Piranha Golf Fills a Tall Order for 7’-8″ Harlem Globetrotter
From the Arizona Golf Authority Golf News Desk
PHOENIX, Arizona — When you are 7’8” tall, life can present challenges. You duck through doors, your legs hang off the bed, comfort on an airplane is non-existent and buying clothes off the rack is not an option.
But being one of the world’s tallest men can present opportunities. Like never getting lost in the crowd, dunking a basketball without leaving the ground and, at times, being treated like a VIP.
Such is the life of Paul Sturgess who was declared the World’s Tallest Professional Basketball Player by Guinness in November 2011 and made his on-court debut with the Harlem Globetrotters in December 2011.
Since joining the team, he has literally hit the ground running, dazzling crowds with his sheer size and talent. A recent video showing Sturgess dunking the ball, finishing with his feet on the court and a handful of rim, has gone viral. Here’s the link – check it out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HTnC0RBXwws
Sturgess, who grew up in Loughborough, England, has gotten used to the stares and constant requests to have his photo taken. But when he needs a break from his celebrity status, he turns to his childhood passion and heads to the golf course.
A single-digit handicap, Sturgess says he consistently drives a golf ball 300 yards, boasting a personal best drive of over 360 yards. He took up golf as an 11-year-old before he hit his growth spurt, growing a foot between the ages of 16 and 17. Finding size 20 shoes to wear daily is not the easiest task for Sturgess, so one can imagine that finding clubs to fit a person who stands 7’8” can be very challenging. That’s where the Arizona connection takes hold.
“Golf provides the ultimate networking opportunity,” stated Piranha Golf President Steve Collins. “A friend of Piranha’s US Senior Executive Dave Barnes, called him to ask about helping Paul get a custom-fit set of clubs. We thought it was a perfect opportunity. After all, our mission is to do things different, to find unusual and unique ways to partner and get noticed. Working with the Harlem Globetrotters and Paul certainly fit the criteria.
“We phoned our Global Ambassador Chuck Evans, Golf Magazine “Top 100 Teacher” and Golf Digest “Best Teachers in America” to find out who was best to perform a club fitting in Philadelphia, where Paul was located at the time. That led us to John Dunnigan, the Philadelphia PGA Section Teacher of the year in 2008 and one of Golf Digest’s Top Teachers in Pennsylvania for eight consecutive years. John loved the idea of working with Piranha and Paul.”
“I am a big advocate of custom-fitting,” commented Dunnigan. “Getting the right clubs for your swing is about the most important thing a player can do to improve his game.”
During the hour-long session, Sturgess sampled Piranha’s V*Blade irons as he had decided early on that he loved the way they looked and because they too were so unique in the market. It quickly became apparent to Dunnigan that the Piranha Golf V*Blade irons were indeed the right choice for Sturgess, as his golf skill was immediately apparent.
“The V*Blades irons are designed to produce a lower ball spin rate from the lower to mid-irons and higher spin rates from the higher irons,” commented Dunnigan. “With the V*Blades, Paul was able to hit the ball more consistently and with great accuracy.”
With the decision made, the work began. Antonio Gelonesi is not only the Chairman/Owner of Piranha Golf, but a Master Club Maker as well. He personally built a full set of V*Blade irons, as well as a driver, fairway metal, wedges and a putter for Sturgess.
Just in time for the northern hemisphere golf season, Piranha Chairman, Antonio Gelonesi made the trek from Sydney, Australia, to Chelsea Piers in New York City to hand-deliver Paul’s custom set of clubs. “I have a very old set of clubs back in England, but I am very excited about my new clubs and the chance to go out and elevate my game,” said Sturgess. “People often doubt that I am a good golfer, so I was anxious to receive my new custom clubs and show folks what I can do on the course.”
“This seemed like a match made in heaven,” commented Collins. “From the start, it was apparent the Piranha core values were in tune with those of the Harlem Globetrotter organization. Their team is an amazing group with which to work and I think this is just the start of more good things to come.”
It’s “All Things Arizona Golf” from the Arizona Golf Authority.