and I was just mentally exhausted,” she said. “In golf, you fail more than you succeed, and I was doing that in the public eye. Everyone was telling me, ‘You should quit. You should give up. You’re not good.’”
The pressures of being a professional golfer finally got the best of her. Paige explains that after one year as a pro she “broke” and called it a career.
“All of these things, and I was already dealing with these mental issues of years and years and years of trying so hard and coming up short, and I just broke. I honestly cracked. I broke and I just stopped. I said, ‘Maybe I’ll go back,’ and I’ve never gone back to try and play golf professionally again.”
All the 29-year-old has done since retiring from golf is build an influencer empire with millions of followers and all of the perks that come along with it. Nevertheless, she admits she would trade it all for the chance to play golf on the LPGA Tour.
“If I had the choice to be doing what I’m doing to play on the LPGA Tour, I would probably pick the LPGA Tour because that was just a goal that I’ve always wanted to achieve and it was a dream of mine — and I wish I could’ve checked that off before I went over into doing media work full time,” Spiranac said. “But that’s not how life works.”
Who didn’t have dreams of being a professional athlete? Most of those dreams end well before being a professional for a year. All things considered things have turned out alright for Paige.