‘Snappy Gilmore’: How Eliezer Paul-Gindiri became a viral TikTok sensation
Trying golf for the first time, something about the traditional swing didn’t feel right for Eliezer Paul-Gindiri.
Fidgeting, he adjusted his grip. His solution, quite literally, single-handedly changed his life.
“It was a moment (that) just came out of nowhere,” Paul-Gindiri told CNN. “I held it in one hand and it felt really comfortable and moving. I was like ‘Wait a minute, let me try this.’
“Now that I think about it, I’m like, ‘Who made me do this?’ It’s God. God blessed me with a talent that didn’t come out of nowhere.”
Swinging the club above his head, Paul-Gindiri stepped up to the tee and crushed a devastating drive into the Arizona night sky. Cue dropped jaws among onlookers at the driving range, including the one who caught the moment on camera.
The footage was far from cinema-standard, and Paul-Gindiri barely gave it a second thought as he posted the clip to his newly created TikTok account that night.
The next morning, he wakes up to the buzzing of a phone light with notifications. Overnight, the video had 1.5 million views.
It was February 2021. A year and a half later, Paul-Gindiri is a certified TikTok sensation with eye-watering engagement numbers like his one-arm 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 of his unconventional technique.
“I think it’s just the uniqueness of it and it’s something new for golf,” Paul-Gindiri said. “You’re seeing the same stuff over and over again, it gets boring. So once people saw it, they were like, ‘What’s the point?’ They have never seen anything like it.”
The account’s name, Snappy Gilmore, was born after a friend suggested running in a swing. The moniker is a nod to the 1996 comedy “Happy Gilmore,” which stars Adam Sandler as a failed ice hockey star turned pro golfer — aided by a booming, radical swing.
Keep it quiet, but Paul-Gindiri had never seen the cult classic before mixing his technique. Naturally, this was quickly rectified, with Paul-Gindiary soon meeting up with Christopher Macdonald, who played the film’s antagonist sniper McGavin, to show off his skills.
“It was awesome,” said Paul-Gindieri, who coached MacDonald for the impressive one-handed effort. “Really good guy, we had a blast.”
Meeting the real-life Happy, Sandler, remains on the bucket list, at least for the Paul-Gindiri iconic run-up he can name thanks to the distance his shots ranged from. With an average of 250 yards, his best ever one-handed strike flew 330 yards.
That average is just 50 yards below the 299.6-yard average on the PGA Tour this season, as Cameron Champ leads with 321.4 yards.
Read more: World No. 1 Golfer Brandon Lawler’s Rapid Rise With Disability
Paul-Gindiri has demonstrated his technique to several tour players, including legendary big hitter Bryson DeChambeau. The 2021 Tour’s tallest driver was surprised when the pair met in May, and Paul-Gindiri said it was a common reaction among professionals.
“They were trying to figure out how I do it,” he added. “I’ve met a couple of PGA Tour players and they tell me what I do is crazy sick, and I should do what I’m doing.”
Incredibly, Paul-Gindiri also used to putt with one hand, though he has since switched to the traditional two-handed grip as he seeks to master both grips and improve on his personal-best round of 76. is, obtained entirely with one hand. It edges his current two-handed best – by one stroke – a six-over 77 card last week.
Yet the social media star has set his sights on goals beyond the fairway. A keen footballer and a die-hard Manchester United fan, Paul-Gindiri dreams of following in the footsteps of his idol, Cristiano Ronaldo.
Paul-Gindiri played for Contra Costa College for two years, leaving his family in Nigeria to move to the San Francisco Bay Area in 2017. A faction in the semi-professional game was curtailed by the pandemic and soccer activities slowed when he moved to Arizona, but he is determined to pick up where he left off this year.
Read more: Schoolboy who made golf history: The double life of 15-year-old Ratchanan ‘TK’ Chantananuwat
And while he may not have any tricks up his sleeve as unconventional as a one-handed swing, his athletic flexibility extends to the football pitch.
“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 thing.”
Yet while he combines these ambitions with college, his commitments to golf will continue. A year and a half after that fateful evening on the range, Paul-Gindiri is as determined as ever to inspire people to take up the sport, especially for those who might find it difficult to replicate the traditional swing – such as amputees. Person or people disability, he said.
“There are a lot of people … who think they can’t golf and seeing what I do brings a different perspective to the game,” he said. “Not only that, I’m bringing in people who have never been interested in golf. They see what I do and they’re like, ‘Oh, that’s really cool, I really want to give it a shot.’
“If I never went to the range that night, I wouldn’t be who I am today, so that keeps me going and makes me happy.”