“This might seem weird ’cause we haven’t met, but do you wanna go to Mexico with us in a couple weeks?”
And because most good relationships start this way, we figured our first phone conversation with Griffin House was a positive sign of things to come.
After a whirlwind trip to Punta de Mita, we would learn that Griffin is the very definition of a Linksouldier. A family man who works on himself through his craft, he wakes up everyday and tries to do his best. And hanging out with him, you find yourself wanting to do the same.
In the last hours of our trip, passing through a tiny seaside village, a wild eyed man with a dog on a vespa asked if we would come to his house a few blocks away and take a picture of the toy boats he makes out of driftwood. “Of course,” we said, and we found ourselves on the balcony of magical pink house with no concern for time. Griffin, whose grandfather had passed a week before, belted out a song from a deeper level and the reason for the trip revealed itself– as it always does if we keep our ear to the ground.
LS: Where’s home?
GH: I’m from Springfield, Ohio. That’ll always be my hometown. But I’ve lived in Nashville for almost 15 years.
LS: How’d you find out about Linksoul?
GH: I did a tour last year with Jewel. Our first show was in Monterey and I came out a few days early with a buddy and we played Pebble Beach, Spyglass and Spanish Bay. Some clothes in the Pebble Beach pro shop caught my eye, which is rare because most golf clothes look preppy and stuffy and I would not want to wear them on the street or really even to play golf in if I don’t have to. But the clothes I saw looked more like cool casual surfer/skateboard gear and seemed really comfortable too. I was running late, so I snapped a photo of the brand. It was Linksoul. When I got home I got online and ordered some shirts and some boardshorts.
LS: Your wife played a role in introducing us, right? How’d that all happen? Does she normally have a say in your wardrobe choices?
GH: She couldn’t really care less about how I dress. She photographed me in the backyard one day with my shirt off and swinging my guitar like a golf club. When she saw the vibe of the brand in the Linksoul magazine and saw how attracted I was to the company she followed her instinct and sent Linksoul those photos she took and some of my music and a Top 100 Musician/Golfers Golf Digest article that I happened to be a part of.
LS: When did the music thing start, and how did you ever know you had a future in it?
GH: It’s a long story. But essentially I quit golf after high school because I was burnt out. I was offered a scholarship at Ohio University. But, I couldn’t do it. Competitive golf had become torture. All my self-worth and identity were wrapped up in my performance. And I wasn’t living to the standards I set for myself. I didn’t even play music at that time. I dabbled in theatre in high school and sang around campfires with friends who could play guitar. I picked up guitar when I went away to college and taught myself. I started writing songs right away and joined a band that invited me to be the singer. My senior year the band broke up, and I made my own record and started playing uptown at the bars. One thing led to another and things just kind of snowballed. I moved to Nashville shortly after I graduated and got a record deal and started making records and touring. That was 2003. And I’m still going.
LS: When you’re not writing your own music and playing shows who do you like to listen to?
GH: The last couple days I listened to Chris Isaak and David Gray. Both are inspirations for me but I have a whole slew of influences and appreciate all genres. I’ve always loved music from rap to classic rock, to oldies and blues and jazz. There’s even some good country believe it or not! 🙂
LS: What hooked you into golf, where has it taken you, and what role does it play in your life now?
GH: My dad and grandpa introduced me to the game. I spent a lot of summers as a kid on the course from sun up to sun down. It’s in my blood and my DNA I think. I wouldn’t be surprised if my ancestors were golfers across the pond. It’s total spirituality, sport, meditation and yoga rolled into one amazing game. I love the solitude and nature and exercise and my favorite time to play is in the evening when the sun is setting and everything is turning golden and 100 shades of green. I quit for almost 10 years for the reasons I shared above, but today I often think to myself “there’s no one who loves golf more than me.”
LS: You seem to be a Hogan disciple, how did that come about and why?
GH: Partially because as a little kid I used my dad’s clubs a lot. They were obviously too long for me and they were so heavy I really had to swing them around my body. As a result people would tell me I had a flat swing (even though most people are just describing how something looks to them, not what actually is) I knew people seemed to think Hogan had a flat swing too and people seem to think my swing resembles Hogan’s. (John [Ashworth] told me “you swing like Hogan!” the first time he saw me hit a ball, so maybe its true? As I’ve continued to rediscover golf and play more, I’m intrigued by “the secret.” I find guys like Hogan and Moe Norman very interesting because they seem to have spent a lifetime of a quest to perfect their swing. I enjoy doing that too. It’s a labor of love. It relaxes me and challenges me at the same time and gives me hope that maybe one day I’ll find my “secret” too. Peter [Beames] told me I already know the secret, I hope he’s right.
LS: We love the song you played for us on the balcony in Mexico… it’s a good anthem for “Make Par / Not War”. Tell us about that song…
GH: “I Remember” is inspired by my grandfather George Griffin who fought in WWII in the Battle of the Bulge. I tell the story almost every night at my shows about how he used to tell me as a kid that he “shot Hitler’s mustache off” during the war. That story always seems to get a laugh even for people who’ve heard me tell it 10 times.
I hadn’t thought about how it fits with “Make Par/ Not War” That’s perfect. I recently played it for 300 inmates in a Nashville prison and I’m hoping that’ll turn into a good live version.
The song is offered as a memorial to honor those who have served our country, like my grandfather. It’s also a song that inherently questions war in general. Even a war like WWII (that I can sometimes think of as the last war we really needed to fight) comes with some questions. It’s a song that asks questions about our current foreign policy and talks about the role of religion and politics to influence people’s minds about America’s authority and role as a world power. I think the song continues to be relevant for that reason. Because the narrator in the song is my grandfather (not me) and these questions are being asked from the veterans perspective, I think it makes the song not only more palatable but serves to usually unify rather than divide. I think people from the left and right have been able to find things in the song that resonates with them. I hope I can keep telling my grandfather’s story and bringing people together with the song for many years to come.
LS: You have a very loyal following, where can people get your dates and hear more?
GH: my website:
And they can find tour dates and join my Bandsintown page on Facebook.
Photography: Geoff Cunningham
Video: Keith Kipp