11 Colorado caddies, including 7 from Solich and Broadmoor Caddie & Leadership Academies, earn full tuition and housing Evans Scholarships
By Gary Baines – 2/1/2024
The connection might not be readily apparent to your average sports fan, but it’s of no small significance nevertheless.
On Jan. 18, the Colorado selection meeting for the Evans Scholarship was held at Cherry Hills Country Club, with 115 people attending in person and another 35 via Zoom. Meanwhile, the week of Aug. 19-25 will bring a PGA Tour event to Colorado for the first time in 10 years — specifically in the form of the BMW Championship at Castle Pines Golf Club.
So what does one thing have to do with the other?
The former is a full tuition and housing scholarship awarded to high-achieving caddies with significant financial need. And proceeds from the BMW Championship are one of the chief funding methods for the Evans Scholarship. For instance, the 2023 BMW Championship — the PGA Tour’s Tournament of the Year — raised $5.5 million for the caddie scholarship. Since 2007, $50 million from the BMW Championship has gone to the Evans Scholars Foundation.
And this year, for just the second time, the BMW Championship — or its predecessor, the Western Open — will be held in Colorado, home to one of the Evans Scholarship houses, at the University of Colorado in Boulder.
All in all, the selection of new Evans Scholars in Colorado and the BMW Championship coming to the state is a nice bit of symmetry for this year. And both are very good news regarding youth caddying in the Centennial State.
While the BMW Championship at Castle Pines no doubt will be a fan favorite for Coloradans, the awarding of Evans Scholarships is a proud moment both for the recipients and for the Colorado golf community as a whole.
Specifically, 11 Colorado youth caddies were awarded Evans Scholarships in the wake of the selection meeting at Cherry Hills, the Illinois-based Western Golf Association announced on its website on Thursday. The WGA administers the Evans Scholarship, which is a flagship program locally for the CGA. Through Par Club contributions and CGA membership support, Colorado donors fully fund the year-to-year scholarship costs at the CU Evans Scholars house.
“Castle Pines Golf Club has long been a tremendous supporter of youth caddies and of the Evans Scholars Foundation,” WGA president and CEO John Kaczkowski said in Thursday’s WGA release. “This is an excellent opportunity to showcase this beautiful club and our shared efforts to reach more deserving young caddies.”
About 115 people attended the Evans Scholar selection meeting in person at Cherry Hills.
Most, if not all, of the 11 E.S. recipients from Colorado will attend CU, though there are 24 schools overall nationwide that feature Evans Scholars. All 11 of the scholarships will take effect starting in the fall.
A single Evans Scholarship is estimated to be worth more than $125,000, on average, if renewed for four years.
Of note from the incoming class of Colorado Evans Scholars:
— Three of the recipients have siblings who have previously earned the scholarship — Cristian Garcia Arroyo, Noah Johnston and Kale Potter, who has been an Eagle Scout since age 14. There were two such sibling Evans Scholars among last year’s incoming class.
— The two Caddie & Leadership Academies in Colorado continue to be a large pipeline for the Evans Scholarship. A year after a record nine from C&LAs earned Evans Scholarships, seven did so this time around. That includes four from the Solich Caddie & Leadership Academy and three from The Broadmoor C&LA.
Brothers George and Duffty Solich, both CU Evans Scholar alums who attended the Jan. 18 selection meeting, were instrumental in the creation of both the Solich and Broadmoor Caddie & Leadership Academies, and they continue to provide considerable support.
One of the 2024 Evans Scholar recipients from the Solich Caddie & Leadership Academy, Maya Glazer, specifically remembers caddying for George Solich on one occasion. “It was like meeting a celebrity,” she said at the selection meeting.
Madeleine Clark, a Solich Caddie & Leadership Academy veteran at Meridian Golf Club, answers a question on Jan. 18.
Since the Solich Academy was founded in 2012, 44 of its caddies have earned Evans Scholarships. Meanwhile, The Broadmoor Academy, founded in 2020, has produced eight Evans Scholars.
The Solich and Broadmoor Academies promote the use of caddies by paying their base fees through an educational grant, with participating golfers having the option of adding a tip. The Academies also feature a robust leadership element, with each participating youngster not only caddying but required to attend leadership classes and do community-service work each summer.
The Solich Academy has inspired the formation of numerous other similar organizations. In fact, just recently Forbes magazine published a feature story on the AZ Caddie and Leadership Academy.
— Meanwhile, a year after a record incoming class of 11 female Colorado Evans Scholars, four more young women were added this time, along with seven men.
This year’s group was strong on geographical diversity within the state. There’s one new Scholar from far-western Colorado (Grand Junction), two from the west-central part of the state (Basalt and Eagle), one from far northeast Colorado (Wray), along with four from Denver and three from Colorado Springs.
They’ll join a Colorado Evans Scholars program that has been in existence since the early 1960s — and which has featured a house dedicated to the program since the late ’60s.
