Tom HALIBURTON


Date of Birth - 1915

Died - 1975

Place of Birth - Rhu, Dunbartonshire, Scotland

Turned Pro -


Son of Mr and Mrs Robert Haliburton, he was born Thomas Bruce

 Haliburton in Ardencaple Cottage, Rhu, and lived there for some years

 before the family moved to Loudon Cottage, Shandon, where he

 learned to play and love golf.

He once recalled: “I used to play around Shandon when I was quite

 young, and my playing took me into the vicinity of Shandon golf course

 which fascinated me.

“Shandon golf course was a very good course for learning on, and it is a

 pity that it has disappeared now. I can remember a big petition was

 drawn up when the course was threatened, but it was not saved.

“I went to Hermitage School in Helensburgh, and when I was 15 years-old

 I left school and began to learn the skills of a professional golfer.”

Tom became assistant to the professional at Haggs Castle in Glasgow

 and was there for four years, then moved on to Prestwick St Nicholas. He

 was also chief assistant to Henry Cotton in London for some time as well,

 being attached to Knowle, North Middlesex, Ashbridge and then

Wentworth.

He made his competitive mark in 1938 when he won both the West of

 Scotland and the Northern Open Championships.

When the Second World War broke out he joined the Royal Air Force as a

 physical training instructor, and when he married in 1941 he had attained

 the rank of Corporal. After the war ended he went back to his golfing

 career.

He was a very successful tournament player, winning the Daily Mail

 Tournament in 1949 and finishing runner-up in the PGA Matchplay

 Championship in 1957. He also won the Yorkshire Evening News

 Championship in 1963.

In 1952 he established a world record of 126 strokes for two rounds during

 the Spalding Tournament at Worthing. He had rounds of 61 and 65 in

 setting a British tournament record which has never been equalled.

Two years later Tom played for Scotland in the Canada Cup, and also to

 celebrate 50 years of golf at the Cardross club, he took part in an

 exhibition match with Dai Rees (South Herts), Fred Daly (Balmoral) and

 Peter Alliss (Ferndown), setting a new professional course record of 66.

In 1961 he played in the British Ryder Cup team which lost 14.5-9.5 to the

 United States at Royal Lytham and St Annes, and two years later he was

 in the British team which lost 23-9 at East Lake Country Club in Atlanta,

 Georgia.

In the first match he had the honour of playing the legendary Arnold

 Palmer in the singles, and lost 2 and 1. In all he played four foursomes

and fourballs, but never registered a win.

He said: “I had a good year for playing in 1963 and won a lot. I thought

 then that I had had enough and would retire from competitions while I

 was still at the top.”

In 1963 he carded 29 for the inward half at the Open at Royal Lytham,

 and he remains co-holder of the record for the lowest nine-hole score in

 the Open.

In 1969 he was captain of the Professional Golfers Association, and in 1973

 he was the non-playing captain of the British Club professionals team

 which played the United States.

He was professional at the exclusive Wentworth club at Virginia Water in

 Surrey from 1952 until his death in 1975.

 The club website says of him: “Tom Haliburton was a professional typical

 of his generation in that he combined his duties at the club with a long

 and successful professional tournament career.”

Tom established for the Wentworth club its professional line of succession

 in 1969 after he met Bernard Gallacher playing in his first Ryder Cup

 match at Royal Birkdale at Southport. But the circumstances of the

 handover in 1975 were uniquely tragic.

Aged 60, he had been thinking of retiring and had recommended

 Bernard to the club as his successor. Having just started a Saturday

 practice round with him on the club’s east course in February, he

 collapsed on the first green and died. He was survived by his wife and a

 married daughter.

He was considered an excellent coach of young players and was always

 keen to encourage them, and his name is remembered every year

 when the junior golfers of the Cardross and Helensburgh clubs compete

 for the coveted Tom Haliburton Trophy.


ACHIEVEMENTS


Ryder Cup  1961, 1963

World Cup 1954


1938  West of Scotland Champion

1938  Northern Open Champion

1957  PGA Match Play Championship Runner-up

1963  Yorkshire Evening News Champion

1949  Daily Mail tournament Champion


Souvenir Programme and Scorecard from an Exhibition Match at Bath

 Golf Club 28 August 1948 featuring Tom Haliburton, Alfred Padgham,

 Sam King and E Beecham


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