Just for fun: Geist Golf league players serious about keeping games lighthearted


It had been more than two decades since Geist resident Beth Berry had played golf. She wanted to get back into the swing of things, so to speak, and reached out in 2021 to various women’s golf leagues.

“I reached out to four of them,” she said. “One of them went to a different golf course each week. I thought, ‘How fun is that going to be?’ And they’re these business women — it’s going to be business networking. And they’re like, ‘We’d love to have you. What’s your handicap?’”

A handicap is a measurement of how well a golfer plays and is based on previous scores. When Berry told them she didn’t have one, the response was basically, “Come back when you play enough to have a handicap.” 

Berry didn’t like that response and decided she wanted to play for fun. She just needed some other like-minded women. She used the Nextdoor social media platform to see if there was any interest in her neighborhood and more than 100 women responded. 

Now, Geist Golf has more than 250 members who play every Wednesday and Thursday at Gray Eagle Golf Course, 12500 Brooks School Rd. in Fishers. They reserve the entire 18 holes when they play, Berry said, and nobody keeps score. 

“I don’t ever want to keep score,” she said. “I’ve been in enough business outings that the people who don’t have fun are the ones who are having a bad day. They’re the ones that are swearing, they’re the ones that are throwing clubs. They’re the ones that are saying, ‘I hate this game.’ No one has ever said that at the end of our round, because we’ve never kept score.”

The recreational league has players in their 20s up to their 80s, of different shapes and sizes and different ability levels. Berry said one new member, for example, had only played miniature golf and Top Golf before joining them at Gray Eagle. 

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Gray Eagle Golf Course golf pro Mike Zedrick provides tips and tricks for Geist Golf league members during a league kick-off event at Daniel’s Vineyard. (Photo by Leila Kheiry)

The group celebrated the start of the golf season with a kick-off event June 9 at Daniel’s Vineyard, a new partner with Geist Golf league. Berry said Daniels’ “No Ruff Days” canned wine will be featured during this year’s golf outings. The approximately 100 players at the event enthusiastically sampled the wine. 

Jada Green was among the players at Daniel’s. She joined the group in its first year and said that while she’s naturally competitive, she enjoys playing golf just for fun. 

“I love being part of a noncompetitive environment,” she said. “It’s very social, and we enjoy the friendship side of it. I’ve gotten to meet a lot of people and then we’ve branched out — it’s not just golf.”

Green, who also doesn’t have a handicap, said that in the off-season members get together to play euchre, and they’ve formed book clubs. 

“We’re better at our golf game, too, thanks to the staff at Gray Eagle and the lessons and things like that,” she said. “But we still welcome (beginners). The first week this year, I played with somebody who had never swung a golf club, and that’s still encouraged and welcomed. It’s just a really safe environment.”

Mike Zedrick is a Gray Eagle golf instructor and led a presentation during the June 9 event, providing tips for improving play and answering questions. He said the league’s growth has been amazing. 

“Every week, I keep getting new people that want to come and learn,” he said, adding that he offers a couple of classes every Tuesday. “It’s tailored toward (Geist Golf members), but if I have a lady that is interested in starting golf, I typically will have them come to this (class). And the great thing is, most of those ladies have then transitioned into playing in the group.”

Berry said it can be difficult to find new friends as an adult. Joining Geist Golf is a low-pressure way to have fun, stay active and socialize, she said, adding that most of the group’s golf outings end with a “19th hole” gathering at a local establishment with a good wine selection. 

For more, visit geistgolf.com.

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From left, Geist Golf League members Jennifer Burgess, Beth Berry, Michelle Pappas and Kim McDonald celebrate luau day by relaxing in the golf course’s sand trap. (Photo courtesy of Beth Berry)

Organizing 250 women

When Geist Golf League started, founder Beth Berry organized the weekly outings with group messages, but that became way too complicated once the league had more than 200 players. 

“It was a nightmare,” she said, because many of the players are moms and and often had unexpected scheduling changes arise, leading to cancellations. However, if too many players cancel, the league can’t assure Gray Eagle that there are enough players to reserve the entire course. 

So, Berry said, she came up with the idea to schedule through an app. 

“The way in which the league works is, you prepay 48 hours in advance and it’s like a concert ticket,” she said. “If your kid’s soccer game gets moved, you still bought the ticket. You can sell it to another player, but (it’s nonrefundable). That way, Gray Eagle is assured that they’ve sold out the course.”