Johnny Paulk was born in Valdosta and attended Albany High School, where he lettered in both football and baseball.
He became the head golf professional at Jekyll Island Golf Club in 1968. He also later became the director of golf and tennis on Jekyll Island and remained in that role until his retirement a few years ago.
Paulk, who was an assistant professional at the prestigious East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta before he came to Jekyll Island, has taught and promoted golf to thousands of golf enthusiasts during his longtime service to the game on the Georgia coast.
Paulk has been honored with numerous accolades as a golf professional, including both the Governor’s Award and Governor’s Faithful Service Award and also the President’s Award from the Georgia PGA. He won the Public Merchandiser of the Year Award from the Georgia PGA three times and was nominated for the PGA of America National Merchandiser of the Year Award in 1993.
Also, Paulk was named the Georgia PGA Eastern Chapter’s Golf Professional of the Year twice and was named Spalding’s Professional of the Year for the Southeastern Region in 1993.
Paulk has served as an announcer at the Masters Tournament since 1979, first on the ninth green before moving to the 18th green in 1998 where he remains today. He also has served as an announcer for the Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf, U.S. Kids Golf European Championship in Scotland and the local McGladrey Classic tournament.
Paulk was co-founder of the annual Georgia-Florida Golf Classic which has been held every fall since 1979 on Jekyll Island in conjunction with the annual Georgia-Florida football game in Jacksonville. The tournament included 40 players the first year, but quickly became one of the largest golf tournaments in the state, having included more than 600 players for several years.
Paulk was inducted into the Georgia Golf Hall of Fame in 2009.
In 2011, he was honored with the Calvin Lee Murray Award from the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association for his commitment to promote, preserve and strengthen the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association with activities that foster positive influences on both coaches and athletes in Georgia. Jekyll Island was the longtime host of the Georgia High School Association’s largest classification state boys’ golf tournament and now hosts the Johnny Paulk Invitational high school tournament each spring.
In 2013, Paulk was presented with the “Erk Russell Spirit Award” by the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame for his sportsmanship and character in the game of golf for so many years.
Paulk became a member of the PGA of America in 1963 and now has a lifetime membership in the organization.