Stephanie Sparks, Former Golf Star and TV Host, Dies at 50

Stephanie Sparks, a former collegiate golfer and longtime host of Golf Channel's "Big Break," passed away at 50. She had a successful amateur career, transitioned to TV, and supported hospice care in her final years.

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Stephanie Sparks, Former Golf Star and TV Host, Dies at 50

Stephanie Sparks, Former Golf Star and TV Host, Dies at 50

Stephanie Sparks, a former All-American collegiate golfer at Duke University and longtime host of Golf Channel's reality series "Big Break," died on April 13, 2023, at the age of 50. Sparks had been a supporter of hospice care in her final years.

Born in Wheeling, West Virginia, Sparks had a successful amateur golf career, winning several prestigious tournaments including the 1992 North and South Women's Amateur at Pinehurst Golf Club. She was a member of the 1994 U.S. Curtis Cup team and earned All-America honors at Duke.

After turning professional, Sparks played briefly on the LPGA Tour in 2000 but her playing career was cut short by chronic back pain. She then transitioned to television, hosting multiple shows on the Golf Channel such as "Big Break, Golf with Style," and "Playing Lessons with the Pros" from 2005 to 2013.

Tom Abbott, Sparks' former co-host on "Big Break," praised her work ethic and empathy. "She was an essential part of the Big Break success story," Abbott said. "She knew what it was like for the contestants and wanted them to succeed."

In addition to her television work, Sparks had a small acting role, playing three-time U.S. Women's Amateur champion Alexa Stirling in the 2004 movie "Bobby Jones: Stroke of Genius." She also supported various charitable organizations, including Libby's Legacy Breast Cancer Foundation and the Barber Fund in Orlando.

The cause of Sparks' death was not immediately revealed. Her family plans to hold a private service in Elm Grove, West Virginia to honor her memory.

Sparks' passing has been mourned by many in the golf community who remember her not only as a skilled player but also a beloved television personality who used her own experiences to encourage and support aspiring golfers. Her support for hospice care in her final years also left an impact beyond the world of sports.

Key Takeaways

  • Stephanie Sparks, former Duke golfer, died at 50 on April 13, 2023.
  • Sparks hosted Golf Channel's "Big Break" reality series for years.
  • She had a successful amateur golf career, earning All-America honors at Duke.
  • Sparks transitioned to TV, hosting multiple shows on Golf Channel from 2005-2013.
  • Sparks supported hospice care and various charitable organizations in her final years.