First caddie from Iowa to earn Evans Scholarship since 1960s

GLENVIEW, Ill. – A student caddie from The Harvester Club in Rhodes, Iowa, has been awarded the Evans Scholarship — a full housing and tuition college grant offered to golf caddies — following a selection meeting interview on Thursday, Dec. 21.

Gunnar Breding, of Urbandale, will begin college this fall as an Evans Scholar. He’ll attend one of the Program’s 24 partner universities nationwide, with a decision on his awarded school to be finalized by March 15. The Evans Scholarship is valued at more than $125,000 over four years.

The Western Golf Association (WGA), headquartered in Glenview, Illinois, has supported the Chick Evans Scholarship Program through the Evans Scholars Foundation since 1930. Known as one of golf’s favorite charities, it is the nation’s largest scholarship program for caddies.

To qualify for the Evans Scholarship, each student must meet the Program’s four selection criteria and show a strong caddie record, excellent academics, demonstrated financial need and outstanding character.

Currently, a record 1,130 caddies are enrolled at 24 universities as Evans Scholars, and more than 12,040 caddies have graduated as Evans Scholars since the Program was founded by famed Chicago amateur golfer Charles “Chick” Evans Jr. in 1930.

Breding, a senior at Ankeny High School, is the first youth caddie from The Harvester Club to earn an Evans Scholarship – and the eighth overall from the state of Iowa, with the last caddie having been awarded an Evans Scholarship in the 1960s.

As the Evans Scholars Program continues to grow nationwide, more students from newer areas, including Iowa, are being introduced to the opportunity to caddie and potentially earn a full college scholarship.

"We are very excited for Gunnar Breding, The Harvester Club and the state of Iowa for the opportunity the Western Golf Association and the Evans Scholarship Program is providing. We are happy to partner with a great organization who creates very impactful scholarships, such as this one Gunnar has earned,” says Mason Jensen, general manager at The Harvester Club.

“We hope The Harvester Club can serve as a tool for young men and women across our country to see not only the financial benefits of caddie work and the scholarship, but the growth and mentoring these young men and women are benefitting from by caddying for the members and guests of our club.”

Breding, who plans to study marketing in college, has been a caddie for three years.

“Making relationships with members at these golf courses has always been one of my strong suits. I believe it is important to take the time to get to know the individuals and check in with them on a regular basis,” he says. “Networking is a great way to meet more people in your community and cultivate relationships that may open doors of opportunity in the future.”

Selection meeting interviews for Evans Scholar finalists will continue nationwide through spring. When the 2023-24 selection meeting process is complete, an estimated 340 caddies from across the country are expected to be awarded the Evans Scholarship.

“We are thrilled to welcome Gunnar to the Evans Scholars family,” said WGA Chairman Steve Colnitis. “His dedication in the classroom, on the golf course and in his community represents the best of what our Program has been about since 1930.”

In the fall of 2023, the University of Iowa became the organization’s 23rd partner university, sending the inaugural class of 10 Evans Scholars to Iowa City. The group of Iowa Evans Scholars live together in Daum Hall on campus. ESF leaders also have announced plans to establish an Evans Scholars Scholarship House at Iowa, which could open as early as fall 2025.

Funds for the Scholarship come mostly from contributions by more than 36,000 golfers across the country, who belong to the Evans Scholars Par Club program. Evans Scholars Alumni donate more than $15 million annually, and all proceeds from the BMW Championship, the penultimate PGA TOUR Playoff event in the PGA TOUR’s FedExCup competition, benefit the Program. In 2024, the BMW Championship will be held from Aug. 20-25 at Castle Pines Golf Club in the Denver area.