Most had never been on an aeroplane and their standard of dress matched the attire expected for weddings and funerals.
It was an exciting time when the eight members of Queensland’s inaugural junior interstate golf team and manager George Maddern gathered at Brisbane Airport just before Easter, 1961.
The team, captained by 18-year-old Garth Johnstone, of Oxley, was headed to South Australia where the annual series would be contested at Royal Adelaide Golf Club.
Golf Queensland will formally recognise the players of the pioneering 1961 team, as well as the teams of the following two years, at a luncheon on Wednesday during the 2016 Australian Interstate Teams Series at The Brisbane Golf Club.
“We want to recognise the tradition established by these teams and celebrate what has been a lifetime involvement for many of the players,’’ said Golf Queensland chairman, Peter Castrisos.
Before the luncheon, members of the teams will be invited to watch play during the morning matches at The Brisbane Golf Club.
Johnstone, now 73 and still enjoying a weekly game at Carbrook, described the first team 55 years ago as “babes in the wood”.
“We had no idea what to expect,’’ he said. “I’d never been on a plane and in those days everyone dressed up to travel.
“We had to wear our uniform … blazer, tie, grey trousers and black shoes.’’
Members of Oxley golf Club, where Johnstone had joined as a 14-year-old and won the open club championship aged 16, chipped in for the cost of his blazer.
“I was 18 when selected in the Queensland team and the age limit for junior play back then was 21,’’ he recalled.
“Our manager was George Maddern and he had virtually been in charge of running trials and practice matches before the team was selected. George was from Virginia and a very good golfer himself …”
Other members of the first Queensland team were Barry Brown (Brisbane), Ron Hancock (Bundaberg Golf Club), Graham Tippett (Royal Queensland), Brian Roebig (Pacific), Ross Petersen (Atherton GC), Lance Pennington (Toowoomba GC) and Neil Humphries (Gailes), who is deceased.
A member of the second and third teams was Randall Vines, who had set a record by winning the club championship at Wynnum as a 15-year-old but was not eligible for the first state team as he was deemed too young.
Vines, an outstanding golfer, turned professional at 21 and won two Australian PGA titles and the Open championships of Germany, Switzerland, Thailand and Hong Kong.
The 1962 series was played at The Australian in Sydney and the ’63 series at Claremont in Tasmania.
The 1962 team was: Garth Johnston (capt), Brian Roebig, Randall Vines (Brisbane GC), Lance Pennington, Ron Hancock, Neil Humphries, Ken McLean (Virginia), Joe Kiernan (Keperra).
The 1963 line-up was: Garth Johnstone (capt), Brian Roebig, Randall Vines, Lance Pennington, Graham McCarthy (Bundaberg GC), Ken McLean, Michael Fitzgerald (Keperra), Garth Peters (Gympie GC).
The 2016 Australian Men’s Interstate Teams event will be played at The Brisbane Golf Club from May 10-13. The Queensland team consists of: Anthony Quayle, Charlie Dann, Shae Wools-Cobb, Blake Proverbs, Steven Cox, Charlie Pilon, Doug Klein and Mitchell Smith.
The 2016 Australian Women’s Interstate Teams event will be played at Royal Queensland Golf Club from May 10-12. The Queensland team consists of: Karis Davidson, Robyn Choi, Kirsty Hodgkins, Gennai Goodwin, Becky Kay and DeeDee-Taylah Russell.