Kale Potter, a caddie at Tiara Rado Golf Course, listens to a question at the selection meeting.
One incoming Evans Scholar, Landon Swan, called the prospect of receiving an Evans Scholarship “a genuine life-changer. I don’t have words to describe my gratitude.”
To qualify for an Evans Scholarship — one of the nation’s largest privately funded scholarship programs — applicants must have excellent caddie records and academic results, show strong character and leadership, and demonstrate financial need.
January’s selection meeting at Cherry Hills CC is one of about 30 being conducted this year by the WGA. In Colorado, among those who attended the meeting were alums of the program, CGA leadership and staff, PGA professionals, WGA directors, some Cherry Hills members and others in the Colorado golf community.
This group of incoming CU Evans Scholars average 123 caddie loops and a 3.71 grade-point average in high school. Three own a 4.0 GPA and two a 3.9. Two — Josue Martinez Castaneda and Glazer — each chalked up 190 rounds caddying.
CGA executive director — and Evans Scholar alum — Ed Mate asks a question of Maya Glazer.
Here are the 11 new Evans Scholars from Colorado:
— Madeleine Clark of Denver and (Denver) South High School (a Solich Caddie & Leadership Academy caddie at Meridian Golf Club)
— Sutton Dodds of Eagle and Vail Christian HS (caddied at Red Sky Golf Club)
— Cristian Garcia Arroyo of Denver and Regis Jesuit HS (a Solich Caddie & Leadership Academy caddie at CommonGround Golf Course and Cherry Hills Country Club)
— Maya Glazer of Denver and Lakewood HS (a Solich Caddie & Leadership Academy caddie at CommonGround Golf Course and Cherry Hills Country Club)
— Samuel Habib of Denver and DSST: Cedar HS (caddied at Lakewood Country Club)
— Noah Johnston of Basalt and Basalt HS (caddied at Roaring Fork Club)
— Alysia Ledbetter-Redwood of Colorado Springs and The Classical Academy HS (a Broadmoor Caddie & Leadership Academy caddie at The Broadmoor Golf Club)
— Josue Martinez Castaneda of Wray and a 2023 graduate of Wray HS (caddied at Ballyneal). Will receive a three-year scholarship as he’s currently a freshman at CU.
— Jordan Moon of Colorado Springs and Cheyenne Mountain HS (a Broadmoor Caddie & Leadership Academy caddie at The Broadmoor Golf Club)
— Kale Potter of Grand Junction and Palisade HS (a Solich Caddie & Leadership Academy caddie at Tiara Radio Golf Course)
— Landon Swan of Colorado Springs and Palmer HS (a Broadmoor Caddie & Leadership Academy caddie at The Broadmoor Golf Club)
“We are thrilled to welcome this new group of student caddies to the Evans Scholars family,” WGA chairman Steve Colnitis said. “Their dedication in the classroom, on the golf course and in their communities represents what our Program has been about since 1930.”
Regarding high schools of origin, Regis Jesuit has more current Evans Scholars in school than any other in Colorado (7). Meanwhile, the top two Colorado clubs for Par Club and bag tag support of the Evans Scholarship are Cherry Hills and the Roaring Fork Club. The Broadmoor (58) and Cherry Hills (56) have produced the most Evans Scholar alums from Colorado.
Meanwhile, Dodds will be the first Evans Scholar from Red Sky Golf Club in Wolcott.
Josue Martinez Castaneda, a caddie from Ballyneal, listens to a question posed by an attendee on Jan. 18.
A record 1,130 Evans Scholars are currently in school nationwide, enrolled at 24 universities. The WGA is hoping to have 1,500 Evans Scholars in school by 2030, the 100th anniversary of the scholarship.
Evans Scholars typically excel academically, with a cumulative college GPA of 3.3, and a 98 percent graduation rate.
Over the last 94 years, the Evans Scholarship has provided roughly $500 million worth of tuition and housing aid to caddies. The annual costs for the program run about $27 million.
The scholarship has produced 12,040 alums since being founded in 1930 by Charles “Chick” Evans, an amateur who won a U.S. Open and two U.S. Amateurs. Since the 1960s, a total of 552 Evans Scholars have graduated from CU, where 57 caddies are currently in the program there, including 13 who caddied at Cherry Hills.
Nationwide this year, out of 920 applicants, roughly 340 caddies are expected to receive Evans Scholarships.
An event benefiting the Evans Scholars Foundation, the inaugural Birdie Ball Denver, will be held April 5 at Denver Athletic Club. To attend the event or help sponsor it, CLICK HERE.
For those interested in donating to the Evans Scholars Foundation, CLICK HERE.
About the Writer: Gary Baines has covered golf in Colorado continuously since 1983. He was a sports writer at the Daily Camera newspaper in Boulder, then the sports editor there, and has written regularly for ColoradoGolf.org since 2009. He was inducted into the Colorado Golf Hall of Fame in 2022. He owns and operates ColoradoGolfJournal.com