So how did Eureka’s Cole Padawer, a hockey player for the Wildcats and a huge fan of the sport, get a scholarship to Missouri?
By being a golf caddy, of course.
Padawer, who caddies at Forest Hills Country Club in Clarkson Valley, is one of five St. Louis-area seniors who will be headed to Missouri this fall on a Chick Evans Scholarship.
The other seniors who earned scholarships this year are St. Louis University High’s Michael Hall and Jeffrey Naumann, Valley Park’s Duy Bui and Webster Groves’ Casey Thater.
“It is a huge honor,” said Padawer. “I honestly couldn’t believe it when I received the scholarship. I had worked so hard for it and for it all to pay off in the end was amazing. It was a huge relief knowing that I saved my parents from the financial stress of having to send me to college.”
Padawer, of Wildwood, caddies as often as he can at Forest Hills Country Club.
“I learned about the scholarship through my caddy master, Marvin Herrod,” Padawer said. “The application process started back at the end of summer … but the whole process started as soon as I began caddying because the scholarship was always something I had my eye on.”
The Chick Evans Scholarship, established in 1930, is a full, four-year housing and tuition college scholarship valued at an estimated $80,000 over four years.
Amy Fuller, director of communications for the Evans Scholars Foundation, said many young men want the scholarships.
“In recent years, we have been receiving record numbers of scholarship applications from across the country, showing that need is greater than ever for college financial assistance,” Fuller said. “This year, the Foundation awarded 260 scholarships from a nationwide pool of about 760 applicants.”
The four-year scholarship is funded through the Evans Scholars Foundation and the Western Golf Association, and is funded by donations from nearly 28,000 golfers who are part of the WGA’s Par Club as well as Evans Scholars alumni. The foundation also is the designated charity of the PGA Tour’s BMW Championship, which Fuller said generates more than $2 million annually.
Almost all Evans Scholars attend one of the 14 universities where the Foundation maintains a Scholarship House.
“The Evans Scholarship is life-changing for the deserving caddies who receive the scholarship,” Western Golf Association Chairman David Robinson, said. “Their dedication, hard work and sacrifice is inspiring, and we are honored to be able to help them pursue their dreams of a college education.”
Padawer loves hockey, but the sport is expensive. Being a golf caddy enabled him to earn his own money to help him pay for hockey equipment.
“I got into caddying because I wanted to play hockey my freshman year but my parents couldn’t afford it, so I made the commitment to pay for all of my hockey fees by myself,” Padawer said. “But to do that I needed a job, so my dad recommended caddying and as soon as I began caddying I loved it.”
Carrying a heavy golf bag, especially in hot weather, is a tough task. Looking for lost balls and advising on what club to use also factor into the job description. And,while Padawer enjoys being around the golf course, he said his game is not great.
Luckily, being a good golfer does not factor into the scholarship.