Wichita teens earn scholarships via Chick Evans caddy program

chick circa 1910 cleaned up
The Chick Evans Scholarships are administered by the Evans Scholars Foundation and supported by the Western Golf Association, which joined with legendary amateur golfer Charles “Chick” Evans to establish the caddie scholarship program in 1930.

Waking up at 6 a.m. to carry golf clubs for more than four miles in the hot sun can be tiring, and the days are long. But when a full tuition and housing scholarship is on the line, the hard work is worth the effort.

That is exactly what more than 10,000 high school caddies nationwide, including four from Wichita and more than 100 from Kansas, have done in order to earn a once-in-a-lifetime shot at a full college scholarship.

This year, more than 910 deserving golf caddies across the country attended college on the Chick Evans Scholarship, one of the nation’s largest privately funded scholarship Programs. Supported by the Western Golf Association, the Scholarship provides full tuition and housing at leading universities across the country, including the University of Kansas. The requirements are straightforward: earn good grades, have a strong caddie record, demonstrate financial need and display outstanding character.

Wichita resident Michael Hurley, a 1981 Evans Scholar graduate who was awarded to Michigan State University, can attest to the role that caddying played in driving his success both on and off the golf course.

“Caddying has impacted where I am both professionally and personally today,” said Michael. “It instilled a strong work ethic in me and helped me develop interpersonal skills by working with successful men and women golfers. Because of caddying, I have an appreciation for the game of golf.”

Being a caddie was certainly a lot of work, but students were able to experience events they would not have had the opportunity to witness elsewhere. Michael’s favorite memory of his journey to receiving the Evans Scholarship was caddying for Canadian professional ice hockey player Gordie Howe (who is now retired). Gordie, a legend then, was gracious to Michael for his help on the golf course and has always been a great role model in Michael’s life.

While the early mornings were tough, Michael cannot put into words how thankful he is for receiving the Evans Scholarship.

“When I found out I received the Scholarship, I was awestruck and completely humbled,” said Michael. “The Evans Scholarship allowed me to go to a major university which had never been in my dreams before. At that time, I knew what a special privilege the Scholarship was, but looking back 35 years later, I realize that I had completely underestimated how excellent of an opportunity it was.”

Caddying offers more than merely summer employment for young men and women in Kansas. It allows exposure to successful role models, new friends and life lessons. The decision to become a caddie could be life-changing, just as it was for Michael.

To apply for the scholarship, applicants must have caddied regularly for a minimum of two years and are expected to caddie and/or work at their sponsoring club during the summer after they apply for the scholarship. To learn more, please visit
www.wgaesf.org.

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