At the Western Golf Association/Evans Scholars Foundation, we change lives — on golf courses, in classrooms, and in communities. Our world-class amateur and professional golf events enable us to provide deserving caddies with transformational college educational experiences that go well beyond full tuition and housing scholarships. In doing so, we prepare young people to become leaders who give back so that others may follow.
In 2021, the Western Golf Association and Evans Scholars Foundation continued a path of record growth despite the unprecedented challenges of the past two years.
Confronting the pandemic only strengthened our resolve to bring the Evans Scholarship to more deserving caddies across the country.
Indeed, 2021 was one of our strongest years ever. We welcomed new university partners, awarded a record number of Scholarships, launched more youth caddie programs, and hosted our full roster of championships once again.
It was a game-changing year—as friends of the Program contributed more charitable support in 2021 than any other year in our history. We are honored by such generosity.
Philanthropic commitments received through the Par Club and the Match Play Challenge—part of the organization’s historic Promise Campaign—ensure that the Evans Scholars Program will continue to thrive as we approach our 100th anniversary in 2030.
Your unwavering faith in our mission allows us to carry on the important work we do, sending deserving caddies to college.
Thank you for your continued friendship and support.
President and CEO
Chairman of the Board
Academic grit and excellence
Our Evans Scholars are all back on campus and thriving. They took their classes through hybrid, virtual, and in-person learning — and through it all continued to post excellent grades and keep their heads in the game. Today, we have 1,100 Scholars succeeding on campuses nationwide, setting the bar for academic grit and excellence.
In the Spotlight
When she was 14 years old, Genesis joined the WGA Caddie Academy, located outside of Chicago. She fell in love with the city — to say nothing of the deep-dish pizza.
The daughter of a single mom, Genesis is Dominican and Panamanian, representative of the increasing diversity among Evans Scholars. She is the first in her extended family to attend college.
It was at Westmoreland Country Club where Genesis learned an enduring life lesson from one of her favorite golfers. “Maintain and build relationships, he told me,” Genesis recalls. “They will set you up for life.”
Now a junior at Penn State, she is hoping to pursue a career in media and entertainment — with a packed resume to back her up. Genesis has been a marketing intern at the campus health center, an account executive with a student-run PR firm, and now serves as vice president of communications for her Evans Scholars chapter.
Over the years, Genesis has indeed learned about the value of starting friendships with those from different backgrounds and life experiences than her own. “As a triple minority — Black, Latina, and female — I have come to realize the importance of building relationships with all people,” she says.
2021 at a glance
Amanda Polanski and Noah Zaatar were honored as the 2021 Evans Scholars of the Year. Polanski graduated from the University of Minnesota with a degree in biology, earning a 3.9 GPA. Zaatar graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Michigan, earning a 3.8 GPA.
The Evans Scholars Foundation held more than 20 virtual selection meetings across the country in 2021, awarding full tuition and housing Evans Scholarships to 300 caddies — the largest class of New Scholars in our history.
The University of Illinois Chicago is now the Evans Scholars Foundation’s 21st partner school. The first class of eight Evans Scholars arrived in 2021. With more than 34,000 students, UIC is one of the most ethnically rich and culturally diverse campuses in the nation.
Living, learning and leading together
Our Scholars benefit from state-of-the-art living and learning environments that promote academic excellence. Despite being thrown into a new way of learning over the past two years, our Scholars collectively posted a 3.4 GPA — the highest cumulative GPA in the history of the Program — and our graduation rate continues to hit 95 percent.
In the Spotlight
When Kyle says he “doesn’t think people smile nearly enough,” he’s not just referring to recent times and pandemic challenges. He’s talking teeth.
Kyle, who caddied at Toledo Country Club, is a junior at Ohio State. He’s pursuing his plan to become a dentist—following in the footsteps of his older brother, Eric, who is currently in his fourth year of dental school. Not only are the two brothers pursuing careers in dentistry—they are both Evans Scholars. “The two of us are committed to honoring the Scholarship by working hard and being of service to others,” Kyle says.
Earning the Evans Scholarship was a “major blessing” for him and his family. In 2018, his father suffered cardiac arrest and the accumulating medical bills — plus college tuition — proved too much of a financial burden for his parents.
Today, Kyle is a second-term president of his Evans Scholars chapter. His major focus now is to help jump-start the culture of the House again after the shutdowns and disruptions from the pandemic.
He’s also launched a mental health support group in the Scholarship House — acknowledging the toll of recent years on student wellbeing. “We’re all about community in good times and in bad,” he says. “That’s the Evans Scholars difference.”
2021 at a glance
We formalized our Career Services program, providing Scholars with mentoring opportunities, internship guidance, career readiness webinars, and access to our vast network of Alumni committed to helping them build their careers.
