University Advancement

Steve Sharf Clubhouse celebrates 10th Anniversary

icon of a calendarJune 22, 2022

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Steve Sharf Clubhouse celebrates 10th Anniversary
Steve Sharf Clubhouse celebrates 10th Anniversary
Located on a small hill overlooking the R&S Sharf and Katke-Cousins golf courses on the campus of Oakland University, the Steve Sharf Clubhouse is celebrating its 10-year anniversary this month.

Located on a small hill overlooking the R&S Sharf and Katke-Cousins golf courses on the campus of Oakland University, the Steve Sharf Clubhouse is a beautiful reflection of the generosity of Stephan Sharf and Patti Finnegan Sharf.

As a grateful community celebrates the clubhouse’s 10-year anniversary this June, it stands fulfilling its donors’ vision of serving as a picturesque gathering place for golfers, faculty and staff, university donors, and members of the community.

Steve Sharf Clubhouse celebrates 10th Anniversary
Breaking ground in 2011

Historic Gift Brings Vision to Life

Ground broke for the Steve Sharf Clubhouse in October 2011 after five years of careful deliberation, designing and revising.

Designed by Birmingham architectural firm Niagara Murano and home to Patti Finnegan’s Pub & Grille, the three-story clubhouse features the restaurant, popular outdoor porch, and golf pro shop on the first floor. The second floor houses the men’s and women’s locker rooms and a technically efficient board room, frequented throughout the years by the university’s trustees, deans, university donors and community members.

A favorite among affiliates, a wall-sized, real-swing golf simulator resides in the lower level of the clubhouse. The simulator uses machine vision cameras to capture the player’s swing and the travel path of the ball, and renders the action in a video that players can use to improve their skills.

Bill Rogers, the golf and managing director of OU’s Golf and Learning Center, has been instrumental in the success of OU’s golf program for 45 years. A longtime friend of Steve and Patti, he is grateful for the couple’s vision to create the one-of-a-kind clubhouse.

“Steve and Patti wanted to provide a clubhouse where golfers, the community, OU’s campus community, and potential donors could experience the greatness of the university and imagine its future potential,” he says.

“Since the clubhouse opened in June 2012, we have seen steady growth in community golf affiliates and an increase in visitors who enjoy spending time at Patti Finnegan’s Pub & Grille,” Rogers continues.

Annual round count at the university’s golf courses has increased from 34,000 to 48,000, and affiliate count has soared from 552 to 844 in the decade since the clubhouse was built.

Sharf was also the lead donor in funding Oakland’s second golf course, the world-class R&S Sharf Golf Course, designed by famed golf course architect and teacher Rick Smith, which opened in August 2000.

“Steve was passionate about Oakland University and saw that the first golf course helped get people on campus, and with the R & S Sharf course addition in 2000 and then the Sharf Clubhouse addition in 2012, an even larger contingent within the donor community would be interested in the many opportunities that Oakland’s faculty and the campus had to offer,” says Rogers.

Steve and Patti were on hand for the grand opening celebration of the clubhouse in June 2012.

The ribbon cutting, referred to by many as “the event of the season” drew a crowd of 300 people under overcast skies. Not to be deterred by bad weather, Steve Sharf said during his speech, “We have to hold our hands up, so the storm will stop.” The threatening clouds quickly dispersed to the delight of attendees.

Mr. Sharf died a year later at 92.

Steve Sharf Clubhouse celebrates 10th Anniversary
Patti Finnegan Sharf and Steve Sharf

Steve Sharf Clubhouse Celebrates Milestone Anniversary

This June marks the 10-year anniversary of the Steve Sharf Clubhouse. This milestone occasion provides the perfect opportunity to recognize and thank Steve Sharf and Patti Finnegan Sharf for their innovative vision, which has served to bring people together in many meaningful ways throughout the past decade.

Recently, a $1 million expansion of the clubhouse doubled its outdoor patio space. Now, more guests can enjoy the 360-degree views of the golf course while dining, meeting or socializing.

The new patio will open this summer.

Patti Finnegan Sharf has remained engaged with the clubhouse and continues to inspire activities that impact its patrons. She discusses menu selections with catering staff and can often be found playing bridge in the board room or dining with friends at “The Table of Wisdom,” a corner table, aptly named by her husband, where the couple shared many meals.

Remembering Stephan Sharf, Philanthropist and Friend

Stephan Sharf at Oakland University
(Boards, Committees and Honors)

• Chairman, Meadow Brook Music Festival

• Lifetime member, President’s Club

• Member, SEC Advisory Board

• Member, OU Board of Trustees

• Director, OU Foundation

• Member, President’s Campaign Council

• Member, SECS Creating the Future Task Force

• Member, Steering Committee

• Recipient OUAA Honorary Alumni Award, 2008

• Recipient, Honorary Degree – Doctor of Science, 2007

• Recipient, OUAA Spirit Award, 1998

The generosity of Steve Sharf and Patti Finnegan Sharf extends well beyond the boundaries of the golf course and has played a major part in building OU’s rankings and enhancing the academic experience of its students.

Sharf’s legacy of giving to OU is a decades-long story. He and first wife, Rita Sharf, a member of the Advisory Board to Meadow Brook Theatre, began making donations to the university in 1973 to support the Meadow Brook Theatre and the Meadow Brook Music Festival.

As their relationship with OU grew, their giving expanded into other areas that aligned with their passions, primarily engineering and golf. In 2000, the couple provided lead funding for OU’s world-class R&S Sharf Golf Course. Following Rita Sharf’s death in 2001, Mr. Sharf continued to give annually.

Steve Sharf later married Patti Finnegan Sharf who joined him in envisioning a transformative $21 million gift, the largest single gift from an individual in Oakland University history, to support the Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine (OUWB), the School of Engineering and Computer Science, student scholarships and, of course, the golf course.

In addition to the generous monetary gifts Sharf bestowed upon the university, he was also generous with his time and expertise. He served as a university trustee, board vice chair, and a member of both the OU Foundation and the School of Engineering and Computer Science Advisory Board.

As an executive vice president of Chrysler, he had a significant role in acquiring the property for the company’s Auburn Hills headquarters and stewarding many OU gifts from the automaker.

The Auburn Hills building where he spent 25-years of his career is highly visible from the Steve Sharf Clubhouse.

Rogers credits Mr. Sharf’s vision and generosity in attracting donor and community interest in the university and believes his leadership has played a major role in forming the Oakland University we know and love today. The clubhouse, in particular, held special meaning for the philanthropist.

“On six or seven occasions, he would look over the landscape with the Chrysler building in view and say, ‘I can see all my life’s accomplishments from this deck, I just love standing here,’” recalls Rogers.

To learn more about the Steve Sharf Clubhouse or make a reservation at Patti Finnegan’s Pub and Grille, visit

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