Gray-haired men settled around square tables at Forest Hills Golf Club’s bar and grill after a round of golf to swap stories and banter, just as they do every Monday and Friday.
“The only thing I regret is I got in here too late to influence the name,” Larry Nichols said.
They call themselves The Geezers and have since the group began in 1995.
“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.
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.
“Bob Sweeney suggested that this group, The Geezers, was talented enough that we could give something back to the community,” Nichols said.
A charity golf tournament was 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.
That was last year. The tournament raised nearly $6,000 for the CSRA Humane Society.
This year’s tournament, to be held Sept. 29, will benefit 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.
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.
“We play golf, but a lot of the other holds us together more than golf,” Nichols said.