My Story

Jean Johnston

Concord Monitor Online
Passion becomes business

Author(s): BARBARA JOHNSON / Date: June 13, 2005
Page: 01 / Section: Sports

It isn’t often that a 60-year-old woman decides to make a career out of golf. But Jean Johnston isn’t your ordinary woman, though she married and raised a family the traditional way. Then, newly single, she went to work outside her home.

Sixteen years later, Johnston had risen to sales territory manager for a large industrial manufacturer when she and several other long-timers were urged to take early retirement. That left her with more than enough free time for her favorite recreation -golf. And that’s when she decided to make it her business.

Johnston had been an outstanding amateur from the get-go six years earlier, when she first joined Plausawa Valley Country Club Now (now Pembroke Pines) in Pembroke as a raw beginner. How talented she was quickly became clear in our first outing together -a point-quota where she was assigned a beginner’s 40-handicap as the base for her final score. And though powerfully built, she did look like a beginner – especially putting – on that first hole. And then she drove the second green (a par-4) from the tee, parking the ball about 10 feet from the cup. And parred the hole. And when the round was over, Johnston had won the overall men and women’s championship and a new set of golf clubs.

Johnston continued to succeed in tournaments on the club and state amateur level, so teaching seemed a natural next step. After a year of classes, players’ exams and written exams, she was awarded a Class A Masters Certificate from the Professional Golf Teachers Association of America. (The full PGA program takes four years to complete and allows a professional to run a golf course, but Johnston was only interested in the teaching part, with time off to play golf herself.)

“I really wanted to teach,” she said. “But I quickly realized that if I did, I would have to give up my amateur status in tournaments. And I love playing competitive golf.

“I’m never going to be good enough to play at the professional level,” Johnston continued, “especially at my age. But I have a lot of fun at the amateur level. So, I decided to change direction. My whole life had been in sales and my passion is golf. So why not combine the two and sell golf products? That seemed to be a really natural thing to do.”

Having a Class A Masters Certificate is a very large advantage because it shows the depth of her knowledge about the equipment she sells through When Johnston attends the annual PGA show in Orlando, she is welcomed by the various manufacturers and could easily sign on to sell their products, but Jean is very careful in selecting only strong companies who offer real value to her customers.

“I’m finally doing something that I really love to do,” she said. “I’m calling on people that I enjoy talking to about a subject that I’m passionate about in a beautiful environment. It sure beats the smoke stacks of my former career.”

Copyright 2005 Concord Monitor

Playing golf