Uneasily, he adjusts his fist. His solution, in every sense of the word, single-handedly changed his life.
“It was a moment that just came out of nowhere,” Paul Genderi told CNN. “I held it in one hand and it felt very comfortable and vibrated. 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.”
Paul Genderi swung the wand over his head, climbed onto a tee and thrust a devastating engine into the Arizona night sky. Jaws dropped among friends watching the driving range, including the one who had just caught the moment on camera.
The footage was far from cinema standards, and Paul Genderi hardly gave it another thought when he posted the clip to his new account on TikTok that night.
The next morning I woke up to the hum of the phone lighting up with notifications. Overnight, the video rose to 1.5 million views.
It was February 2021. A year and a half later, Paul-Gindiri became a certified TikTok star when he flashed his engagement numbers as conspicuously as his one-handed swing.
With 1.9 million followers and over half a billion views, the 22-year-old has hit viral after viral hit with increasingly bold and creative variations on his unconventional style.
“I think it’s just its uniqueness and being something new for golf,” Paul Gendery said. “You see the same things over and over again, it just gets boring. So when people saw it, they were like, ‘What the hell is that?’ . They have never seen anything like it.”
The account’s name, Snappy Gilmore, was born after a friend suggested incorporating a swing into a swing. That title is a nod to the 1996 comedy “Happy Gilmore,” which stars Adam Sandler as a failed ice hockey star turned professional golfer — aided by a booming carrot swing.
He whispered softly, but Paul Gendere had never seen a cult classic before he mixed technique with his style. Of course, this was quickly changed, as Paul Gendiri soon met with Christopher MacDonald, who played the antagonist in the movie Shooter McGavin, to show off his skills.
“It was great,” said Paul Gendery, who coached McDonald in a great one-handed effort. “Really cool guy, we had a blast.”
Happy Encounter Real-life Sandler is still on the list of groups, not least to thank his namesake Paul Genderi for the iconic race that increased the distance of his shots. With an average of 250 yards, he said, his best one-handed putt of all time flew 330 yards.
That average is just 50 yards below the average of 299.6 yards on the PGA Tour this season, with Cameron Champ leading the way with 321.4 yards.
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Paul Gendéry demonstrated his technique to several tour players, including legendary big hitter Bryson Dechambeau. The longest-running driver on the 2021 Tour looked stunned when the pair met in May, and Paul Gendiri said it was a common reaction among the pros.
“They were trying to figure out how to do it,” he added. “I’ve met some PGA Tour players and they just tell me what I’m doing is crazy sick, and I have to keep doing what I’m doing.”
Incredibly, Paul Genderi is used to shooting one-handed, although he has since switched to the traditional two-handed mode as he strives to master both grips and better his personal best of 76 rounds, achieved one-handed . That’s his best at the moment – six on 77 cards last week – by a stroke.
However, the social media star has goals beyond the right path. Paul Genderi, a passionate footballer and long-suffering fan of Manchester United, dreams of following in the footsteps of his idol, Cristiano Ronaldo.
After leaving his family in Nigeria to move to the San Francisco Bay Area by himself in 2017, Paul Gendere played at Contra Costa College for two years. A run in the semi-professional game was cut short by the pandemic and football pursuits slowed with the move to Arizona, but he is determined to pick up where he left off this year.
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And while he may not have any funky tricks like swinging with one hand, 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-handed or right-handed, so I guess that’s the little thing I use.”
But even as he reconciles these aspirations with college, it appears his outstanding commitment to golf will continue. A year and a half after that fateful night on the field, Paul Gendiri is as determined as ever to inspire people to play the game, especially those who may struggle to replicate a traditional swing – such as amputees or people 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 have never had an interest in golf. They saw what I was doing and they said, ‘Oh, that’s really cool, I really want to try it. “
“If I had never gone to the track that night, I wouldn’t be who I am today, and that keeps me going and makes me happy.”