Sending Caddies to College Since 1930
All proceeds from the BMW Championship support the Evans Scholars Foundation, which administers one of the nation's largest privately funded college scholarship program, providing full tuition and housing grants to deserving caddies.
Since the first two Scholars enrolled at Northwestern University in 1930, more than 9,600 young men and women have graduated from the program. This year, 835 Scholars are enrolled. Their tuition and housing grants are renewable for up to four years, representing an average value of $70,000. The Foundation owns and maintains Evans Scholars Chapter Houses at 14 universities, and Scholars are also enrolled in six other schools. While the program is national in scope, its focus is principally in the Midwest.
Western Golf Association
The Western Golf Association, founded in 1899 to conduct tournaments and promote the general interests of golf, has sponsored the Evans Scholars program since its inception. There are approximately 500 WGA Directors nationawide. They receive no compensation or reimbursement for expenses incurred in WGA-related activities.
The Evans Scholars Foundation is a favorite charity of golf. Established in 1950, the Par Club has been the primary funding source, with more than 45,000 golfers donating $250 or more last year. They were solicited by WGA Directors and Par Club volunteers at golf and country clubs nationwide. The WGA also conducts a Bag Tag program. Modest bag tag fees are assessed through the WGA's 400 member clubs. Last year the combined operating budget of both organizations was $16 million. The Foundation is a charitable and educational 501(c)(3) organization under the IRS code.
WGA tournaments -- the BMW Championship, the Western Amateur and the Western Junior -- each rank among the oldest and most prestigious in their respective class. All BMW Championship proceeds support the Evans Scholars Foundation. Also in 2013, the Hotel Fitness Championship, a
Web.com Tour Finals event, is being conducted by the WGA.
Charles "Chick" Evans, Jr.
The Chick Evans Caddie Scholarship program was established by and named for Charles "Chick" Evans, Jr., who won 54 tournaments, including the Western Open and eight Western Amateurs, over a competitive career that spanned four decades. He received worldwide fame in 1916 when he won both the U.S. Amateur and the U.S. Open. When he decided to retain his amateur status, he used his golf earnings to establish the Charles Evans Jr. Trust in 1928 to assist golf caddies. The Western Golf Association became the program's sponsor in 1930. A subsequent trust agreement, signed in 1935, stipulated that net income and principal shall be used to provide scholarships and other educational opportunities for caddies at institutions designated by the Scholarship Committee of the Western Golf Association.
The program grew dramatically following World War II. In 1950, there were only 84 Scholars enrolled. By the end of the decade, the number of Scholars in school increased to 440, and Evans Scholars Chapters had been established at Illinois (1951), Michigan (1952), Wisconsin (1953), Marquette and Michigan State (1955), and Minnesota (1958). By 1970, 823 students were receiving awards and Chapters had been added at Ohio State (1962), Colorado and Purdue (1967), Missouri (1968) and Indiana (1969). Chapters were subsequently established at Miami of Ohio (1974) and Northern Illinois University (1987). For the last two decades, the number of grants in force in any given year has averaged about 825. There are approximately 140 women Scholars. As the program grew, more than a dozen other regional and state golf associations have become co-sponsors and affiliates.
Selection Criteria and Process
There are four primary criteria for scholarship grants. (1) Candidates, who are nominated by their golf clubs, must have a documented caddie record with a minimum of two years of outstanding service. (2) Candidates must have an excellent high school academic record, Applicants must also provide SAT or ACT college test scores to further determine academic potential. (3) Candidates must demonstrate significant financial need. Over the years, the Evans Scholars Foundation has assisted thousands of young people from families with very modest financial means. (4) Finally, letters of recommendation from club and high school officials attest to the applicant's good moral character. Candidates are personally interviewed at one of a series of Selection Meetings, co-hosted by the Western Golf Association and its affiliates.
Outstanding Retention and Graduation Rate
The demanding criteria and careful selection process contribute to the excellent academic progress and graduation rate of Evans Scholars. Nearly two-thirds of the Scholars maintain a B average or better, and the graduation rate is nearly 90 percent, compared to a 50-percent national average.
