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Giving Thanks to My Golf Teacher

LPGA T&CP Hall of Fame member, Ann Casey Johnstone, 93, died Friday, March 21, 2014, at FirstHealth Hospice House, in Pinehurst, N.C. Ann was one of Iowa’s finest amateur golfers and long-time LPGA teaching and coaching professional.


Ann’s golf career followed two paths: first, as a distinguished amateur player (1941-1963), and, secondly, as a nationally recognized teaching professional (1964-2009). Between 1941 and 1959, she won the Iowa Women’s Amateur six times.


In 1957, she was awarded the Dorothy J. Manice trophy as the No. 1 amateur golfer in the United States, competing as a finalist in four of the nation’s major amateur tournaments for women, including the U.S. Amateur.


Before becoming a professional, she also won the North-South Championship (1959), the Trans-Mississippi (1959), and the Western Amateur (1960). She always said that the highlight of her golfing career was being named and playing on three U.S. Curtis Cup teams in 1958, 1960 and 1962.


In 1964, she returned to teaching at Stephens College, in Columbia, Mo., where she was also the coach of the golf team, and joined the LPGA. During the next 25 years, her teams made the NCAA championship on multiple occasions and, in 1986, she was inducted into The National Golf Coaches Association’s Coaches Hall of Fame. In 1976, Golf Digest named her one of the six best women’s golf teachers in America.


She traveled through the U.S. and Europe in summers with her fellow golf coach and LPGA teacher, Carol Clark Johnson, with whom she co-authored the book “Golf, A Positive Approach”.


Prior to, and after her move to Pinehurst, in 1994, she spent many days teaching in the golf schools at Pine Needles Lodges and Golf Club, owned by her close friend, Peggy Kirk Bell.


Her love of the teaching garnered her many awards, highlighted by her 2004 election into the LPGA Teaching and Club Professional Hall of Fame (inducted in 2006). She is also a member of the Iowa Sports Hall of Fame and Iowa Golf Hall of Fame, She also was the recipient of the Ellen Griffin Rolex Award for Excellence in Teaching (1996) and the Gladys Palmer Rolex Meritorious Award for Excellence in Coaching (1997). She was a LPGA Life Member and a LPGA Master Professional.


Ann was born February 14, 1921, in Mason City, Iowa. She graduated from the University of Iowa in 1944.She is survived by her daughter, Jean Ann Grabias, and husband, Joseph, of Leesburg, Va.; two granddaughters, Lesley Grabias, of Washington, D.C., and Allison Pera (husband, Mark Pera), of St. Petersburg, Fla.; and many nephews and nieces who brought her much joy.

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