Five New Evans Scholars Chosen
February 2, 2021
By Jack Mendesh
When asked what the Evans scholarship would mean to him, Karsten Kimsal, a caddie-scholar from Hazeltine National, responded, “The Evans Scholarship would put me into a community of scholars that will motivate you and lift you up.”
Another prospective caddie-scholar, William Addler, of Wayzata Country Club said, “Leadership and my Faith are the two most important things to me. The growth of the leader and the individuals in the group is the most important aspect of being a leader.”
And, finally, William Nelson, a caddie-scholar from Oak Ridge Country Club, replied when asked about reading greens for a member golfer, “When caddying, you can’t control the green speed, but you can control how you read the green. This is a larger metaphor for controlling things in your life; you can control what you can control.”
So went interviews with five scholar candidates whittled from a group of 27 Evans Scholars applicants from around Minnesota during a zoom video conference Feb. 2 with an audience of more than 100 participants including Evans alumni, donors, educators, golf club staff, Western Golf Association staff and WGA directors. While COVID-19 restrictions prevented the interviews from occurring in person, the online video platform allowed participants to meet the highly accomplished young men and one woman, who were selected based on their high school academic record, leadership activities, caddie record and their family’s financial need.
The five caddie-scholars were Karsten Kimsal from Minnetonka H.S./Hazeltine National GC, Kaia Heltne from East Ridge H.S./Interlachen CC, Garrett Kaiser from Wayzata H.S./The Minikahda Club, William Nelson from Hopkins H.S./Oak Ridge CC, and William Addler from Southwest Christian H.S./Wayzata CC.
The scholarship applicants received news of their Evans Scholarship selection in Mid-February, joining one of the largest caddie scholarship programs in the country: more than two dozen similar selection meetings were held recently, awarding 300 scholarships to 20 colleges and universities in the fall.
As a young adult, Chick Evans was forced to drop out of school due to financial reasons. After winning the 1916 U.S. Open at The Minikahda Club in Minneapolis, Evans turned down his golf prize money and other related revenue to start the Evans Scholarship Program for young caddies. The first Evans Scholars attended Northwestern University in 1930. Five years later, the first scholar attended the University of Minnesota.
In 2030, the WGA will celebrate the 100th anniversary of that program, and they have established ambitious goals for the centennial, including increasing the number of scholars from 1,100 to 1,500; making the organization more diverse; and doubling the number of youth caddies. The Minnesota WGA volunteer directors, working in concert with local club staff, club leaders, community leaders and the team at the MGA are creating plans to strengthen local caddie programs to support those goals. Watch for updates on this important work.