Don't let the movie Caddyshack fool you, many of the young people out there toting bags and offering advice to golfers are quite serious about what they are doing and where they are going.
In February, Boulder resident Sarah Baines, a senior at Fairview High School and a caddie at Boulder Country Club, was awarded the Western Golf Association's Chick Evans Scholarship for caddies. With the scholarship, which covers full tuition and housing and may be renewed up to four years, she will be able to attend the University of Colorado.
Baines isn't the only one in her bloodline to parlay a caddie job into college tuition, either.
"It all started because my dad actually got the scholarship in '79," Baines said. "His dad, my grandpa, actually caddied. So I'm a third-generation caddie and both my sisters also caddie at Boulder Country Club and they both got the scholarship. We're very fortunate to have almost everyone in my family get the scholarship."
Baines, who has been caddying since her freshman year of high school, plays golf occasionally but is mostly a tennis player for Fairview. She has always taken her job as a caddie seriously, which is paying off for her.
"When I started, I was only 4-foot-11 and it was pretty hard to carry all the heavy bags," Baines said. "I wanted to quit because I was trying to impress everyone but I just wasn't sure I was strong enough. It's great to be outside and to get paid for something you love doing so I ended up sticking with it."
The Western Golf Association's Chick Evans Scholarship for caddies was started by Charles "Chick" Evans Jr, who learned the game as a caddie and went on to become the first golfer to win the U.S. Amateur and the U.S. Open in the same year in 1916. The first two Evans Scholars enrolled in Northwestern University in 1930.
The scholarship committee selects the winners based on four criteria: a strong caddie record; excellent academics; demonstrated financial need; and outstanding character. The full tuition and housing college scholarship is valued at an estimated $80,000 over four years.
Baines was one of 11 Colorado seniors to be awarded the scholarship this year.
"Based on their excellence in the classroom and their service to their schools and communities, there is little doubt that these young men and women have earned this life-changing opportunity," WGS president and CEO John Kaczkowski said in a statement. "We welcome them to the Evans Scholars family."