Basalt High School senior Timothy Johnson spent five summers caddying at the Roaring Fork Club in Basalt and learned many lessons about responsibility and developing his work ethic.
What he didn’t see coming was that all of the hours he put in on the links would lead to an opportunity to earn a four-year scholarship to attend college.
Johnson is one of four high school seniors from the Roaring Fork Valley who earned four years of tuition to attend the University of Colorado through their work locally as caddies.
“Earning a scholarship like this is totally life-changing,” Johnson said. “This not only helps me, it really helps my parents. Now I don’t have to take on a bunch of student loans and my parents don’t have to worry about helping pay for my education. All those hours I put in as a caddie have definitely paid off.”
Roaring Fork High School’s Kyle Bruna, Alexandra Revilla Serrano and Johnson from Basalt High School, and Aspen High’s Audrey Sichel were all part of a group of students from Colorado who interviewed for the Chick Evans Caddie Scholarship, a full four-year housing and tuition scholarship awarded to golf caddies.
The interviews occurred on Jan. 29 at Cherry Hills Country Club near Denver where 14 caddies were awarded the scholarship and will attend the University of Colorado this fall.
For Sichel, learning that she was chosen to receive one of the scholarships was an emotional experience like none other in her life.
“When I saw the letter and read, ‘I am pleased to ...’ I literally flipped out,” Sichel said. “I was laughing and crying at the same time. I was set to apply for loans to go to college. It was such a life-changing moment. I’ve never seen my dad cry, and I saw tears in his eyes when he realized I was awarded the scholarship. I’ve never won anything in my life.”
Evans Scholars are chosen based on demonstrating a strong caddie record, excellent academics, demonstrated financial need and outstanding character. The four-year scholarship is valued at more than $80,000. Selected students will attend a university where the Foundation owns and operates an Evans Scholarship House, including the University of Colorado.
The Western Golf Association has administered the Chick Evans Scholarship Program through the Evans Scholars Foundation since 1930.
Bob Webster, the lead WGA director in Colorado and a Colorado Evans alumnus, said on the WGA website that the scholarships went to the right group of students.
“These young men and women are the embodiment of dedication, sacrifice and perseverance,” Webster said. “They have all worked tremendously hard to put themselves in this position, and are more than deserving of this life-changing gift. We congratulate them and look forward to watching them grow over the next four years.”
Scholarship funds come mostly from contributions by 26,000 golfers who are members of the WGA Evans Scholars Par Club. Evans Scholars alumni donate more than $6 million annually. Proceeds from the BMW Championship, the third of four PGA Tour playoff events in the FedEx Cup competition, are donated to the Evans Scholars Foundation.
Currently, 840 caddies are enrolled in colleges across the nation as Evans Scholars. More than 9,800 caddies — including 420 from Colorado — have graduated as Evans Scholars since the program was founded by Chicago amateur golfer Charles “Chick” Evans, Jr.
Like Johnson, Serrano and Bruna caddie at the Roaring Fork Club, while Sichel caddies at the Maroon Creek Club in Aspen.
“Through being a caddie, I’ve grown so much,” Sichel said. “Learning to help as a caddie built confidence in the way I handle myself, on and off the golf course.”