Tom O’Hara’s influence on golf began in 1895 and will last forever in Colorado. As a boy, he was a runner for a New York bond house on Wall Street. One day, his boss took him along to Brooklyn’s Dyker Meadow Country Club to caddie, and there he stayed, soon becoming caddiemaster. In 1910, Frank Woodward, then president of Denver Country Club, was so impressed by O’Hara’s caddie-mastership at Apawamis Country Club in Rye, New York, that he brought him to Denver. From 1910-41, O’Hara was caddiemaster at Denver Country Club, and from 1941-47, he was the starter.
Tom O’Hara trained thousands of caddies during his 51-year career, and he claimed not to have had one bad one in the bunch. Allowing caddies to play their courses without charge on Monday mornings was a result of Tom’s promotion. Prizes were donated by members for winners in an annual caddie tournament and many country clubs throughout the nation thought enough of the idea to follow suit.
Tom O’Hara lived and wrote the Caddie Rules. Authored during his tenure at Denver Country Club, they were requested nationally and internationally and are in effect today. When asked why he did not copyright the rules, he replied, “It’s because I want them to be used by everybody. It’s my contribution to golf.”
Between 1900 and 1946, O’Hara assisted in no less than 15 major national tournaments, not the least of which was the National Open. However, none of his family can recall that Tom ever played a single round of golf.