ASGCA Past President Clyde Johnston (Clyde Johnston Designs) has a most unique connection to Arnold Palmer, ASGCA. And a specific momento that has been part of the Johnston family for seven decades was recently presented to Wake Forest College Birthplace Museum.
Palmer gave his Wake Forest College golf coach, Johnny Johnston, his 1950 Most Outstanding Golfer trophy, then promptly left that school to join the Coast Guard. Palmer had just lost his dearest friend and golf teammate, Buddy Worsham, in a tragic car accident, and the personal accolade was a too bittersweet reminder of their kinship.
Johnston kept the trophy safe and cherished for over three decades, then upon his death in 1982 passed it to his son, golf course architect Clyde Johnston, who in turn has kept it safe and cherished in his office bookcase on Hilton Head Island.
Until this past spring, that is, when Johnston figured it was time for the trophy to go back home and to the museum that celebrates the origins of the Old Campus of the storied school.
“It has been an honor to be a steward of Mr. Palmer’s trophy, but it deserves to be shared with the thousands that are touched by his accomplishments, generosity and character,” says Johnston.
The trophy was accepted by Ed Morris, executive director of the Wake Forest Historical Museum & Wake Forest College Birthplace. Says Morris, “The town of Wake Forest is very grateful for the kind gesture from the Johnston family. The trophy will make a great addition to our museum case devoted to Arnold Palmer – a true place of honor.”
While Wake Forest College was founded in its namesake town in 1834, the campus was moved to Winston-Salem in 1956, where the school became a university.