Evans Scholars at the University of Michigan were awarded the James E. Moore Scholarship Trophy for academic excellence. The chapter achieved a 3.6 GPA to win the honor—the highest cumulative GPA among all Evans Scholarship chapters for the 2020-21 school year.
The WGA launched a diversity, equity and inclusion strategic plan. Priorities include establishing more youth caddie programs for underrepresented youth, increasing diversity among WGA leaders, and creating partnerships that extend the WGA’s commitment to equity and opportunity. A board committee and staff position are helping drive these efforts.
WGA tournaments get back on course
We brought back our full roster of tournaments in 2021—bringing champions and fans together following a year of scaled down events with no spectators. Thanks to our extraordinary sponsors, partners, host clubs, and volunteers, we kept the ball rolling through a pandemic—using just about every club in our bag to make it a winning season.
In the Spotlight
When the Western Amateur returned to the Glen View Club — 122 years after the first Western Amateur was held there in 1899 — the pride among club members was, well, historic.
“It’s arguably the most pre-eminent amateur championship,” says long-time club member Rick Waddell, retired chairman and chief executive officer of Northern Trust, who served as tournament chair. “The membership was committed to honoring its storied legacy.”
And honor it they did, by hosting an extraordinary tournament and raising record support for the Evans Scholars Foundation — at the very club where Chick Evans was a member.
Over the years, the Western Amateur has always strived to raise funds for caddie scholarships. The Glen View Club took that to another level in 2021, raising $1.2 million to establish two endowed scholarships for future Evans Scholars from the club.
Rick credits members, club staff, and his “fearless” tournament committee for making it happen. Among many fundraising initiatives, they hosted an Am-Am competition and a silent auction, raffled off golf trips, and sold tickets to wine tastings and cooking events with the club’s chef.
Future host clubs are already reading the greens — upping their game to try to rival the Glen View Club’s record donation. “A little competition is always a good thing,” says Rick.
Glen View Club
2021 at a glance
BMW will continue as the title sponsor of the WGA’s signature tournament through 2027. The BMW Championship—the penultimate event of the PGA TOUR’s FedExCup Playoffs—has raised more than $40 million for the Evans Scholars Foundation since 2007.
The WGA and Korn Ferry Tour announced a five-year partnership with NV5 to serve as the title sponsor for the Evans Scholars Invitational— renamed the NV5 Invitational presented by Old National Bank. We look forward to continuing to bring the next generation of PGA TOUR stars to the Chicagoland area.
With a shared history and collective agenda to host premier women’s golf events, the WGA and the Women’s Western Golf Association continue to nurture their longstanding partnership through volunteer engagement and a joint advocacy platform to engage, empower, and support girls and women through golf.
More clubs tee up youth caddie programs
In 2021, we helped many more clubs recognize the value of caddying as a vital youth development tool. With so many young people negatively impacted by the past few years, such growing awareness could not have come at a better time.
In the Spotlight
Jacie first started playing golf through the First Tee program. She loved the game — but didn’t have caddying on her radar until she learned about the Evans Scholarship.
“There were concerns about whether or not I was big enough to carry the bag,” she says with a smile. “I’m a small kid…but I proved them wrong.”
Jacie is the first female Scholar from the state of Florida — where she caddies at the Old Marsh Golf Club. In recent years, the WGA has worked diligently to bring youth caddie programs to the West Palm Beach area, where one in five residents lives in poverty.
A native Floridian and the only child of a single mom, Jacie used her caddie earnings over the past two summers to help pay household bills. “The pandemic hit us hard,” she says.
This fall, Jacie will start her freshman year at the University of Michigan — one of more than a handful of top schools where she was accepted. She plans to major in political science and then go on to law school.
Serving others will always be a priority, as well. For the past two years, she has volunteered as an assistant coach for a golf program that serves autistic children. “Giving back is the best way to put gratitude to work,” she says.
2021 at a glance
The WGA launched a new pilot youth caddie program to provide local students a summer job opportunity at the University of Maryland Golf Course in College Park. Ten caddies from under-resourced backgrounds were selected to be part of the inaugural class.
Four individuals were inducted into the Caddie Hall of Fame— honored for supporting the vital role that caddies play in the game. Inductees included investor Charles Schwab; PGA TOUR caddie Jimmy Johnson; WGA Director Dr. Joe Schmidt; and Riverside Golf Club’s Karl Bollnow.
The WGA is working with several technology platforms to help clubs streamline their caddie program operations, including scheduling, ratings, and payments. With more clubs turning to such technology, the WGA can better track the performance and development of potential Evans Scholars candidates.
A Record Year of Achievements
Partnerships & Philanthropy
for putting deserving caddies on a promising fairway through your friendship and generous support.