After hundreds of hours on the golf course and in the classroom, Keileigh Gorman’s hard work has paid off.
The Golden resident and Lakewood High School senior was awarded the Western Golf Association’s Chick Evans Scholarship for golf caddies, paying for her tuition and housing at the University of Colorado-Boulder for four years.
She was one of 14 Colorado recipients, and one of 325 across the country.
Gorman caddies at The Club at Rolling Hills, located at 15707 W. 26th Ave., and said the scholarship was a major honor. She hoped more high school students would take up caddying and apply for the scholarship too.
"For all the hardships my family and I faced through my parents' divorce and my dad's death, the Chick Evans Scholarship has given me the opportunity to go to college without the financial burden," Gorman said. " ... Receiving this scholarship was my special 'I made it' moment, and I could not be more grateful for it."
Bill Fowler, Rolling Hills’ club director, noted how each recipient must have an excellent academic record, financial need and outstanding character. They must also have a strong caddie record, with Fowler saying that 75 loops or rounds is considered the minimum. A loop or round is 18 holes.
Gorman started caddying in summer 2020, after her brother received the same scholarship for caddying at Rolling Hills.
Fowler said the club’s had six or seven Evans Scholars, with Gorman and her brother being the two most recent.
So far, Gorman has caddied 90 loops or rounds, and wants to reach her goal of 160 this summer before she heads to CU.
Caddying has been a great summertime job, she described, saying she gets to be outdoors and mostly sets her own schedule. The biggest benefit, though, has been meeting the golfers. Gorman said she’s learned a lot from them over the years, about golf, business and life in general.
“It’s great to caddy,” she said. “You’re constantly learning.”
Fowler explained that, in addition to teaching them about golf and how to be better caddies, he hoped golfers also piqued the caddies’ interest about business and what they might want to do after high school.
Gorman’s undecided about her major at CU, but she’s considering studying business or law, partly based on what she’s learned from golfers.
For any young people interested in the Evans Scholarship, both Gorman and Fowler stressed it’s not a guaranteed hole-in-one.
Fowler said the caddying work required to even qualify for the Evans Scholarship can’t be done in a single summer. So, students need to start caddying early, on top of the academic work and other qualifications.
Even after she applied, Gorman described a very thorough interview process in January before she received the scholarship.
And even once she starts at CU, Gorman won’t be resting on her laurels.
Gorman and other Evans Scholars will live in a chapter house, where they’re required to keep up their academics, complete housework and volunteer. Plus, Evans Scholars are expected, but not required, to continue caddying for at least one summer after they start at college.
But, Gorman’s excited to start her college career without having to worry about paying for her tuition or where she’ll be living each year. She’ll have a family of fellow caddie-scholars to bond with and to hold her accountable, she explained.
Fowler added that college students in general do better when they feel they’re part of a community, and the graduation rate for Evans Scholars is incredibly high because of that camaraderie.
For anyone looking to caddy or learn more about the Evans Scholarship, Fowler said Rolling Hills and Lakewood Country Club are local clubs that participate in the scholarship program. More information is available at wgaesf.org.
“It’s a very selective process and a very high honor,” Fowler said, adding that he was proud of Gorman for all her hard work.
While she still has two more months at Lakewood High School and a summer of caddying ahead of her, Gorman said of being an Evans Scholar, “I’m excited to see where this goes.”