Fore! college green: Caddy program at local golf courses aims to help students compete for full-ride scholarships 

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For the students caddying at Prairie View and Wood Wind golf clubs, their time working on the green is more than just a summer job.

As they clean clubs and help locate golf balls, each caddy is hard at work with hopes of being selected as an Evans Scholar. Presented by the Western Golf Association, the Evans Scholarship covers housing and tuition for up to four years of college.

Matt Cohoat, owner and operator of Prairie View Golf Course in Carmel and Wood Wind Golf Course in Westfield, and his brother both received Evans Scholarships to study at Purdue University after caddying at Crooked Stick Golf Course in Carmel. Years later, when Cohoat learned that so few Indiana students were applying for the scholarship that funds designated for Hoosiers were going to other states, he decided to launch a caddy program at his golf courses.

Cohoat tapped Jake Peacock, his son-in-law and head PGA professional at Prairie View, to lead it.

“It’s been extremely rewarding for me since taking this on for both facilities to be able to see the kids, get to know them and watch them grow up from eighth grade to their senior year of high school and beyond,” Peacock said. “How rewarding it’s been as a golf pro to be able to give these kids an opportunity to change their lives.”

Since launching the caddy program in 2014, 16 caddies from Prairie View and Wood Wind received the scholarship, which is named after amateur golfer Charles “Chick” Evans Jr. He established the Evans Scholars Foundation in 1930 in conjunction with the Illinois-based WGA. More than 11,500 caddies have received Evans Scholarships since its inception.

Hayden Bauschka, who attended Carmel High School, was among the first group of Prairie View and Wood Wind caddies to receive the Evans Scholarship in 2016. He used it to attend Purdue University to study engineering.

“It made graduating from Purdue without any debt possible and solidified my decision of pursuing an engineering degree from a top-10 school,” Bauschka said. “It also afforded me the financial freedom to pursue internships both near and far, including summers at Duke Realty, Gibbs Die Casting and Lockheed Martin. I’m thankful that those roles set me up for my current role as an offshore engineer for Shell in the Gulf of Mexico, which I have held since graduation in 2019.”

Hannah Vanderbosch, a Cathedral High School graduate who received the Evans Scholarship in 2017, caddied at Prairie View and Wood Wind beginning in 2015. She used the scholarship to study web programming at Purdue and now works as an associate technical producer at Lev in downtown Indianapolis.

“The Evans Scholarship is so much more than just a scholarship for those who earn it,” Vanderbosch said. “It has given me an amazing education, a community of alumni and mentors like no other and the network of people at the Western Golf Association who are willing to help me in any way they can.”

Caddy Mike Lupke is among the most recent recipients of the Evans Scholarship. (Photo courtesy of Mike Lupke)

Mike Lupke, a Fishers resident who graduated this month from Cathedral High School, is among three Prairie View/Wood Wind caddies to earn the Evans Scholarship this year. He plans to attend Indiana University in the fall.

“It’s truly a blessing,” Lupke said. “We were still waiting to hear back on financial aid from several universities, and we weren’t really sure what we were going to do. When we heard I received the scholarship, it was a no-brainer that it would be put to use.”

To apply for the scholarship, students must have caddied at least 100 times during a minimum of two years, completed their junior year of high school with above a B average in college preparatory courses, show financial need and demonstrate outstanding character.

Students can apply to become a caddy at Prairie View or Wood Wind as early as eighth grade, and golf skills aren’t required.

“They don’t need to know anything about golf. All they need to be able to do is show up on time and be able to carry a golf bag for short distances of 50 to 100 yards every 15 to 20 minutes to be able to stay in front of groups and find golf balls for them,” said Peacock, a Fishers resident.

Prairie View and Wood Wind are both public golf courses, and to keep costs low for golfers they hold an auction every year to raise funds to pay caddies. Between their stipend and tips, caddies can make $80 or more for every 18 holes, Peacock said.

Learn more and apply to become a caddy at cohoatandoneal.com/caddie-application.

From left, Lane Johnston and Sam Mefford pause at a fundraising event at Prairie View Golf Club.

Evans Scholarship winners from Prairie View, Wood Wind

2016

  • Hayden Bauschka, Carmel High School (PV)
  • Andrew Hedges, Westfield High School (WW)
  • Megan Hedges, Westfield High School (WW)
  • Ethan Parsley, Westfield High School (WW)

Former caddy Hannah Vanderbosch displays the diploma she received from Purdue University. Her college tuition was covered through the Evans Scholarship. (Photo courtesy of Hannah Vanderbosch)

2017

  • Hannah Vanderbosch, Cathedral High School (PV)
  • Elliot Shide, Lawrence North High School (PV) (Declined Evans Scholarship to attend Ball State University on a music scholarship)

 

2018

  • Amber Hedges, Westfield High School (WW)
  • Ashley Hedges, Westfield High School (WW)

 

2019

  • Nicole Neuenschwander, Westfield High School (PV)
  • Jacob Espey, Westfield High School (WW)

 

2020

  • Grayson Wittbrod, Noblesville High School (PV)

 

2021

  • Meris Shotton, Westfield High School (WW)
  • Kaiden Miller, Cathedral High School (PV)

 

2022

  • Lizzet Ochoa, Ben Davis University High School (PV)
  • Deanna Aguilar-Hernandez, Riverside High School (PV)
  • Mike Lupke, Cathedral High School (PV)

 


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