History of Purdue Golf

PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM
PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM

PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM

John Konsek was a first-team All-American selection three times as a Boilermaker.

Purdue's golf program teed off with a dual match victory over Michigan in 1921. Since that initial match, the Boilermakers' golf program, powered by 26 All-Americans, has steamed to the highest peaks of collegiate golf, including its current standing as one of the nation's top programs.

A member of the most prestigious and competitive athletic conference in collegiate sports, the Big Ten, Purdue has won 12 league championships, second most in the conference. In addition, the Boilermakers have had 13 individual champions.

In the 58 years from 1947 to 2005, Purdue has built its reputation as a national championship contender year in and year out by qualifying for 28 NCAA Championships.

Current head coach Devon Brouse acknowledges the Boilermakers impressive history of excellence in golf.

"Purdue golf has a long and storied tradition, particularly highlighted in the 1950s, 1960s and today," Brouse said. "It's hard to say there was a better program in the country over those two decades."

Sam Voinoff, a former star football player for Purdue, took over the golf program in 1951. With Voinoff at the helm, the team became a national powerhouse.

Sam Voinoff coached four individual champions and the 1960 team national champion Boilermakers in 23 years as head coach of Purdue.

During the 1950s, the Boilermakers finished in the top 10 nine times, including three second-place finishes.

In addition to the elite team finishes, Purdue saw four Boilermaker golfers win NCAA individual championships from 1950 to 1960.

Fred Wampler became Purdue's first individual champion in 1950. Four years later, Don Albert was medalist at the 1954 NCAA Championships. The next year, Joe Campbell won the NCAA Championships representing Purdue.

Gene Francis was the last Purdue golfer to be medalist at the NCAA Championships, when he topped the field in 1960.

On top of those four, John Konsek was a first team All-America selection three-straight years from 1958 to 1960.

Brouse was very impressed with Purdue while he was growing up.

"In the 1950s and 1960s when people mentioned Purdue golf, they were talking about a dominant program in all aspects," said Brouse. "They were an amazing team led by phenomenal golfers."

Purdue claimed its first national championship in 1961 in West Lafayette, Ind., capping off a drive to the top of collegiate golf.

The Boilermakers continued to rack up top-10 finishes throughout the entirety of the 1960s. They qualified for the NCAA Championships nine times, and besides their championship year, they boasted a second-place finish in 1960, and two fourth-place finishes in 1965 and 1967.

Fred Wampler was Purdue's first individual national champion in 1950.

Voinoff retired in 1971, which undoubtedly led to Purdue's hiatus from the top of collegiate golf.

Coach Brouse admired what Voinoff was able to do as coach of Purdue.

"To develop the consistency to take a program to 18 out of 20 NCAA Championships is phenomenal and what every coach strives to accomplish," said Brouse. "On top of that you have to consider that he turned four players into individual champions. That makes it all the more impressive."

Following the retirement of Voinoff, who steered Purdue to 10 Big Ten titles in his amazing 23 years in control, Purdue only made one NCAA Championships appearance from 1972 to 2000.

In 1998, Purdue Athletics Director Morgan Burke sought an individual who could not only manage the newly built Kampen Course and Birck Boilermaker Golf Complex, but lead the Boilermakers back to national prominence.

First, Purdue looked to upgrade its facilities. Kampen Course was designed by famed course designer and honorary Purdue alumnus Pete Dye. It is ranked one of the top 10 collegiate golf courses in the United States. In 2003, Kampen Course hosted the women's national championship, and the men's national championship will be held there in 2008.

Lee Williamson was a first-team All-American selection as well as Big Ten Player of the Year in 2002.

The latest addition to the Birck Boilermaker Golf Complex is the Tom Spurgeon Training Center. The center includes an indoor putting green, a swing-analysis video computer system, and multiple heated hitting bays and a 4,000 square-foot indoor putting green that allow players to work on their game year round. Outside there is a private driving range with over 50,000 square feet of tee areas and 24,000 feet of putting greens.

Once the Birck Boilermaker Golf Complex became a reality, Burke needed a coach to lead his revamped golf program. Brouse was hired before the 1998-99 season.

Brouse came to Purdue from North Carolina with an impressive resume. He led the Tar Heels to 19 NCAA Championships appearances in 21 seasons.

Brouse wasted little time putting Purdue golf back on the map. In his third season, he led the Boilermakers back to the NCAA tournament.

Brouse thinks Purdue's strong commitment to the golf program has been one of the reasons his teams are thriving again.

"We are very fortunate here at Purdue to have a tremendous commitment from everyone around the university and athletic department," Brouse said. "Our facilities are among the best in collegiate golf. We have first-class courses, which are right next to our campus. We have a brand new training center and play one of the most competitive schedules in the country."

In his seven years at Purdue, Brouse has coached four All-American selections, highlighted by Lee Williamson, a first-team selection and Big Ten Player of the Year in 2002.

Head coach Devon Brouse has turned Purdue Golf back into one of the best programs in the nation.

In addition, he has instilled the year in and year out consistency that Voinoff's Purdue teams displayed in the 1950s and 1960s.

Brouse hopes to hold Purdue's place among the elite steady.

"We want to continue to try and attract the best young players in the world to play here at Purdue," said Brouse. "Our commitment to excellence is unwavering."

Now riding with the momentum of being one of just 14 programs to have appeared in four of the last five NCAA Championships, it is easy to see that Brouse has Purdue golf firmly established as one of the best programs in the nation.