To spend as much time at the golf course as Tom O’Halloran did in 2014, you have to be single, retired and a little crazy. O’Halloran confesses to all three. The Wescott Golf Club member posted 321 scores in the club’s handicap computer last year, tying with Spartanburg’s Ben Shoaf for the most golf rounds played in the Carolinas. Leonard Potvin of Summerville Country Club was seventh on the list with 292.
O’Halloran didn’t play golf every day in 2014, but he didn’t miss many.
“He books the first two tee times every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. Then on Tuesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays he plays in our blitz,” said Ron Hulscher, who works in the Wescott pro shop. “He never misses unless it’s snowing, raining or some other weather thing.”
For those who know O’Halloran, it’s no surprise that the 66-year-old retired government contractor and Navy veteran played so many rounds of golf last year.
In 2012, O’Halloran set a goal of playing at least 366 rounds and reached that with two to spare.
“It was a bear,” laughed O’Halloran. “Basically, the next year I set my goal at one and got that out of the way on Jan. 1. I ended up playing about 340 rounds. (In 2014) I put 321 rounds in the (handicap) system. I probably played 331. When I play in a scramble, I don’t put a score in.
“I actually do have a goal this year, to play with less than four dozen golf balls. That’s not going too good.”
O’Halloran said it isn’t about the number of rounds. He just enjoys the game and the camaraderie.
“I play with the same guys every week, but not the same ones every day. Some are married, some have jobs and some are married and have jobs. So they don’t play as much as I do,” said O’Halloran, who lives near the seventh hole at the North Charleston club.
His nearest challenger at Wescott was Bob Durand, a regular in O’Halloran’s group, who recorded 182 rounds in 2014. The Guinness World record is held by Canadian Chris Adam, who in 2014 played 809 full rounds, along with seven half rounds, at the King Kamehameha Golf Club in Wailuku, Hawaii.
O’Halloran didn’t play golf until moving to Charleston eight years ago. He was a fisherman in search of a good place to wet a line when he retired. He bought a house in Wescott Plantation and began investigating the “big white building” that is Wescott’s clubhouse. He joined the club and began playing two or three times a week. O’Halloran said he added Saturdays and Sunday the next year and then every day the following year, and the next thing he knew he was playing more than 300 rounds of golf a year.
He doesn’t like to practice, and pointed out that two years ago he purchased a pass entitling him to 20 buckets of range balls and he still has those 20 buckets at his disposal.
“I have a 15 handicap now. I got down to 11 last year,” he said, adding that the cold weather months are more troublesome because he isn’t a long hitter. “I have a long-term goal of getting down to single digits.”
O’Halloran has twice shot 73s on the par-72 course and made his first hole in one last August at Wescott.
“Since I moved here, I’ve been out deep sea fishing twice for mahi mahi (dolphinfish),” O’Halloran said. “I have a retention pond in my backyard that is stocked with bass. My perfect day I would have a cup of coffee, walk 30 yards out to the pond and catch three or four bass and then come over to the golf course for a 7 o’clock tee time. That’s an ideal day.”