In the News

Bill Johnston to Receive the Johnny Bulla Award at Arizona Golf Hall of Fame Ceremony

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Longtime Southwest PGA Professional Bill Johnston has been named the recipient of the 2017 Johnny Bulla Award. The award, named after the legendary local and national player, is presented to an individual who has displayed exemplary talent on the golf course during their career.  Johnston will be honored at the Arizona Golf Hall of Fame ceremony on November 21.

“The Southwest PGA is honored to recognize Bill Johnston as the recipient of the Johnny Bulla Award,” said Jamey Lewis, President of the Southwest PGA. “Bill’s tremendous career as a PGA Golf Professional, PGA Tour player and golf course architect is very impressive. His playing accomplishments in the Southwest PGA, and on a national level, exemplify the award’s namesake Johnny Bulla.”

Born in Donora, Pa., Johnston, 92, relocated to Odgen, Utah when he was four years old. His interest in golf began at the age of ten when he started caddying at the local golf club.  Using borrowed clubs, Johnston played on and off as a teenager before joining the Navy following high school.  He served in World War II on a submarine until he decommissioned his last submarine in May of 1946 and decided he was going to become a golf professional.

Johnston attended the University of Utah and was the captain of the golf team for three years. After winning the Utah Amateur Championship, he was invited to play in his first PGA Tour event in 1946 as an amateur at Salt Lake C.C in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Following an impressive amateur career, Johnston turned professional in 1950. He went on to play in all four majors – finishing T28 in the 1957 Masters, T32 in the 1963 U.S. Open, T26 in the 1960 Open Championship and T3 in the 1956 PGA Championship. He also competed in 24 Phoenix Open Championships. His two victories on the PGA Tour came in the 1958 Texas Open Invitational (now the Valero Texas Open) and the 1960 Utah Open Invitational. Johnston and Johnny Bulla both played in the 1964 Open Championship at St. Andrews in Scotland.

Johnston won numerous events in the Southwest PGA including the Arizona Open Championship three times (1961, 1967, 1972) and back-to-back Southwest PGA Championships in 1961-62.  In total, he won 11 state open championships, including the Colorado Open in 1973, the Colorado PGA Championship in 1972 and two Utah PGA Championships.

Earning his membership in the PGA of America in 1955, Johnston served as the PGA Head Golf Professional at Arizona C.C. from 1961-1967 and as a PGA Teaching Professional at Paradise Valley C.C. from 1971-1975. During that time, Johnston began to design golf courses as an architect in Arizona and Texas, including the Links Course at the Arizona Biltmore G.C., Lookout Mountain G.C. in Phoenix, and Rancho Manana G.C in Cave Creek, Ariz.

Johnston was honored as the 1963 Southwest PGA Golf Professional of the Year, the highest honor bestowed upon a Professional. He was inducted into the Utah Golf Hall of Fame in 1994.

About The Southwest Section PGA:
The Southwest Section of the PGA of America is a professional organization serving the men and women golf professionals in Arizona and Southern Nevada who are the recognized experts in growing, teaching and managing the game of golf. The Southwest PGA is responsible for the administration of competitive golf tournaments, junior golf programs and events, educational opportunities, support programs and growth of the game initiatives. With 1263 members and apprentices, the Southwest PGA is the fifth largest of the 41 regional entities or Sections that comprise the PGA of America.  For more information about the Southwest PGA, please visit and join us on social media at and

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