The New Jersey State Golf Association Caddie Scholarship Foundation has been a shining light in providing higher educational assistance to New Jersey caddies since 1947.
Over its 70-year history, the NJSGA CSF has awarded more than $12.7 million in scholarships to nearly 3,000 caddie scholars.
Recently, New Jersey caddies have had the opportunity to apply for an Evans Scholarship, which historically were offered only to caddies from the mid-western United States.
In the recent past, just three New Jersey caddies, all young men, have been awarded the prestigious Evans Scholarship, a full, four-year housing and tuition college grant.
This year marked a milestone when not only one, but two, New Jersey caddies were selected to receive Evans Scholarships. Even more impressive, both recipients are female caddies, a first for the state.
They are Caitlin Marcus of Tenafly, a senior at Tenafly High School, who will attend the University of Michigan, and Samantha Boehmcke of Spring Lake Heights, a senior at St. Rose High School in Belmar, who will matriculate at Ohio State University.
Each caddie has a unique story to tell, reflecting the scholarship’s four selection criteria: a strong caddie record; excellent academics; demonstrated financial need; and outstanding character. They will begin college in the fall of 2017. The scholarship is valued at more than $100,000 over four years.
The three past Evans Scholarship winners from New Jersey were award recipients of the NJSGA CSF , including Tyler Citrin of Springfield, a Baltusrol caddie who will be a senior at Indiana University next fall.
“It is wonderful that for the first time, New Jersey has two Evans Scholarship recipients, but it is extraordinary that both are young ladies,” said Tom Paluck, former New Jersey State Golf Association president and currently a director of the Western Golf Association’s Evans Scholarship. Paluck is the inspiration behind the annual New Jersey Evans Scholars Classic Golf Outing, held in New Jersey, which has raised more than $1 million for Evans Scholarships over the past 14 years.
“We are setting an example in New Jersey with our golf outing and fund-raising efforts for other golf associations in the country to follow. To have two female caddies receive the Evans awards is as good as it gets. It is very exciting and will showcase our golf outing in August,” said Paluck of the event to be held August 7 at Hawk Pointe G.C. in Washington, N.J.
Ms. Marcus has the most unique story of all, not only being one of two females selected from New Jersey in the same year, but being the second Evans Scholar in her family. Her older brother, Thomas, an Evans Scholar, graduates this May from the University of Michigan, with a degree in sports management.
“I wouldn’t have received this scholarship without Tommy. I wouldn’t have started caddieing if it weren’t for my brother. I thank him all the time,” Caitlin said.
“The Evans Scholarship completely changed his life. My family did not have a lot of money over the years. We both feel how lucky and grateful we are to the Evans Scholarship and the Western Golf Association.
“When he first received the scholarship, he was in shock. Now, I know how he feels.”
Over the past four years, Caitlin has been a frequent visitor to the Evans Scholars house at the University of Michigan.
“When I first went there, I was so young, but everyone made me feel comfortable and was incredibly nice to me,” said Ms. Marcus, who will be one of 11 young women living in the house this fall and one of 16 first-year Evans Scholars at Michigan.
Ms. Marcus, who is majoring in computer science, has positive thoughts of her days as a caddie at Knickerbocker Golf Club in Tenafly.
“It is such an amazing job. If you have the ability to be a caddie and a chance to apply for this scholarship, every female caddie should do it. In a male dominated field, I would love to see more females take advantage of this,” Ms. Marcus stated.
Ms. Boehmcke, a three-sport athlete at St. Rose (volleyball, swimming and golf) was “recruited” by her neighbor, former caddie master Tom Caverly, to become the first female caddie at Spring Lake Golf Club in its 100-year history.
She started her career at Spring Lake by attending caddie school there at age 15.
“At caddie school, the bar was even higher for me being the first girl. I was there five weeks in the cold and the rain and snow, but I stuck it out because I wanted it so bad,” Samantha said. “Last summer, I trained two more female caddies and this year three more girls are at caddie school. We can do everything the boys can do and more. I carry two bags all the time.
“I can read the greens. I’ve been playing golf my entire life. I understand the effects of the wind, and how much weather impacts the game. I feel I can help my golfer play the game better.”
Ms. Boehmcke intended to attend college on the East Coast until she heard of the Evans Scholarship from former Spring Lake caddie Gary Sagui, who is involved in the Evans organization, and also through Mr. Caverly.
Ohio State is a perfect fit for Samantha, who will major in marine biology.
“Being the first female caddie at Spring Lake brought favorable attention to the club and mentoring opportunities to bring in more girls to caddie,” said Ms. Boehmcke’s mom, Mary. “We are honored to be part of the Evans family and to have this opportunity for our daughter. We have two more children, so this is a gift to my husband, Shawn, and myself.
“To have two female caddies awarded the Evans Scholarship in the same year is a feather in the cap. Bravo! More girls should think of caddieing as a summer job. Now we are part of the Evans Scholarship family and it is far reaching,” said Mary Boehmcke, who met her husband when both were students at Loyola College in Maryland.
“I am very excited to attend Ohio State. The first thing I am going to do is go to a football game, and then I’m buying student season tickets to seal the deal,” Samantha said.
Both young ladies will continue to caddie at their respective clubs this summer.