College golf scholarships aren’t only reserved for the game’s elite players.
Thanks to the Western Golf Association, those who help the game’s elite players have their shot, too.
“I started caddying because of my dad; he thought it would be a cool summer job for me,” Air Academy senior Isabell Deak said. “Through being a caddie, I found out about how I could get a college scholarship. I really (strove) to get it.”
Earlier this week, Deak and 11 other deserving Colorado high school seniors were awarded the Chick Evans Scholarship, a full tuition and housing scholarship that is nation’s largest privately funded scholarship program.
Deak, who’s headed for the University of Colorado, was the lone recipient from a Colorado Springs high school.
“What struck me about her and that she was very outgoing, and she wanted to do well, and that was refreshing,” said Read Eubanks, the third-year caddie master at The Broadmoor, where Deak spent many long days last summer, carrying bags and providing hospitality over the iconic, seven-mile-long course. “She worked very hard and developed great social skills. When you have someone like that, someone in my position doesn’t worry about what member or guest you let them go with. She was a true asset to the program.”
That outgoing nature paid off in a big way as Deak advanced from just another applicant into an Evans finalist. During a recently held selection meeting at the Denver Country Club, Deak took questioning in a packed room from about 110 people, including chairmen, chief executive officers, directors and former Evans Scholar recipients.
“When my interview came, I was super scared,” Deak said. “I was shaking. There were so many people. I just thought back to why I caddie, and that’s to make people’s experiences better on the golf course. I’ve learned a lot of life skills, too.”
To qualify, each applicant must have a strong caddie record, excellent academics, demonstrated financial need and outstanding character. Deak emerged from 32 applicants to secure her place in program history.
According to the WGA, a record 965 caddies are enrolled in 19 universities across the nation as Evans Scholars, and more than 10,600 caddies have graduated as Evans Scholars since the program was founded by famed Chicago amateur golfer Charles “Chick” Evans Jr.
“My parents are very happy about it, and I am, too,” Deak said. “I’m relieved that the financial stress involved in going to college is gone, and that’ll allow me to have fun and experience the game more.”
Deak, an only child whose family relocated from the Seattle area prior to the 2016-17 school year, made a quick and successful transition to Colorado high school golf. She reached the 4A state tournament and finished in a tie for 17th-place overall in the 87-golfer field.
“It’s not easy moving right in the middle of high school,” Kadets girls’ golf coach Jim Cole said. “She is shy, but that quiet leadership goes a long way in setting an example. Her best quality is her work ethic, and she makes sure to put her schoolwork first. This caddie scholarship is such a great opportunity. It’s a job and responsibility. It’s a big deal, and we’re proud of her accomplishment. She’ll go out and do great things.”