Seven-Club Fundraiser Celebrates 30th Anniversary
June 30, 2023 | 2 min.
By Jack Mendesh
When Chick Evans won the 1916 U.S. Amateur at the Merion Cricket Club and the 1916 U.S. Open at the Minikahda Club, he only carried seven clubs in his bag—during a time when players would carry up to 20 clubs. In 1930, Evans partnered with the Western Golf Association (WGA) and used his $200 winnings from his U.S. Open victory to start the Evans Scholar Foundation (ESF), a full tuition and housing scholarship for caddies. In its first year, the ESF funded its first two Evans Scholars at Northwestern University. The Evans Scholarship was established in Minnesota 20 years later when Jim Lange, host of the “The Dating Game,” was the first recipient of the scholarship, attending the University
In 1993, in response to a lack of a true Evans Scholars fundraiser in Minnesota, Evans Scholar alum, Minnesota Golf Association President and WGA Director Roger Gordon
created the Chick Evans Memorial Seven-Club Fundraiser. While Gordon passed away in 2000, the event has continued in his honor.
“The real success story is due to those that picked up after Roger died in 2000. Not only did they get the new [Evans Scholarship] house built, but they continued and improved the tournament, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars. Roger would be smiling,” says Trudy Halla, Gordon’s widow.
The purpose of the event was to honor Chick Evans by playing with seven clubs, wear time-period clothing from when he won the U.S. Open in 1916 and raise money for the Minnesota ESF. Since its inception, the event has raised over $1 million dollars for the Minnesota Evans Scholars.
This year marked the 30th edition of the event which was played June 26 at Windsong Farm. There are not many golf fundraising events that last 30 years, but the Seven-Club has stood the test of time. That can largely be attributed to Cheryl Schneider, a longtime WGA Director, and Anne Mullen, MGA meeting and event manager, being the “face” of the event for the last 20 years.
Schneider describes the event in her own words: “It is a very fun event to be a part of. We have so many repeat groups from year to year. Close to 90 percent of our groups play every year. They are not there to win a golf tournament; they are there to support the Evans Scholars.”
A major change that Schneider and Mullen made when they took over tournament operations was to have current Minnesota Evans Scholars caddie for every group in the event.
“The thing that we did that really added to the event was bringing the active Evans Scholars from the [University of Minnesota] house and have them caddie for the event. I firmly believe that when you see where your money is going, that makes the biggest impact on you personally,” Schneider explains.
In addition to caddying for the event, the Evans Scholars all introduce themselves one by one in front of the whole ballroom, sharing their major, year in school and their home caddie club while the golfers eat dinner following the round. Mullen describes this as the “star” of the event.
Reflecting on their 20 years together, Schneider and Mullen say they are very proud of the event, what it has become and the impact it has had on so many people.
“The amount of money that we have been able to raise over the last 20 years is a huge point of pride for me and us because it is such a wonderful scholarship,” Mullen says.
Here’s to another 30 years!
Jack Mendesh is the MGA’s caddie development manager, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.