Scholarship House Living
At 14 universities, Evans Scholars live and work together in a Foundation owned Scholarship House. Through this cooperative living environment, Evans Scholars acquire poise and develop leadership capabilities and communications skills. The majority of the Scholarship Houses are co-educational. The sense of community that is fostered through Chapter living enables each of the 14 Houses to rank at or near the top in both academic and extracurricular activities in competition with other campus organizations. Scholars pay an annual housing fee, and all Scholars participate in maintenance of their Scholarship House.
Evans Scholars Alumni
More than 9.600 Evans Scholars graduates have pursued successful careers in business, government, health and education. These men and women now are contributing to building a better society in ways they could not have dreamed possible before earning their Evans Scholarships.
Evans Scholars Alumni accept a growing responsibility for program funding. They raised over $4 million last year and have raised more than $54 million cumulatively. Some 70 percent of the alumni participate through the annual fund or special tournaments and fund raising events.
To help ensure the future of the program and to provide a measure of protection against unforeseen financial emergencies, an endowment fund was established in 1989. It is named in memory of Roland F. "Mac" McGuigan, who served as the Foundation's Educational Director for more than four decades.
For more information on the WGA Par Club, visit the WGA/ESF Web site at:
1 Briar Road
Golf, IL 60029
The Evans Scholars dream began to unfold on July 18, 1890, when Charles "Chick" Evans Jr., Chicago's legendary amateur golfer, entered the world. In 1893, Evans and his family moved to Chicago. Five years later, at age 8, he was a caddie at Edgewater Golf Club.
From that early introduction to the game, Evans grew into the nation's top amateur golfer. He earned his greatest fame in 1916 when he won both the U.S. Open and U.S. Amateur. No other golfer had ever claimed both championships in the same year. Only the great Bobby Jones has done it since.
Always an amateur
As Evans' fame grew within golf circles, pressure mounted for him to turn professional. The sport was growing in popularity, and there was money to be made. Evans, however, wasn't interested in playing golf for money. He loved the game for its purity, tradition and sportsmanship. Turning professional seemed inappropriate to him.
Still, Evans' skills attracted admirers, and he couldn't avoid entering into agreements that brought money his way. To preserve his amateur status, Evans decided that any such earnings should be placed in an escrow fund. In his era, that could be done, and a golfer could remain an amateur.
A commitment to caddies
Evans, influenced by his mother, Lena, had a plan. If enough money could be raised, the funds could finance college educations for needy caddies. That commitment grew from Evans' own inability to complete his college education. He attended Northwestern University as a freshman but had to drop out of school due to a lack of money. From his days at Edgewater, Evans knew there were many worthy young caddies who showed academic promise but whose families could not afford the cost of college. In 1928 Evans persuaded the Western Golf Association to oversee the trust fund, and in 1930 the first two Evans Scholars enrolled at Northwestern University. Chick Evans' dream had become a reality.
A champion golfer
Along the way, Evans realized another dream, that of becoming a world-renowned amateur golfer. He entered the national spotlight in 1909 when he won the Western Amateur. The following year, he became the first amateur to win the Western Open, a feat unmatched for 75 years, until Scott Verplank, like Evans a college player at the time, beat the pros.
His performance in winning the 1916 U.S. Open was among the best of his generation. Using just seven hickory-shafted clubs, Evans fired a two-under-par 286 at Minikahda Club in Minneapolis, the first sub-par finish in Open history and a score that wouldn't be bettered for 20 years.
Evans won eight Western Amateurs and appeared in 50 consecutive U.S. Amateurs, winning a second in 1920 and getting to at least the semifinals 12 times. He played in the Western Open until 1967, when he was 77 years old, and after that, was the Western's host. An honorary WGA vice-president, Evans' last appearance was at the 1978 Western at Butler National, where he and winner Andy Bean chatted about what clubs Evans should be using.
His biggest thrill
In all, Chick Evans' golfing career lasted six decades. He triumphed over such golfing luminaries as Bobby Jones, Francis Ouimet, Walter Hagen and Gene Sarazen and competed in an inapproachable record of 50 consecutive U.S. Amateur Championships. And yet, when Evans died in 1979, it was noted that the biggest thrill the game of golf ever gave him was not any of his 54 victories or numerous honors. What pleased Chick more than any trophy was the success of the Evans Scholars Foundation, and the character of the young people who benefited from his dream.