WGA Caddie Academy participant will begin school this fall

GLENVIEW, Ill. – A student caddie from Dallas, Texas, 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.

Ashley Garcia will begin college this fall as an Evans Scholar. As a first-generation college student, she will attend one of the Program’s 24 partner universities nationwide, with a decision on her 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.

Garcia participated in a special summer program called the WGA Caddie Academy that provides work opportunities to promising high school students. With six chapters nationwide, the seven-week program offers students a chance to caddie each day, earn money, meet role models and learn valuable life lessons on the golf course. After completing three summers, participants are eligible to apply for the Evans Scholarship. Garcia worked at Twin Orchard Country Club in Long Grove, Illinois, while living with other participants.

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.

Garcia, a senior at Cristo Rey Dallas College Prep, is the first youth caddie from Dallas to earn an Evans Scholarship – and the third overall from the state of Texas, 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 Texas, are being introduced to the opportunity to caddie and potentially earn a full college scholarship.

Garcia, who will be the first female in her family to graduate high school, plans to study health administration in college.

“I set my pathway to achieve my life’s aspiration – becoming a ‘female first-generation everything,’ which means exhibiting the courage, independence and perseverance necessary to establish a precedence of earning a college degree and establishing a professional career,” she says.

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 Ashley to the Evans Scholars family,” said WGA Chairman Steve Colnitis. “Her dedication in the classroom, on the golf course and in her community represents the best of what our Program has been about since 1930.”

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.