Man plays golf only using a putter

Updated: August 3, 2020

By Steve Turcotte

I was perusing the internet one day looking for interesting golf stories. I came across a story that talked about a guy who played golf with only a putter. I read on. He used a putter to tee off, hit fairways shots, hit bunker shots and of course, putts. As I read on it said he won his flight in a Golfweek Amateur Tour event in Phoenix with an 84.

A guy with only a putter? Shooting an 83? This I had to see.

I arranged a round of golf with Anthony Griggs, the Putter Guy. He showed up with his putter, a small bag for the putter and his playing partner Larry Vinson. I assumed this was going to be some kind of sham. He would show up with a full bag of 14 clubs and use the putter when he wanted to.

But this was no joke. The Putter Guy was for real.

“I was getting bored with golf, and one of my friends suggested trying something different – like playing only with a putter,” said the 61-year-old Griggs, who lives in the Phoenix area. 

So one day before a round of golf, Griggs went to the driving range with his Scott Cameron putter to warm up. Only with his putter. After a few swings, his putter snapped. He quickly went across the street to the Goodwill store and found a Wilson Staff putter in a $2.99 barrel of clubs. He bought it and headed to the first tee for his round of golf. He has only played with a putter ever since.

“I will never carry 14 clubs again,” Griggs said. “It’s been a lot more fun to play with just the putter. You find out that you can come up with different shots when you have to.”

As I stood on the first tee and watched him take practice swings with his putter, I thought this was a joke. But then he hit the ball long. And straight. In fact, during a round of golf a while back Griggs said he drove a 300-yard par-4 with the putter and then used the club again to make an eagle-2. The course gave him a plaque that said he was part of the “Big Dog Club.”

He has shot an even-par round with his putter and has won tournaments, including his victory at the Golfweek Amateur Tour at Wild Horse Pass.

His playing partner and caddy Vinson sometimes can’t believe what he sees. “It’s amazing what he can do with the putter,” Vinson said. “I’ve tried it – I can’t do it. In fact, at the Phoenix Open Pro-Am Bill Haas tried to hit the putter on the range. He couldn’t even get it airborne.”

Griggs has different swings for his putter shots. When he wants to hit a short shot, he shortens up the swing. When the ball is in the rough or the bunker, he turns the putter blade over and uses it like a toe jam. The ball pops right up like a wedge.

During this round of golf, there didn’t seem to be a shot he couldn’t do with his $2.99 Wilson Staff putter. On one hole, his ball was in the deep rough about 15 yards off the green. He turned the toe of the club around, popped it up and had a 15–footer to save par. 

“I just adjust the swing to the distance of the shot,” said Griggs.

Griggs and Vinson both say it’s funny to see the looks on golfer’s faces when Griggs steps to the first tee with a putter in his hands.  Some guys might think it’s a joke, but when he ropes a shot 210 yards down the middle with his putter, it’s no joke.