Gretzky’s cover girl

Paulina Gretzky is on the cover of Golf Digest—and some golfers aren’t impressed

Paulina Gretzky isn’t likely to pass the dress code at many country clubs with her most recent golf attire. Instead, the Great One’s daughter would be more likely to cause a few errant swings. Sporting yoga pants and sports bra, Gretzky is on the cover of Golf Digest magazine with a feature inside of her demonstrating “six golf-improvement exercises.”

More famous for her last name and Instagram account, the 25-year-old isn’t far removed from the golf world. She’s engaged to 8-time PGA Tour winner Dustin Johnson and is frequently seen on the links watching her future hubby play. (Granted, her golf swing isn’t horrible.)

But Gretzky is more about glamour than golf, despite her claim that “Dad always says I was his best athlete.” Her brother Trevor, who plays professional baseball in the Los Angeles farm system might disagree with that statement, but he tweeted that he is proud of his older sister earning the magazine cover. Prominent golfers in the women’s game, however, are not so excited at Golf Digest’s selection. “It’s frustrating because it’s Golf Digest; it’s not Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit issue,” Juli Inkster, a winner 31 times on the women’s pro circuit, told the New York Times. Inkster is not alone in her reaction to Gretzky joining the elusive club of 11 women standing alone on Golf Digest’s cover. The top-ranked American female golfer in the world, Stacy Lewis, has yet to appear on the cover. “Obviously, Golf Digest is trying to sell magazines,” she told the New York Times. “But at the same time you’d like to see a little respect for the women’s game.”

Golf may not be perceived as the sexiest of sports, though Golf Digest has done its part to boost the aesthetic appeal of its stars. Golf Channel personality Holly Sonders, who also never played professional golf, was on the cover for last year’s inaugural “Fitness Issue.”  Germany’s Sandra Gal, the world’s No. 41 ranked female golfer, was crowned the winner’s Hottest Golfer Contest in 2012. She herself was a cover girl for the Czech Republic edition of the magazine years before, wearing gold high heels and showing off some leg.  Sex sells—even for golf. And Gretzky is not afraid to show off her toned abs or flash a little cleavage. And while she is no golfer, she does hit the target market of young golf fans. “Sports figures, celebrities and models have appeared on Golf Digest covers since the magazine’s beginning,” Golf Digest Editor-in-Chief Jerry Tarde said in defending the cover model. “Paulina ranks at the high end of the golf celebrity scene today, and she has a compelling story to tell. She also might get some new people interested in the game.”

Put simply, she’s attractive and will sell magazines. As the USA Today put it, “I think the world would rather look at Gretzky on the cover as opposed to [John Daly].” Online, the reaction has been mixed:




When was the last time anyone talked about golf this much without the name “Tiger”?