Born in Beirut, he grew up in Michigan City and was a star athlete at Elston High. A football scholarship got him to Purdue, where he was a quarterback behind All-American Bob DeMoss. He also played golf for four years and was on the Boilers’ NCAA runner-up team in 1950.
For 12 years, he juggled working as a pharmacist and playing professional golf.
“My dad was one of the few master professionals in the country,” David said. “There was a time when everyone was trying to copy Jack Nicklaus. Then, in the mid-’80s, he found a different way.”
George stumbled onto the book “Swing the Clubhead,” by Earnest Jones. It was like a light came on.
“That became my dad’s foundation for teaching,” David said. “Relax your arms. Avoid mechanics. You have to be in constant motion, no stopping. If you can’t relax, or you stop your swing, you’re doomed to fail.”
One of his star pupils was Chris Smith from Rochester, who went on to a very good career on the PGA Tour.
Besides his playing and private teaching, George was the Notre Dame men’s golf coach from 1989-2001. Later in life, along with his son Joe, who is also a golf pro, George bought Brookwood Golf Course in Buchanan.
“That was one of his proudest moments,” David said. “He always wanted to own a course.”
“George was like a comfortable old shoe,” Fineran said. “You always loved to be around him because he made you feel so good.”
Not just because he bought lunch.