AURORA — Mesabi East’s Sam Hunt spent hours and hours caddying and driving to the Northland Country Club in Duluth in hopes of earning a Chick Evans Caddie
That turned out to be relatively easy compared to the extensive interview with the other finalists in the state, said Hunt, 18.
“You have this interview process and I was just absolutely terrified,’’ the Mesabi East senior said.
Each of the finalists went before the board of directors at the Minikahda (golf) Club in Minneapolis — and also an audience of about 70 others (from donors and previous alumni to members of clubs from all over the state), he added.
“It was just basically like a press conference’’ where they asked things about the finalists and items on their application, Hunt said.
Despite being terrified the interview ultimately went well for the teen.
“It was a lot of fun. I had a lot better time than I thought I would,’’ Hunt said. “Once I got in there, I just lit up and it was a lot of fun.’’
It’s hard to forget just how stressed out he was before the interview, he added.
“I could hardly eat that morning.’’
Hunt ultimately found out he was awarded a Chick Evans Caddie Scholarship, which means he will get a full ride for four years at the University of Minnesota. He plans to study aerospace engineering.
“I was super relieved that finally everything paid off,’’ he said.
“My parents (Kari and Chad) were just flabbergasted. They were just crying.’’
To be eligible to apply for a Chick Evans Scholarship for Caddies, all applicants must meet the following requirements: strong caddie record, excellent academics, demonstrated financial need and outstanding character.
• Strong caddie record: Applicants must have caddied, successfully and regularly, for a minimum of two years and are expected to caddie at their sponsoring club the year they apply for the scholarship.
• Excellent academics: Applicants must have completed their junior year of high school with above a B average in college preparatory courses and are required to take the ACT and/or the SAT.
• Demonstrated financial need: Applicants must clearly have a need for financial assistance.
•Outstanding character: Applicants must be outstanding in character, integrity and leadership.
Applicants are evaluated and compete on the above criteria for the limited number of Chick Evans Scholarships for Caddies awarded annually. The Scholarship Committee will interview finalists and the final selection rests with the Committee.
Hunt first heard of the scholarship through his sister Kaitlyn, who also got an Evans Scholarship.
“I saw what opportunity it gave her and I just wanted to follow in her footsteps to try to reach this goal,’’ he said.
In 2017, Hunt is in his sixth year of caddying at Northland Country Club in Duluth.
Being so young when he first started, he had to rely on his parents, along with his grandmother and others who would drive him to Duluth to get a round in.
Hunt said caddying has been a pleasure.
“It’s unbelievable,’’he said. “I love caddying,’’ he said of meeting so many people and making connections.
The biggest thank you goes to “my parents for supporting me throughout the whole thing and pushing me to do this.’’
The scholarship dates back to the 1920s.
In 1929, famed golfer Chick Evans Jr., asked the Western Golf Association to administer the fund he had established some years earlier to send deserving caddies to college. He could think of no finer organization to entrust his legacy and grow his vision.
In 1930, the WGA awarded its first two scholarships to caddies Harold Fink and Jim McGinnis. They would attend Northwestern University, the same school where Chick Evans had studied.
When Chick’s original investment was exhausted, the WGA Directors perpetuated the caddie scholarship program by leaving money on the board room table after a day of interviews and selections. This “collection plate” process was the sole means of revenue through the early 1940s, when WGA began to solicit funds outside the Association.
Today, the Evans Scholars Foundation has become golf’s favorite charity. More than 30,000 Par Club members contribute annually in Chick’s honor to the Evans Scholars Program so the WGA can continue to meet tuition and housing costs that exceed $17.6 million each year.