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Basalt caddies score full ride to CU

Hanging out at the caddy shack proved to be a lucrative endeavor for two Basalt High School seniors.

Sean Kulzer and David Rice both landed full-ride scholarships to the University of Colorado thanks to their years of working as caddies at the Roaring Fork Club in Basalt.

They were among 200 young men and women around the country who received awards from the Evans Scholars Foundation, which has been sending caddies to college since 1930. The scholarships are coveted because they cover tuition as well as housing at the foundation’s chapter houses at 14 prestigious universities.

Kulzer and Rice were nominated for scholarships by the Roaring Fork Club, where each has worked as a caddy for four years. They survived a screening process, including an interview by a crowd of about 50 people – press conference style – in Denver.

Kulzer found out that he won a scholarship in mid-March, just as he and his friends were starting to scramble to fill out financial-aid applications and looking for other ways to scrounge up the money for school.

“We kind of got the monkey off our backs early on,” Kulzer said.

Rice said the award will let him attend a major university rather than a community college. In addition, it may provide a chance he otherwise wouldn’t have had to save up for further education after getting a bachelor’s degree.

The Evans Scholarships have been big for the Rice family. Andrew Rice, David’s brother, is one of two prior winners of the scholarship from Basalt. Andrew is a junior at CU. The other previous winner from Basalt was a female caddy, Kelly Wynn.

To qualify the applicants had to rank among the top 25 percent of their high school class academically, have an exemplary record as a caddy for at least two years, show financial need and demonstrate outstanding personal character.

Kulzer and Rice estimated they make at least 75 “loops” per summer on the golf course. A loop is the caddy word for a golfer’s round.

Although many club members and guests use carts, others prefer to walk for the exercise and to support the caddies. There is more to the job than schlepping a bag of golf clubs around, Rice said. A good caddy needs to be aware of where the player’s ball is located and be prepared to offer advice if asked, be polite and engage in conversation when the players feel like talking.

Kulzer noted that making a good impression is important because many golfers will request the same caddy, if they like them.

Sean’s mom, Cathy Kulzer, said the Roaring Fork Club provides great opportunities for many local kids each summer – providing jobs in a valley where good opportunities are few and competition is fierce.

“I think these kids worked very, very hard. They make it sound easy but it wasn’t,” she said.

The Roaring Fork Club hired 30 high school-aged kids as caddies last year, according to general manager John Reyhons. They must be at least 15 and available to work from the end of May until school starts in September.

The club hires boys and girls from throughout the valley as caddies. “All we’re looking for is a smile and personality,” said Brian Dillard, the club’s head golf pro.

Kulzer and Rice will caddie at the club this summer and possibly between college years. Now that they have been selected for the Evans Scholarships, they will continue to get tuition and housing through four years of college as long as they maintain a strong academic record, perform community service and perform assigned chores at the chapter house, which is located on the campus at CU.

“I don’t want to screw it up. That’s the biggest pressure,” said Kulzer.

Sean, whose parents are Cathy of Basalt and Dennis Kulzer of Aspen, hasn’t declared a major yet. David, whose parents are John and Connie Rice of El Jebel, is considering pursuing a degree in fine art.

About 7,800 former caddies have received college education through the program, which is named after Charles “Chick” Evans, a great amateur golfer who wanted to help caddies continue their education. In any given school year there are about 800 men and women attending college through the Evans program.

Eligible caddies must work at clubs that are affiliated with the Western Golf Association, which co-sponsors the Evans Scholars Program. More information about the scholarship program is available at http://www.evansscholarsfoundation.com.

Scott Condon’s e-mail address is scondon@aspentimes.com.


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