Caddy job pays off for Oak Bay High student

Oak Bay High student Alex Adams has won a $50

Oak Bay High student Alex Adams has won a $50

71-year-old scholarship to Colorado U. founded by amateur golfer

He admits to not being much of a golfer, but Alex Adams can rattle off without hesitation a couple of attributes every good caddy must possess.

“The ability to read a green and politeness.”

He’s also polite enough to explain how to read a green, calculating where a ball will go based on a green’s curvature.

It’s just one reason of many why Adams, who will graduate from Oak Bay High this year, was chosen for a $50,000 scholarship to the University of Colorado – Boulder, where he’ll study engineering. Adams caddied for three summers at Victoria Golf Club, maintained nearly a straight-A average, did community service, passed an American college testing exam and had to answer a flurry of questions from a 25-member committee in order to garner the scholarship.

The Chick Evans Caddie Scholarship was started in 1930 by Evans, an amateur American golfer who never went to college, but wanted other caddies to have the chance. The program has been in place at VGC for only four years, mostly because the club hadn’t had any caddies since the late 1960s.

Oak Bay resident and VGC member Clint Nickerson was a caddy as a teen at the club in the early 1960s.

He says caddying went out of fashion with the advent of motorized golf carts.

“Caddies used to be a necessity for elderly golfers or people out of condition who carried their bags made of kangaroo leather, which alone could weigh 30 pounds,” he said. Bags nowadays weigh about 2.5 kilograms (5.5 pounds).

VGC was approached four years ago by the Pacific Northwest Golf Association to offer the Evans scholarship program and became the first club in Canada to do so.

Club member Berne Neufeld took on the job of lobbying local schools for potential caddies. Those who were accepted into the program had to finish 100 rounds as caddies on the course over three summers to qualify for the scholarship. Today the club has eight caddies.

As for Adams, Victoria Golf Club pros taught him the finer points of carrying clubs for members. His brother, Mark, is also in the program and will be a 2012 candidate for the scholarship.

Caddies are paid for the hours they put in, a fact not lost on Adams.

“It’s definitely worth it,” he said. “You make as much money as you would in any summer job, and then there’s the opportunity of the scholarship as a bonus at the end.”

vmoreau@oakbaynews.com