He adjusted his grip uncomfortably. His solution, literally, changed his life on its own.
“It was a moment that came out of nowhere,” Paul-Gindiri told DailyExpertNews. “I held it in one hand and it felt really comfortable and waddling. I was like, ‘Wait a minute, let me try this.’
“Now that I think about it, I’m like ‘why did I do that?’ It’s God. God blessed me with a talent that just came out of nowhere.”
Turning the club over his head, Paul-Gindiri stepped to the tee and crushed a devastating ride into the Arizona night sky. Cue fell open to onlookers on the driving range, including the one who had just caught the moment on camera.
The footage was far from cinema standard, and Paul-Gindiri barely thought about it when he posted the clip to his newly created TikTok account that night.
The next morning he awoke to the buzz of a phone lit up with notifications. Overnight, the video had soared to 1.5 million views.
That was February 2021. A year and a half later, Paul-Gindiri is a certified TikTok sensation who hangs out engagement numbers as eye-watering as his one-handed wave.
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 of his unorthodox technique.
“I think it’s just the uniqueness of it and it’s something new for golf,” said Paul-Gindiri. “You see the same things over and over, it gets boring. So once people saw it, they were like, ‘What the hell?’ They’ve never seen anything like it.”
“It was great,” said Paul-Gindiri, who coached McDonald to an impressive one-handed effort. “Really nice guy, we had a blast.”
Meeting the real Happy, Sandler, remains on the bucket list, not least so that Paul-Gindiri can thank his namesake for the iconic run-up that increased the distance of his shots. Averaging 250 meters, his best one-handed attack ever flew 330 meters, he said.
That average is just 50 yards below the PGA Tour average of 299.6 yards this season, with Cameron Champ leading the way at 321.4 yards.
“They were trying to figure out how I do it,” he added. “I’ve met a few PGA Tour players and they just tell me that what I’m doing is insanely sick, and I should just keep doing what I’m doing.”
It’s unbelievable that Paul-Gindiri even puts with one hand, although he has since switched to the conventional two-handed grip, as he wants to master both grips and improve his personal best of 76, which he achieved entirely with one hand. . That surpasses his current two-handed best — a six-over 77 card last week — by one stroke.
Still, the social media star has his sights set on goals beyond the fairway. An avid footballer and long-suffering Manchester United fan, Paul-Gindiri dreams of following in the footsteps of his idol, Cristiano Ronaldo.
Paul-Gindiri left his family in Nigeria to move to the San Francisco Bay Area on his own in 2017 and played for Contra Costa College for two years. A foray into the semi-professional game was cut short by the pandemic and soccer activities were delayed by a move to Arizona, but he’s determined to pick up where he left off this year.
And while he may not have tricks up his sleeve as unorthodox as a one-handed swing, his athletic flexibility extends to the football field.
“I’m really good with both feet,” he said. “People don’t know if I’m left-footed or right-footed, so I guess that’s my little go-to thing.”
But even as he combines these aspirations with college, his nonconformist golf commitments seem to continue. A year and a half after that fateful night at the beach, Paul-Gindiri is still determined to inspire people to pick up the game, especially those for whom conventional swing may be difficult to replicate — such as amputees or people with disabilities, said he.
“There are a lot of people… who think they can’t play golf and when I see what I’m doing, you get a very different perspective on the game,” he said. “Not only that, I bring people who would never have been interested in golf. They saw what I do and they say, ‘Oh, this is really cool, I really want to give it a shot.’
“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.”