The Western Golf Association conducts championships for professional and amateur golfers, promotes the use of caddies and supports the Evans Scholars Foundation’s efforts to award full tuition and housing college scholarships to hardworking caddies with limited financial means.
We’re a driving force in the game of golf, a respected charitable cause for tens of thousands of supporters and a distinguished leader in the nation’s golf community.
Western Golf Association
The WGA began in in 1899, when 11 Chicago-area golf clubs formed an organization to promote their interests in golf. It was in Golf, Illinois, where the WGA established its headquarters. At the nearby Glen View Club, the WGA held its first Western Open and Western Amateur championships to showcase the exceptional talent of golfers who called the west their home.
Today, we conduct four amateur championships – the Western Amateur, Western Junior, Women’s Western Amateur and Women’s Western Junior – and two professional events – the Korn Ferry Tour’s Evans Scholars Invitational and the BMW Championship, the penultimate event of the PGA TOUR FedExCup Playoffs.
Evans Scholars Foundation
In 1929, famed amateur golfer Charles "Chick" Evans Jr. asked the WGA to administer the fund he had established to send deserving caddies to college. The WGA awarded its first two scholarships in 1930, sending caddies Harold Fink and Jim McGinnis to Northwestern University. Until World War II, all Evans Scholars continued to attend Northwestern, and it was there that the first Scholarship House was established.
As the Evans Scholars Foundation grew, WGA Directors realized the impact of Chick's dream on the lives of young men and women with limited access to a college education. When Chick's original investment was exhausted, the WGA Directors perpetuated the Evans Scholars Program by making contributions of their own.
Today, the Foundation is funded by contributions from Par Club members across the country as well as proceeds from our championships. The Evans Scholars Program provides academic, professional and social resources that help students maintain a cumulative 3.3 GPA and 95 percent graduation rate. There are a record 1,010 Evans Scholars enrolled in 18 leading universities for the 2018-19 academic year, and more than 11,050 young men and women have graduated as Evans Scholars since 1930.
Charles "Chick" Evans Jr.
Chick Evans was born on July 18, 1890, and his family moved to Chicago in 1893. Five years later, he began caddying at Edgewater Golf Club. From that early introduction to the game, Chick 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 won both championships in the same year, and only the great Bobby Jones has done it since.
As Chick's fame grew, pressure mounted for him to turn professional. But he wasn't interested in playing for money. To preserve his amateur status, he decided any earnings should be placed in an escrow fund.
His mother, Lena, helped Chick make a plan to use his funds to finance college educations for needy caddies. From his Edgewater days, Chick knew there were many hardworking young caddies who showed academic promise but whose families could not afford the cost of college. In 1928, he persuaded the WGA to oversee his fund and in 1930, the first two Evans Scholarships were awarded.