By Bob Kelly
Mark and Tracy Gleixner never dreamed that getting their children involved in golf would one day lead to so much success on the links. Nor did they know they would attain their goal of finding a lifelong family pastime.
The game was merely an afterthought that would help bring their family together through the years. The Gleixners got their children involved in baseball and golf, among other sports. But it would be golf that eventually won the hearts of his boys over dad’s chosen sport of baseball.
“I really wanted the boys to play baseball, but I can remember to this day when they told me that they preferred to play golf over baseball at the age of 12,” Gleixner said. “It has been a great decision.”
It was soon after the decision that Mark and Louie, both graduates of Roncalli High School, were joined by sisters Anna and Abby on the links, eventually comprising their own fearsome foursome. Anna graduates from Roncalli this year; Abby will be a junior next year.
A combination of dedication and hard work have made the Gleixners a force on the links from a very early age. Robert fired a 71 and won his first tournament as a freshman at Roncalli. Louie had success before moving on to play for University of Southern Indiana for one season. He plans to walk on to play at IUPUI this upcoming school year.
Anna has been an anchor on the girls’ team that has turned in the most successful four-year stint in the history of girls’ golf at Roncalli. Anna helped lead the Rebels to the Marion County and sectional titles while the team finished on the podium at the state finals in each of her four years. She will take her talents to Eastern Kentucky next fall. Abby is just hitting her stride on the links and will be looked to for leadership next fall.
The game of golf has been good to the Gleixner family as it has taken them many places, creating bonds that will last a lifetime. They have played the links of Pebble Beach, which has been home to many majors on the PGA tour, to local courses such as Sarah Shank and Smock, where many of them got their start.
In seventh grade, Robert fired a 75 at Shank while Louie led his team to a 15-stroke margin victory for his team at Our Lady of Greenwood and finished among the top 40 in the state amateur tourney. One of the most memorable times of golf for Anna did not happen when she was on the course.
She was able to get a flag that she has in her room today and a glove that was signed by each member of the United States team that competed at the Crooked Stick Golf Course. Abby remembers her first birdie at 7 years old when she chipped in at the first hole at then-Orchard Golf Course.
Roncalli girls’ golf coach Bryan Hendricks just finished his 18th year at the helm of the program and is familiar with the family.
“The girls are the most competitive that I have ever coached. They are the most dedicated and driven players that I have ever seen. It is just a great family,” Hendricks said.
Mark Gleixner did not hesitate to sum up what the game of golf has meant to his family over the years.
“We have enjoyed watching them play the game of golf and look forward to the day when they can do the same with their kids and we can play along as grandparents,” Gleixner said. “That would be just so cool.”
Mark Gleixner had big plans for his boys’ baseball careers when they were in Little League, but soon after he had to accept they did not want to go down that path and instead chose to blaze one themselves. The rest of the family soon followed in what has turned out to be a love affair with golf.