When Eliezer Paul-Gindiri attempted golf for the first time, he noticed that the traditional swing did not feel quite right.
Feeling uneasy, he readjusted his hold. His remedy, in a very literal sense, transformed his life with just one hand.
“It was a sudden occurrence,” Paul-Gindiri stated to CNN. “I gripped it with one hand and it felt pleasantly flexible. I thought, ‘Hold on, let me give this a try.'”
“Now that I think of it, I’m like, ‘what made me do that?’ It’s God. God blessed me with a talent that just came out of nowhere.”
Paul-Gindiri swung the club over his head and confidently approached the tee. He hit a powerful drive that soared into the night sky of Arizona. His friends at the driving range were amazed and their jaws dropped, including the one who had recorded the impressive shot on camera.
The video quality was not up to professional standards, but Paul-Gindiri didn’t think much about it when he shared the clip on his newly made TikTok account that evening.
The following day, he was awoken by the sound of his phone buzzing with multiple notifications. By morning, the video had reached 1.5 million views.
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In February 2021, Paul-Gindiri became a certified TikTok sensation and his one-handed swing continues to garner impressive levels of engagement a year and a half later.
The 22-year-old has gained 1.9 million followers and amassed over 500 million views by consistently sharing viral hits using his unconventional technique, which he continually reinvents with bold and imaginative twists.
Paul-Gindiri commented that the appeal of this particular aspect is its novelty in the world of golf. Seeing repetitive things can become monotonous, so when people witnessed this, they were undoubtedly intrigued and surprised by its uniqueness.
The username, Snappy Gilmore, was created based on a suggestion from a friend to incorporate a run-up into the golf swing. The name is a reference to the 1996 comedy “Happy Gilmore” where Adam Sandler plays a former ice hockey player who becomes a professional golfer with a unique and powerful swing.
Paul-Gindiri had not yet watched the cult classic film before incorporating its technique into his own. However, this was soon remedied when he met up with Christopher McDonald, the actor who portrayed the antagonist Shooter McGavin, to demonstrate his abilities.
Paul-Gindiri, the coach who guided McDonald in a remarkable one-handed attempt, described the experience as “awesome.” He also mentioned that McDonald was a great guy and they had a lot of fun.
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Meeting the real-life Happy, Sandler, remains on the bucket list, not least so Paul-Gindiri can thank his namesake for the iconic run-up which has increased the distance of his shots. Averaging 250 yards, his best-ever one-handed strike flew 330 yards, he said.
The current average is only 50 yards less than the PGA Tour’s 299.6-yard average this season, with Cameron Champ holding the top spot with 321.4 yards.
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Paul-Gindiri has demonstrated his strategy to numerous Tour professionals, including the renowned power hitter Bryson DeChambeau. When the two met in May, the longest driver on the 2021 Tour appeared surprised, a reaction that Paul-Gindiri says is typical among professional players.
“They attempted to understand my methods,” he stated. “I have encountered a few PGA Tour players and they have expressed that my techniques are incredibly impressive and I should continue to utilize them.”
Paul-Gindiri was once able to putt with just one hand, which is quite impressive. However, he now uses the traditional two-handed grip in order to improve and become skilled in both techniques. His personal record of 76, achieved with only one hand, is just one stroke better than his current best of 77, which was accomplished last week using the two-handed grip.
However, the popular influencer has aspirations that go beyond the golf course. Paul-Gindiri, an avid soccer player and dedicated Manchester United supporter, aspires to emulate his role model, Cristiano Ronaldo.
In 2017, Paul-Gindiri left his family in Nigeria to start a new life in the San Francisco Bay Area. He spent two years playing for Contra Costa College before the pandemic interrupted his semi-professional career. After moving to Arizona, his soccer aspirations were put on hold, but he remains motivated to resume his pursuits this year.
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Although he may not possess any unconventional tactics like a one-handed swing, his athletic versatility also applies to the soccer field.
He stated, “I am skilled with both my left and right foot. It’s difficult for others to tell which is my dominant foot, so I consider it my secret weapon.”
Despite balancing college and other goals, Paul-Gindiri remains committed to his love for golf. Over a year and a half after his life-changing experience at the range, he is still determined to motivate others to play the sport, particularly those who may struggle with the traditional swing due to physical limitations, such as amputees or individuals with disabilities.
“I have encountered many individuals who believe they are unable to play golf, but witnessing my skills has given them a new outlook on the sport,” he stated. “Moreover, I have introduced people who previously had no interest in golf to the game after they saw what I can do. They were inspired to give it a try.”
“If I had not gone to the range that night, I would not be the person I am today, which motivates me and brings me joy.”