Caddie scholarship program sends Pittsburgh teens to college: Could your teen be next?
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 six from Pittsburgh and more than 100 total from Pennsylvania, 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 Penn State University. The requirements are straightforward: earn good grades, have a strong caddie record, demonstrate financial need and display outstanding character.
Kyle Page, a current sophomore at Miami University from Pittsburgh, can attest to the role that caddying has played in driving his success both on and off the golf course.
“I knew that caddying would be a great way for me to earn my own money, but it also allowed me to create a great network with the many successful members at St. Clair Country Club,” said Kyle. “Most importantly, caddying instilled a fantastic work ethic in me that has contributed to my success in my everyday life. Waking up every weekend at 5 a.m. as a teenager really gave me a sense of commitment and hard work.”
While the early mornings were tough, Kyle cannot put into words how thankful he is for receiving the Evans Scholarship.
“The excitement that I felt when I received the Scholarship is indescribable,” said Kyle. “My family and I knew that paying for college was going to be almost impossible, and the Evans Scholarship took away that burden. I am extremely grateful for this opportunity and will never be able to fully repay what it means for my family and me.”
Another Miami University student, sophomore David Shoemaker from Pittsburgh, was speechless when he received the Scholarship.
“The reality didn’t settle in until I visited the Scholarship House and met my fellow Evans Scholars I would be living with for the next four important years of my life,” said David.
Lily Oppenheimer, sophomore at University of Missouri, is a Pittsburgh native who was one of the only girls caddying at Oakmont Country Club when she started in high school. For Lily, perseverance often meant leaving comfort behind. What Lily lacked in age and experience was made up through her ability to adapt to the job.
“I think people working with me quickly learned that I wasn’t just a naïve high school kid who needed a hand to hold. I learned to read the course and members began asking me for advice on the greens,” said Lily. “There’s a lot more to caddying than just carrying a bag of golf clubs.”
Caddying offers more than merely employment for young men and women in Pittsburgh. 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 Kyle, David and Lily.
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.