At a time of uncertainty, three northeast Indiana caddies don't have to worry about financial aid for college for the next four years.
Snider's Hayden Tippmann, Heritage's Hunter Teichman and Warsaw's Austin Fleming were awarded the Evans Scholarship this year.
“It's a huge financial help since I have three brothers all two years apart,” said Fleming, who caddied at Tippecanoe Lake Country Club. “It's a huge relief with going to college. Early last year, I was looking at Grace, Purdue and IU, and it was really going to come down to financial aid. It's helped the decision. Purdue never seemed possible with the cost, but their business school is phenomenal.”
Charles “Chick” Evans Jr. started the scholarship in 1930 from funds accrued from tournaments. The escrow fund he created in 1928 from his tournament winnings preserved his amateur status as a golfer and has since produced over 11,000 Evans Scholar graduates.
When the original fund was exhausted, the Western Golf Association directors chipped in to keep the scholarship going. The foundation is now funded by Par Club members as well as proceeds from WGA championships.
Evans Scholars are required to have completed over 100 “loops” (18-hole rounds) at their respective clubs. Applicants are also judged on their academics, extracurricular activities, financial need and demonstration of good character, complete with an in-person interview with the Evans board.
According to the WGA website, 1,010 Evans Scholars are currently enrolled at 18 universities across the country.
“When I went down there, it was unbelievable,” said Teichman, who's involved at Orchard Ridge Country Club. “There were 150 donors who were listening from the WGA. I was nervous. I answered about 12 questions and brought quite a few laughs. I used a couple of jokes. They thought I did really great for how nervous I was.
“A couple weeks after that, I was announced for IU. I never thought I'd be chosen. I always grew up watching Indiana basketball. It's just unbelievable.”
The teenage caddies said their job is mostly to provide golfers with assistance and conversation.
“We're there to carry the golfers' clubs, especially since we're a bunch of kids, we're not helping with decisions,” said Tippmann, who caddied at Fort Wayne Country Club. “We're helping, repairing divots, bunkers. The golfers like being around kids, helping influence them and kind of raising us up and giving us good role models, so that's a big part of it.”
The conversations and camaraderie are at the forefront of a good caddie even for someone like Fleming, who began with zero knowledge of the game.
“One of my biggest fears when I started was that I had no golf knowledge,” he said. “But as I went along, I got more comfortable with knowing the right clubs, but the members were nice and understanding when I got the wrong club. It was through that I started to play and trying to use the time to better my caddying.”
Once on their respective campuses, the Evans Scholars will live at a designated house specifically for scholarship recipients. As long as they remain in good standing academically and are actively involved in campus activities, they live there for all four years.
“I know they require community service, I know there is some in there,” Teichman said. “They want you involved in at least one club or activity. ... It won't be a challenge for me to maintain that. They didn't really want to go out and find leadership experience, they want someone to go out and be a leader.”