With more than 300 members, The Goffers is America’s largest LGBT golf league. But while other leagues require members to play rounds throughout the season, The Goffers is a much more casual organization.
Chad Goff, a former estate attorney and the person for whom the group is named, founded the organization more than 15 years ago. “The name of the group is a play on my last name; in addition, earliest written records of the game refer to it as goff.”
Although he has played since the age of 10, Goff considers himself “mediocre, at best.” He explains that he started the group to accommodate a fifth player into his regular foursome. “The extra player had friends, and it just grew from that base.”
Teeing off three times a week — Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays — The Goffers tee times are reserved by the club, but each player pays his or her greens and cart fees at the course pro shop on the day of play. Announcements for the following week’s game are sent via e-mail and posted on the Goffers’ Facebook page. Those interested in golfing simply respond to the organizer of that day’s round.
J.L. Quebbeman, a retired federal government manager and one of the group’s organizers, has only been playing for nine years, but he enjoys a high handicap. He says he enjoys the social aspect of the group as much as the opportunity to play with other LGBT athletes. In addition to the thrice-weekly rounds, the group also plans special events. Most are in conjunction with a holiday such as Christmas, Valentine’s Day or Cinco de Mayo. Many Goffers cite the Easter Bonnet Parade as their favorite of these events. During that celebration, players wear outrageous bonnets as they make their way through all 18 holes. The Goffers also hold an annual Spring Fling golf scramble.
“Our golfers are players of all levels of ability, from low handicappers to high ones,” says Quebbeman. “We usually like to make sure players can play a 4-hour round of golf on a championship course, simply because 99 percent of our golfers do.”
That said, he also notes that the group has collected plenty of information on good teachers throughout the years, and they often direct new players to take lessons to help improve their game before they join.
Many of the club’s members are avid competitors who also participate in gay golf tournaments throughout the world, including the Sin City Shootout in Las Vegas; Annual Rainbow Challenge in Palm Springs; German Rainbow Open in Schwerin, Germany; and even the Gay Games.
The congenial group of golfers of varying abilities plays year-round at various courses in Broward County. Participation is open and there are no membership fees to play.