Joe Finger - 49 Courses

Golf architect Photo, Joe Finger

(1918 - 2003)

Born: Houston, Texas

Died: September 28, 2003 in Kerrville, Texas at age 85

Mr. Finger was a Texan. He was born in Texas, went to college in Texas, lived in Texas and retired to Kerrville, Texas in 1988.

Mr. Finger graduated from Rice Institute, now Rice University (BS in Chemical Engineering) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MS in Chemical Engineering Practice). He was a four year golf letterman at Rice, serving as Co-Captain of the 1939 golf team which won the Southwest Conference Championship.

In 1941 Mr. Finger began his professional career as a chemical engineer with Pan America Refining Corp. - now AMOCO. In spite of many attempts to get into the armed forces, he was consistently deferred by the Petroleum Administration for War. At War's end he received a `Letter of Appreciation` from the Petroleum Industry Committee for his war efforts.

After the war Mr. Finger entered the plastics industry, becoming one of the pioneers in developing a new product (fiberglass reinforced polyester panels) which are still in use to let light into metal industrial buildings and in greenhouses. The company, known as Corrulux, was later sold to Libbey-Owens-Ford Glass Co., where he remained as President of the Corrulux Division for four years. He held several patents on the manufacturing process of the product, which is used all over the world.

He then turned to his favorite pastime `golf` for his next venture. Golf course design has been his hobby for many years. He became Club Champion at Westwood Country Club in Houston at the age of 17, a championship held for 13 years. Starting out as an unpaid `superintendent` and doing all of the engineering work for the golf course architect hired by Westwood to add 9 holes to their course, he was recommended by the architect to apply for the course at Randolph Air Force base in San Antonio. He got the job. From that humble beginning he became one of the top golf course architects in the country.

His courses earned many honors over the 45 years he spent in the business. He designed courses from New York through the southeast, southwest and into California and Mexico. He also built nine courses for the Air Force. His consulting work took him to Canada, Puerto Rico, St. Croix, Spain, Italy & Germany. He was particularly honored when Byron Nelson asked him to help rebuild the 8th green at the Masters.

During his career he had been a member of the American Society of Golf Course Architects, Director of the National Club Association, a lifetime member of the national Society of Professional Engineers, and the `R` Association at Rice University where he received the Distinguished `R` Award for his continuing support of Rice Athletics and notable achievements in community and professional Life.

In 1988 he `retired` and moved to Kerrville, where he and Byron Nelson had designed the Riverhill Country Club golf course. He continued giving guidance in course maintenance and modernization to former clients requesting his assistance. His final undertaking was the complete remodeling of the Scott Schriener Municipal Golf Course for the City of Kerrville. The present course is a tribute to his talent in design, engineering, and supervision.

After his retirement Mr. Finger, who enjoyed and was very knowledgeable about music formed the Riverhill Pops Music Society, offering members the opportunity to enjoy classical and `Big Band` music at a monthly concert.

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