Dow Finsterwald already had carved his place in Golf history when the Broadmoor came calling in 1963. Five years earlier, at age 28, he had won The PGA Championship and was named Golf Player-of-the-Year. Still, he realized fame was fleeting and life on the Tour wasn’t easy. So, when the Broadmoor called, he listened.
The Broadmoor needed a head pro, a Director of Golf. Dow knew little about the Broadmoor,
but when he found out the fabled resort had only two head pros in a 50-year span, he liked the security that came with the offer. After negotiating an arrangement that gave him the flexibility to continue playing Tour events, Finsterwald came to Colorado Springs in December of 1963. The job was, in his words, “a good fit.” When he retired some 29 years later, he was an integral part of the rich Broadmoor golf tradition and, along the way, he helped put Colorado on the golfing map.
Finsterwald came out of Athens, Ohio and played college golf at Ohio University. He turned
professional in 1951, winning the first of his 12 Tour victories in 1955. From 1955 through
1960, he finished second or third on the money list every year. He had 40 Top 5 finishes and won at least once every year during that span. In 1957, he won the Vardon Trophy for the lowest scoring average on Tour and in 1958, he was named Player of the Year. Finsterwald also made 72 consecutive cuts, still the fifth-best all-time total on the PGA Tour.
Finsterwald won one Major in his career, the 1958 PGA Championship at Llanerch Country
Club near Pittsburgh. It was the first PGA Championship played with stroke play instead of
match play and it was the first PGA Championship on television.
Finsterwald was named to every U.S. Ryder Cup team from 1956 to 1964 and would post a
personal 9-3-1 Ryder Cup mark. That success helped him later as Ryder Cup Captain. In 1977, Finsterwald’s team defeated Great Britian and he ended his Ryder Cup career (as player and captain) with a 5-0 record.
In 1971 and 1972, he was elected President of the Colorado PGA. From 1976 to 1978,
Finsterwald served as Vice-President of the PGA of America. In 1978, he was inducted into the Colorado Golf Hall of Fame. He also served on the USGA Rules Committee from 1979 to 1981.
From the late 1970’s through the 1990’s, he worked behind the scenes, helping Colorado
land the 1978 U.S. Open, the 1985 PGA Championship, the 1993 U.S. Senior Open and the
1995 U.S. Women’s Open.
Today, Dow and his wife Linda spend their winters in Florida and their summers in
Colorado. In recent years, Dow has been a celebrity spokesman for the Rio Grande Golf Club in South Fork, Colorado.
Finsterwald calls his selection to the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame “quite special,” saying
“You don’t realize what a thrill it is — until you see those who were inducted before you came along and the others in the Class of 2008.”
Just like the Broadmoor 45 years ago, Dow Finsterwald and the Colorado Sports Hall of
Fame are “a good fit.”
He was an integral part of the rich Broadmoor golf tradition.