Uncomfortable, he adjusted his grip. His solution literally single handedly changed his life.
“It was a moment (that) came out of nowhere,” Paul-Gindiri told CNN. “I held it in one hand and it felt really comfortable and rippling. I was like, ‘Wait a minute, let me try this.’
“Now that I think about it, I’m like, ‘what made me do that?’ It’s God. God blessed me with a talent that came out of nowhere.”
Spinning the club over his head, Paul-Gindiri zoomed to the tee and smashed a devastating drive into the Arizona night sky. Cue wowed friends watching on the driving range, including the one who had just captured the moment on camera.
The footage was far from movie standard, and Paul-Gindiri hardly thought twice when he posted the clip to his newly created TikTok account that night.
The next morning, he woke up to the buzz of a phone lighting up with notifications. Overnight, the video had climbed to 1.5 million views.
That was in February 2021. A year and a half later, Paul-Gindiri is a certified TikTok sensation posting engagement numbers as dazzling as his one-handed swing.
With 1.9 million followers and over half a billion views, the 22-year-old has posted viral hit after viral hit with increasingly bold and creative variations on his unorthodox technique.
“I think it’s just because of its uniqueness and being something new to golf,” Paul-Gindiri said. “You’re seeing the same things over and over again, it gets boring. So once people saw it, they were like, ‘what the hell?’ They’ve never seen anything like it.”
The name of the account, Snappy Gilmore, was born after a friend advised him to incorporate an acceleration in the swing. The moniker is a nod to the 1996 comedy “Happy Gilmore,” in which Adam Sandler plays a failed ice hockey star who becomes a professional golfer, with the help of a booming, radical swing. the cult classic before mixing technique with his own. Naturally, that was quickly changed, and Paul-Gindiri was soon reunited with Christopher McDonald, who played the film’s antagonist Shooter McGavin, to show off his skills.
“It was amazing,” said Paul-Gindiri, who coached McDonald in an impressive one-handed attempt. “Very nice guy, we had a great time.”
Meeting the real-life Happy, Sandler, remains on the wish list, especially so Paul-Gindiri can thank his namesake for the iconic run that has increased the distance of his shots. Averaging 250 yards, his best one-handed throw flew 330 yards, he said.
That average ranks just 50 yards shy of the 299.6-yard average on the PGA Tour this season, with Cameron Champ leading the way with 321.4 yards.
Read more: The meteoric rise of Brendan Lawlor, the world’s number 1 golfer with a disabilityPaul-Gindiri has shown his technique to several Tour players, including legendary great hitter Bryson DeChambeau. The longest-serving rider on the 2021 Tour seemed stunned when the pair met in May, and Paul-Gindiri said this is a common reaction among professionals.
“They were trying to figure out how I do it,” he added. “I met a couple of guys on the PGA Tour and they told me what I’m doing is crazy, and I should keep doing what I’m doing.”
Incredibly, Paul-Gindiri even used to putt single-handedly, though he has since switched to the conventional two-handed grip as he seeks to master both grips and improve on his personal best round of 76, achieved entirely single-handed. That beats his current two-handed best of six over 77 cards last week by one stroke.
However, the social media star has her sights set on goals beyond the street. Paul-Gindiri, passionate about football and long-suffering Manchester United fan, dreams of following in the footsteps of his idol, Cristiano Ronaldo.
Having left his family in Nigeria to move alone to the San Francisco Bay Area in 2017, Paul-Gindiri played for Contra Costa College for two years. A foray into the semi-pro game was cut short by the pandemic and soccer activities slowed by moving to Arizona, but he is determined to pick up where he left off this year.
Read More: The college boy who made golf history: The eventful double life of 15-year-old Ratchanon ‘TK’ Chantananuwat
And while he may not have any tricks up his sleeve as unorthodox as a one-handed swing, his sporty flexibility extends to the football field.
“I’m really good with both feet,” he said. “People don’t know if I’m left-handed or right-handed, so I guess that’s my little option.”
Yet even as he juggles these aspirations with college, his maverick commitments to golf seem to continue. A year and a half after that fateful night on the range, Paul-Gindiri is more determined than ever to inspire people to start playing, especially those for whom the conventional swing can be difficult to replicate, such as amputees. or people with disabilities, he said.
“There are a lot of people … who think they can’t play golf and seeing what I do brings a whole different perspective to the game,” he said. “Not only that, I’m bringing in people who would never have had an interest in golf. They saw what I do and they’re like, ‘Oh, this is really cool, I really want to try it.’
“If I never went to the shooting range that night, I wouldn’t be who I am today, so that keeps me going and makes me happy.”