A group of senior golfers hope their love of competition and camaraderie will once again translate into a successful benefit for charity.
Later this month The Geezers, an association of older golfers who regularly challenge the links of Forest Hills Golf Club, will host a tournament Sept. 29 to raise money for the CSRA Humane Society and GAP Ministries.
“That’s what we’re trying to help out – homeless animals and homeless pets,” said Bill Cravens, who organized the event. He and his wife volunteer at the ministry.
GAP Ministries helps homeless and impoverished people acquire the documentation they need to get services and jobs, in addition to prescription medication.
That was last year. The tournament raised nearly $6,000 for the CSRA Humane Society.
It’s just another aspect of the group, which began in 1995.
“The only thing I regret is I got in here too late to influence the name,” member Larry Nichols said.
“Old Coots,” Bob Sweeney offered as an alternative, which got a few chuckles.
“We can’t change it now. It took me two years to figure out how to spell it right,” president Fred Singer said.
“We play golf, but a lot of the other holds us together more than golf,” Nichols said.
Usually the gray-haired men can be found every Monday and Friday settled around square tables at Forest Hills Golf Club’s bar and grill after a round of golf swapping stories and banter.
Several of the men have the opportunity to play other courses but choose to play at Forest Hills with The Geezers because of the camaraderie.
If a member is sick, the guys help him out. Members who can no longer play are visited and included as much as possible. They take care of one another.
No one is younger than 60; that’s one of the club’s rules.
“I can describe us as a bunch of trusted friends who like to play golf together,” Nichols said.
There are 26 active members – the eldest is 84 – and four emeritus members.
Membership is by invitation only. Potential members must have sponsors and are invited to attend three meetings before they are voted in. Members must commit to playing at least half of the time.
That hasn’t really been a problem among this group of enthusiasts.
“If you look at the rosters and the numbers, most of the players are playing three-quarters of the time,” Singer said.
Several times a year, the group plays a different course in the area. Three or four times a year, they take a three-day trip to courses in Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina. The wives join them at the annual Christmas party and help with the golf tournament.
Most of the members are retired. Nearly all of them are involved in charitable endeavors, but their own event almost didn’t happen.
When a charity golf tournament was first suggested. It was voted down.
“So the next year, I went ahead and scheduled the tournament without a vote, and then we asked permission later,” Nichols said.