Southport Golf Club is formed in August 1924

A group of local and Brisbane residents formed the Southport Golf Club on August 23, 1924.

The formation of the Southport Golf Club was reported in The Telegraph in Brisbane on August 26, 1924.

A general meeting of the newly formed Southport Golf Club was held in the School of Arts on Saturday. Dr. R. S. Berry presided. A number of Brisbane golfers came down for the occasion. The following provisional officials. were elected: Patron, the Hon. J. G. Appel; president, Mr. Les. James; vice-president, Dr. R. S. Berry; hon. secretary, Mr. H. S. Bere; treasurer, Mr. E. H. White; captain, Mr. J. N. Radcliffe; provisional committee, Messrs C. G. Barnes, L. Cosgrave, and H. Saltmarshe. The Provisional Committee were instructed to draft a constitution and submit it to a general meeting for approval. It was decided to make the annual subscription £3 3s., while the fee for associate members was fixed at £2 2s., and that of country members £1 1s. The secretary reported that already over 50 persons had signified their intention of joining…

Photo: Brisbane Telegraph, August 26, 1924.

It is interesting to note that Associates were able to join the club from its beginning.

The combination of local and Brisbane members was indicative of the importance of having a golf course to enhance the sporting offerings for tourists from Brisbane. The earliest golf carnivals were held at Christmas and Easter, when Southport had the greatest numbers of visitors.

Growth of the Club

In the space of a year, the Southport Golf Club had more than doubled its membership. On December 5, 1925, the Brisbane Courier noted, “the membership at the present is about 120, which includes full playing, associate, and country members, and the first annual meeting was held at the Pacific Hotel, Southport last night. Scott, the professional, is daily in attendance at the links, and members have the option of taking the lessons they wish at a nominal fee.”

In August 1924, the newly formed club planned to establish temporary links at the show grounds (now Owen Park), and they also played golf at the Southport links, our current site. South Coast Golf Recreations owned and ran the golf course at our current site and the Golf Club needed to work with the directors of that company to organise competitions. 

Disscussions with the Course Owner

In 1926 a meeting was held between the directors of South Coast Golf Recreations and the Southport Golf Club to discuss ways to streamline the administration of golf competitions as both South Coast Golf Recreations and the Golf Club were organising events. The meeting decided that the Southport Golf Club would have control of the competitions and improvements at the links, but the directors of South Coast Golf Recreations controlled the expenditure of money on the course.

Photo: Brisbane Courier, May 24 ,1926.

Our first Captain, J. N. (Jack) Radcliffe

John Norman Radcliffe became the Southport Golf Club’s first Captain in 1924 and held the position until 1928.

Early Years

Jack Radcliffe was born in Queensland in 1894. He was educated at the Brisbane Grammar School and was awarded a Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Classics from the University of Queensland. He was also a talented tennis player who represented Queensland in tennis from 1912 to 1914 and was State Tennis Champion in 1921.

In 1914, Radcliffe was selected as a Rhodes Scholar. He was studying at Balliol College, Oxford, when war broke out in 1914 and he then enlisted in the Royal Garrison Artillery of the British Army. He was sent with the British Expeditionary Force to the Western Front, rising to the rank of Captain. In 1917 he was awarded the Military Cross.

After the war, he returned to Oxford to continue his studies and he represented the university at tennis and golf. He returned to Brisbane in 1919, working for the Department of Education. He joined the Brisbane Golf Club in 1922.

Golfing Prowess

Queensland Open Amateur Champion 1924, 1926, 1927, 1928.
Queensland Open winner 1933 as an amateur, defeating the professionals.
Queensland Foursomes Amateur Champion 1933, 1935. 

Radcliffe distinguished himself quickly as a fine golfer on his return to Queensland. He came second in the Queensland Amateur championship in 1923 and then set about developing his stroke to achieve more flight in his shots. In 1924, he won the Amateur Championship by eight strokes.

In the 1920s, Radcliffe played off a scratch handicap and even in the 1950s, his handicap was three. 

Jack Radcliffe won many trophies at Southport. In 1929, he was Southport Golf Club Champion and he set two records on the one day while playing with the club professional, Mr Scott – best 18-hole score of 68 strokes and best nine-hole score of 31 strokes, remembering that the 18 holes were two loops of the nine-hole course. A score of 31 strokes was eight under par. 

In 1948, The South Coast Bulletin reported, “Radcliffe has always been regarded as one of the sweetest iron players this State has produced.” In 1949 he won the President’s Trophy, and he was still playing A grade pennants for Southport.

Role at Southport Golf Club

Radcliffe was at the forefront of the group who worked to create the Southport Golf Club in 1924. He visited the site of the current course in January 1924 before attending the meeting where the Southport Golf Club was formed in August 1924.

Radcliffe was the first Captain of Southport Golf Club from 1924 to 1928. He went on to serve as Handicapper as well as participating on other committees, such as the Greens Committee.

In 1938, Radcliffe was one of the leaders of the club, when they leased the course from Southport Golf Recreations and changed the name of the club to Greater Southport Golf Club.

Career at The Southport School

Jack Radcliffe joined the teaching staff of The Southport School as senior master in 1923, after four years with the Department of Education in Brisbane.

Radcliffe served with distinction at The Southport School. He was installed as Headmaster in 1940, taking charge from 1941 until 1950. Radcliffe chose to step down as Headmaster in 1950, believing it was time for a younger person to take over the reins of the school. He continued to serve on staff as a senior master until his death in 1963.

Jack Radcliffe was considered a brilliant scholar, sportsman and administrator.

The first Club House 1925

The construction of the first club house was mentioned in the newspapers in March 1925.

In May 1925, the Daily Mail stated, “An up-to-date club house is at present in the course of erection, and this should add considerably to the attractions of the links. This building will be of a most unique design, its shape being that of a cross, with a roof in keeping with such a quaint building.”

The club house cost £1,000 to build. According to the Brisbane Courier on December 5, 1925, “[The club house] provides dressing rooms and locker accommodation, together with showers and a septic system. The entrance is through a vestibule, which opens on either side to the dressing rooms, and the bar accommodation is to the rear, with a kitchen at the back.”

The first club house was in use from 1925 to 1950. By 1950, it was in quite a state of disrepair and was substantially renovated.

The Easter Classic

The Easter Classic in recent years has been a two day open single Stableford competition, held on Easter Sunday and Easter Monday. It has been popular with both members and guests from other courses.

2024 Easter Carnival

In 2024, there will be a slightly different format to respect the history of the first time golf was played at Southport – Easter 1924. We will have a nine-hole tournament on Easter Sunday, which honours the fact that Southport was initially a nine-hole course. Included will be the opportunity to use hickory clubs like the ones that were in use in 1924.

Easter celebrations of golf

Easter Tournaments have been a constant part of the history of Southport Golf Club. The Program from 1925 (see image) highlights the variety of competitions held for members and visitors to the Club over the Easter weekend. Easter was always a time when there were many visitors to the South Coast area and golf was one of the range of sporting events on offer.

The weather

Through the history, it has been evident that a number of Easter carnivals were affected by the weather. In 1925, the first day of the carnival was washed out. This is something we all can relate to in the modern era.

Back to top of page.