O’Hare (or O’Hara), Patrick

Patrick O’Hare was one of the three golfing professionals from the same family from Greenore. Born to Annie and John O’Hare, a railway labourer, from County Louth and Down respectively. There was eleven in the family altogether, four sons and five daughters. The eldest son was a carpenter for the railway.

Patrick was linked to Monkstown Golf Club and probably worked alongside his elder brother, Peter. Prior to travelling stateside, where he again linked up with his brother at Shackamaxon, he was engaged by the Dundalk Golf Club between 1917-1919.

By 1914 Patrick O’Hare was considered a formidable golfer and was considered Michael Moran’s greatest rival for title of best professional golfer in Ireland. The IPGA held a competition in Dollymount in 1914 and as anticipated Patrick took first prize.

‘What I can to today I can do tomorrow’

Paddy won the Irish Professional Championship in 1919 while attached to Dundalk. After the victory he went to America and became a professional at Shackamaxon and then Richmond County and Country Club.

By June 1920 Peter and Pat O’Hara, professionals at Shackamaxon, repeated on Sunday their previous victory over George Fotheringbam of Richmond County Country Club and Tom Mulgrew of Hackensack in a thirtv-six hole match at Shackamaxon. After a see saw battle in the first round, the O’Haras won the seventeenth and eighteenth to finish the eighteen holes two up. Futheringham and Mulgrew evened up on the sixth green in the afternoon round, but the home team ran away with the second nine in this round, winning 6 and 5.

1920 was the last year that saw Vardon team up with Ted Ray for one last tour of America and they lost to the two O’Hara brothers 6 and 5 at Shackamaxon CC. Ted Ray went on to win the US Open at Inverness that year by two shots from Jack Burke Snr. At the same venue the two brothers lost by one up to Abe Mitchell and George Duncan during their 1921 American tour.

While at Shackamaxon he entered the Shawnee Open where he took third place behing Jim Barnes and Ted Ray. His 69 in the final round was two strokes better than anyone else had managed during the tournament. The Americans called him Paddy O’ Hara and in 1922 he won the famous North and South Open at Pinehurst which was recalled in Professional Golfer of America Vol 2. for April 1922 and also New York Times on Sunday January 7th 1923.

After the victory he returned home for a two week holiday but stayed for the remainder of his life. Happy not to do anything further but give a few lessons was reluctantly persuaded to play again for the Irish Professional Championship in 1927 (although he was also runner-up the previous year at Malone GC) which he did win and returned to his leisurely lifestyle until his death in the late forties.

None other than the legendary Grantland Rice, writer and editor of The American Golfer, would recall O’Hare’s victory in the North and South Championship in 8 April 1922 edition.

Loses a 69, Yet Wins Championship. Pat O’Hara Accomplishes One of the Rarest Feats Ever Known in North and South Title Hunt

This feat consisted of winning a big championship twice from a field that included Hagen, Barnes, Hutchison and some of the finest professional stars in the game. It is hard enough to beat a field of this calibre once. But to triumph twice in two days is something else again. In the morning round of the North and South Championship, Jock Hutchison, with a 70 over the number three course, led O’Hara by three strokes. In the afternoon a young hurricane blew up, followed by a deluge. While the hurricane was in progress O’Hara startled the golf colony with a sensational 69, remarkable golf under fine conditions, but super golf with the tornado whistling over the course. Hutchison, catching the last four holes through the rain storm, moved up to 81. So here was O’Hara, 9 strokes in front of the field. But as the rain continued to beat down upon the course it soon became unplayable so the afternoon round was called off. Cracks Precedent

You can see the difference this made to O’Hara. In place of leading the field by nine strokes, with the second round called off he found himself trailing Hutchison by three strokes and both McLeod and Harmon by two strokes. Briefly the merry deluge made a difference of just twelve strokes to the Irish champion of 1913 (sic). He now had but thirty-six holes to play with good golfers in the way and his brilliant 69 of necessity thrown out the window. This ordinarily would have crushed even a fairly stout heart. But in place of bewailing his misfortune O’Hara, who had suffered most, said nothing but went to work next day with every shot he had to offer. After catching Hutchison in the forenoon round at 148, Patrick then ran away from the field with a fine 72 through a wind-blown journey. By hitting every shot with a confident Crispin ss and ramming his putts for the hole he evaded the treachery of the wind and led the field by four strokes. He had lost a 69, the finest round of the championship, and still had won with a good 4 strokes to spare above Clarence Hackney who finished in second place with 224. It might also be mentioned here that in completing the four rounds in 289 strokes, O’Hara also broke the old four-round championship record of 291 made by Jock Hutchison a year ago. The new champion played by far and away the best golf shown in the field. He has a clean, firm style of hitting with a swing that is compact and yet in no sense stiff or bound….. In America on deck. O’Hara’s victory over this select class with

the break in fortune against him was no small triumph. Near the finish of his final round when the pressure becames hardest, in place of weakening he put on added speed, going boldly for the sand on his second shots with no attempt to play safe. Few tournaments have been featured by a greater number of sensational strokes. Two of these fell to Walter Hagen and Joe Kirkwood. Finding themselves deep in the woods with the ball hi each case up against big pines, both made remarkable recoveries by taking a left-handed stance with a right-handed club, the toe of the blade being turned in. Each had to carry one hundred and forty yards over tall trees to reach the open from these unique positions, yet both carried up to the edge of the sand for their par 4©s where they might have easily taken anything from a 6 to an 8, if the left-handed wallop hadn’t come off perfectly.

Grantland Rice , Golf Illustrated: May 1922

As professional at Greenore from 1908-1909 (replacing Peter) he earned 9/- per week. Jimmy O’Hare replaced him albeit at 14/- per week.

In an Irish Port
Grew a stripling youngster
To six feet tall or a little more
He gazed on the greens
and strolled the fairways
In the lovely village of grand Greenore
As the years went by
He learned the game
Putting and driving for evermore
'Til the golfing world
Admired the prowess
Of Paddy O'Hare from grand Greenore
He matched the elite
Of Ireland's best
Then to America he sailed o'er
To play in their open
On the Pinehurst course
Went the gallant golfer from grand greenore
In brilliant form
He drove the fairways
To lead the field with the finest score
When a mighty storm
Cancelled the contest
For the unlucky golfer from grand Greenore
Around the Clubhouse
All felt sorry
For the frustration that he bore
What I did today
I can do tomorrow
Said the unruffled golfer from grand Greenore
Years have passed
But the memory lingers
Those words are now historic lore
What I can to today
I can do tomorrow
God rest you Paddy from fond Greenore
What I can do today
I can do tomorrow
Is a motto for your own heart's core
The greatest lesson
To win life's game
From the legendary golfer from the grand Greenore.

By Paddy O’Hare (not the golfer who’s the subject of the poem)

Reading Sources:

  • The American Golfer April 1922
  • The American Golfer 29 December 1923
  • Sean Breen: The Greenore Centenary 1896-1996
  • Greenore Golf Club: The O’Hare (O’Hara) Brothers