Aspen, Basalt high school students win caddy scholarship providing 4-year housing, tuition at CU Boulder
Aspen high’s Jake Doyle and Basalt high’s Tyler Sims have been competing on sports fields most of their lives. For the next four years, though, they’ll be teaming up and living together at University of Colorado Boulder thanks to a four-year housing and tuition scholarship awarded to high school golf caddies across the country.
Since its creation in 1930, the Western Golf Association’s Chick Evans Scholarship provides a full, four-year housing and tuition scholarship to high school golf caddies with limited financial means. Over 11,000 young men and women have gone on to graduate college as Evans scholars. This year, 14 Colorado students received the scholarship.
“We’ve been buddies since we were little,” Doyle said of Sims. “We’ve been playing sports together for pretty much our whole lives. It’s pretty funny because we’ve made that good relationship on the court even though we were competitors pretty much every time — we’re still good buds on and off the court. It’ll be fun to be able to live together and spend four years of college together.”
The Evans Foundation house where Doyle and Sims will live at CU Boulder houses over 50 scholarship winners, from freshmen to seniors.
“I’m super excited,” Sims said. “Caddying and golf, they’ve just taught me a lot about who I am and they’ve taught me a lot about life and how to be a better person.”
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Caddying in Colorado
Sims said he started caddying between sixth and seventh grade as a summer job after being introduced by an older friend. Doyle started the summer going into eighth grade — at 5-feet tall, 100 pounds and often carrying bags half his weight.
Neither knew much about golf, let alone caddying, when getting into the sport.
As caddies at the Roaring Fork Club, they have built a bond over the unique profession.
“If you’re into golf at all and you want to make some money, I would totally recommend it,” Sims said. “It’s a lot of fun, and you meet a lot of new people. For me, it really helped with my maturity level.”
“Even if I didn’t get the scholarship I would still be caddying going forward because it’s a great summer job,” Doyle said. “You get to be outside, you’re out there for four hours, make good money and meet really cool people.”
As part of the scholarship requirements, applicants must have at least two years of caddying experience or at least 200 loops, as well as GPA requirements. Both Sims and Doyle have both those requirements, easy, and have seen a lot on their Roaring Fork Club course.
Sims has seen a couple of albatrosses, but the best thing he’s seen was one of his guests from Texas sink a par-4 hole-in-one.
“I love caddying for guests, especially people that have never played the course,” Sims said, “Especially good players, people that hit it long, because they ask what’s the craziest thing they can do, and I told him you can definitely get this. I told him where to land it. I told him up in this area. Sure enough, we get up there and we’re looking for it in sprinkler heads and bunkers, and somebody walked past the hole …”
Doyle has seen two hole-in-ones — neither his own, “sadly.” The head pro at Roaring Fork Club took him out for a warm up round early in the season two years ago and hit a tee shot that bounced twice and rolled in.
“That was probably one of the coolest things I’ve seen on the course,” Doyle said.
In golf, a good caddy can make a round — and a bad caddy can certainly ruin a round.
“A caddy is a great asset to a two-man team, but a good caddy could make a team and a bad caddy could break a team,” Sims said. “If you have a good caddy on your bag, it will help you so much.”
He added that he enjoys caddying for groups in tournaments that say they are out for fun, sometimes helping them into the top of the standings at the end. But he also helps golfers taking it more seriously.
“Something most people don’t understand about caddying is the level of intensity, especially when you’re caddying in tournaments with players in contention to win a big tournament with a lot of money on the line,” he said.
Like most sports, the more time on the course results in more experience. For Doyle, who spends most summers at the Aspen Public Course with his friends, it’s all one learning curve.
“They helped each other out — my golfing helped my caddying, and my caddying helped my golf,” he said.
While they compete for different Colorado high schools, it’s all Buffs next year for Sims and Doyle. And while golfing isn’t necessarily part of the scholarship, they hope to spend plenty of time on the courses near Boulder.
“I’m excited. It’s a lot of hard work that’s paid off. It’s a huge award for both myself and my family,” Sims said.
For more information about the Western Golf Association’s Chick Evans Scholarship, visit wgacaddieacademy.org.