Cup Runneth Over

Despite challenges, Evans Cup of Colorado nearly matches record amount raised last year for Evans Scholarship for caddies

By Gary Baines – 9/17/2020

Considering where things stood just three months ago, Geoff “Duffy” Solich was ecstatic how things played out this week for the Evans Cup of Colorado, a major fundraiser for the Evans Scholarship for caddies.

“We did not even know until mid-June that we could have the (golf and dinner) event, and it was early August before we had an outside venue for dinner, etc.,” said Solich, a Western Golf Association board of governors member and the WGA’s state chairman in Colorado. Solich along with younger brother George were Evans Scholars at the University of Colorado 40 years ago.

Like many events planned for 2020, the Evans Cup of Colorado was a challenge to conduct due to Covid-19 safety concerns and various protocols. But the event not only came off as scheduled on Monday at The Broadmoor Resort in Colorado Springs, but it was a big success in terms of money raised for the Evans Scholarship, which provides full tuition and housing at the college level to high-achieving caddies who demonstrate significant financial need.

Duffy Solich said the 2020 Evans Cup of Colorado grossed about $260,000, almost as much as the record $270,000 grossed in 2019. Since the Evans Cup took its current form five years ago, Solich said the event has netted close to $1 million for the Evans Scholarship.

“I am very proud of the support for the program in this tough year,” Solich wrote in an email. Despite the challenges, “it was a great event.”

Duffy Solich, a former caddie and CU Evans Scholar himself, has been one of the key driving forces behind the recent success of the Evans Cup of Colorado.

A total of 128 players participated in the golf portion of the Evans Cup on Monday, while roughly 130 attended the dinner, program and auction.

“Russ Miller, Mark Kelbel and The Broadmoor did a fantastic job and are great supporters of the Evans Scholarship,” Solich said. Russ Miller is the longtime director of golf at The Broadmoor, while Kelbel is the program director for the nascent Broadmoor Caddie & Leadership Academy. Two BCLA caddies who are applying for the Evans Scholarship during the 2020-21 school year attended Monday’s Evans Cup.

“Our team of John Gart, Emily (Olson), Erin (Gangloff) and other volunteers really pulled off a great event in spite of Covid, masks, etc.,” Solich added. Olson, the CGA’s manager of caddie development, and Gangloff, the CGA’s managing director of programs, assist Solich, Gart and the WGA in conducting the Evans Cup each year.

The Evans Scholarship is a flagship program for the CGA as the association has long partnered with the WGA in supporting the scholarship in Colorado. The WGA administers the scholarship nationwide as Evans Scholar houses are based at 18 universities. Since the late 1960s, that’s included one at CU, where 55 Evans Scholars currently live during the school year. CU recently exceeded 500 Evans Scholar alums, including the Solich brothers and CGA executive director Ed Mate.

Through Par Club contributions and CGA membership support, Colorado donors fully fund the year-to-year scholarship costs at the CU Evans Scholar house.

Nationwide, 1,045 Evans Scholars are currently in school, and the WGA recently announced its goal for that number reaching 1,500 within a decade. Since being established by the WGA and stellar amateur golfer Chick Evans in 1930, the program has produced 11,323 alums. These days, an Evans Scholarship is estimated to be worth $120,000 if renewed for four years — though the amount can vary significantly depending on the individual case.

Another fundraising event that benefits the Evans Scholarship was also held recently in the state. A Colorado Par Club tournament conducted Aug. 30 at CommonGround Golf Course in Aurora netted about $5,000, with 51 golfers participating, according to Joe Putnik, a CU Evans Scholar alum.