Edward A. Johnston, a vital part of the area golf scene for more than 50 years as a player and administrator, was inducted into the Middle Atlantic Golf Association's Hall of Fame during the organization's annual meeting Friday evening at Columbia Country Club in Chevy Chase.
It was a case of Johnston having the tables turned on him, for he is the head of the selection committee. "When Eddie told me he did not have a nominee for this year, I fired him, called a meeting of the selection committee and we elected him," past president Robert Brownell said in introducing the Baltimore native.
His distinguished playing career began with a victory in the 1938 Baltimore City Junior Open, an event that Max Elbin, head professional at the Burning Tree Club for 45 years, remembers as his first tournament.
Along the way, Johnston, 69, has won his share of tournaments, and qualified for every United States Golf Association event for which he has been eligible. His best USGA efforts were in the U.S. Amateur, a championship for which he qualified 11 times and one in which he reached the fourth round once, and the third round another time.
Johnston won seven club championships as a member of the Country Club of Maryland and another club title at Baltimore Country Club.
As an administrator, Johnston initiated the Baltimore City Amateur championship, and the Mason-Dixon matches that annually send the best Middle Atlantic amateurs against the best Philadelphia amateurs.
He is a past president of the Maryland State Golf Association and has served as a vice president of several regional and national associations. An attorney, he is the current general counsel for the MAGA.
"Golf is a game you can play all your life," Johnston said in his brief remarks. "I started when I was 5, and my father played until he was 88.
"Golf to me is a game you can play often, but never conquer, play by yourself and enjoy it; play with anyone else and be reasonably even [using handicaps] -- I don't know about the rest of you but I couldn't play tennis with Ivan Lendl, for instance -- and where all playing fields and courts are pretty much alike, golf courses are unique . . . and beautiful."
Bill Strausbaugh, head professional at Columbia CC, was the featured speaker.
Stephen Isaacs of Richomnd, Va., and Willow Oaks CC, is the new president, succeeding David Halle of the Suburban Club. Baltimore area vice presidents are Robert Swindell Jr., Elkridge; Peter Urquhart, Baltimore CC, and Joel Kaye, Woodholme CC. George Taylor of Worthington Valley is the secretary.
This year's schedule:
May 9--Senior 4-ball, Elkridge; May 14--Past Presidents, Columbia CC; June 3--U.S. Open qualifying, Woodmont CC; July 11--Father-Son, site to be announced; July 15--U.S. Senior Open qualifying, Manor CC; Aug. 13--Junior Boys and Girls, Argyle CC; Aug. 26--U.S. Senior Amateur qualifying, Lakewood CC; Aug. 29--Senior championship, Willow Oaks CC; Sept. 4-5--Women's Amateur championship, Turf Valley CC; Oct. 3-6--Men's Amateur championship, CC of Virginia, Richmond; Oct. 12-13--Mason-Dixon matches, Philadelphia site.