As self-proclaimed “greenkeeper” at Briarwood CC in Deerfield, IL, for more than 47 years, Paul Voykin was more than just the head golf course superintendent. During a distinguished career, the native of Canada became recognized across the country as an innovator and ambassador for the move toward more environmentally-friendly natural areas so prevalent on American golf courses today.
Born in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Paul began his career as a golf course superintendent serving as an assistant at Olympia Fields CC in Olympia Fields, IL. Following his apprenticeship and a brief stint as the head superintendent at Calumet CC, Paul was hired by Briarwood CC in 1961 to serve as their head superintendent, where he remained until his retirement in 2008.
While at Briarwood, Paul would come to be recognized as the leader among his local and nation peers in the movement to more naturally maintained areas on the golf course. His mantra of “overgrooming is overspending” became the tenet of fellow superintendents across the country and was one of the driving forces behind the wide expansion and development of natural habitat areas throughout courses. As part of his philosophy, Paul was decades ahead of his time in calling for the use of less chemicals in the day-to-day maintenance of a golf course.
Voykin has published numerous articles and books on the environmental and economical benefits of his practices, and in 2003 was named Superintendent of Year by the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA).