JGAA alum set to attend University of Kansas in the fall.
JGAA alum Evan Johnson recently learned he earned the distinguished Evans Scholarship, “a full housing and tuition college scholarship awarded to golf caddies with limited financial means,” administered by the Western Golf Association.
“This is fantastic news for Evan, Desert Forest and Arizona golf in general,” said Brandon Rogers, Head Golf Professional at Desert Forest Golf Club where Johnson is part of the club’s caddie program. “We hope this is a springboard to enhance caddie programs across Arizona. It’s open for anyone 13-18, and you don’t even need to play golf to caddie. Many of my members were first introduced to golf through caddying.”
Rogers credited his staff, club members, board of directors, caddie committee, and he gave “special recognition” to JGAA Executive Director Scott McNevin: “He was a huge help when we needed it!”
With all of the support in place, Johnson ran with it.
“He has worked unbelievably hard for this,” Rogers added.
In fact, in January 2019, Johnson sent Rogers a text that set the tone.
“Hey, I was wondering if I could get some more loops here and there,” Johnson asked Rogers. “I know that I want this [Evans Scholarship] more than anyone out there, and if that means working a double loop on some days, sign me up. If I need to come in and get some trainings in, let’s do it. I want to be here. I need to get loops for the scholarship, and I could care less about the gear. I know that I already have a high number of loops, but I want more. The more loops I get, the more I get noticed by the Western Golf Association for the scholarship. Thank you for taking time to read this, let’s get to work.”
This year, 1,010 Evans Scholars are enrolled in 18 leading universities nationwide. Since 1930, when the first two Evans Scholars enrolled at Northwestern University, more than 11,050 outstanding young men and women have graduated from college as Evans Scholars. Evans Scholars are selected on the basis of a strong caddie record, excellent grades, outstanding character and demonstrated financial need.
“Evan epitomizes what our Program has been about since its creation in 1930,” said WGA Chairman Kevin Buggy. “His dedication, hard work and sacrifice is humbling, and we are honored to be able to help him pursue his dreams.”
Before Evan Johnson sets out for Kansas, he’ll finish up his freshman year at Grand Canyon University where, as it turns out, he’s attending on the Wilson Caddie Scholarship, which he will relinquish to pursue the new opportunity as a Jayhawk.
Johnson’s Physical Education/Health Education teacher at Mountain Ridge High School, Julie Olsen, contributed to his scholarship application calling out Johnson’s “leadership role for the fellowship of Christian Athletes club at Mountain Ridge High School for two years.”
“His caddie experience has improved his golf game over that past several years, which helped him to earn a spot on the varsity golf team his senior year. He also maintained a 3.5 GPA while taking a leadership roles at Mountain Ridge and the in the community. I cannot think of anyone more deserving and I wholeheartedly support his application,” she concluded.
Johnson’s story personifies the JGAA’s mission to “educate, motivate and inspire Arizona’s future leaders through the game of golf.” And like the vast majority of JGAA members, Johnson isn’t likely to play golf professionally, but with an endorsement like this one from his friend and mentor at his church, Austin Uecker, success in life for Johnson is a certainty: “I have watched him grow into a man of great integrity and grace.”