Baldwin senior lands caddie scholarship
David Shoemaker never thought he'd receive a full scholarship for college, especially through caddying, which he's done as a summer job since eighth grade.
“It was just a way to make some extra money,” said Shoemaker, who is a senior at Baldwin High School.
At the South Hills Country Club caddie banquet, Shoemaker learned about scholarship opportunities, including local and regional ones, and decided to apply for the national Chick Evans Caddie Scholarship in the summer.
“That's like the mac daddy,” Shoemaker said. “That's the full-ride.”
Nationally, nearly 750 caddies submitted a two-page essay, while meeting other requirements like academic excellence and an outstanding caddie record.
When Shoemaker learned he was a finalist, he didn't know what to think.
“Late January, I found out I was a finalist,” Shoemaker said. “I was like, ‘what?' I did not expect to make it this far. I just thought there would be something that would hold me back from getting it.”
An interview and one “fat package” later, Shoemaker was a recipient of the highly sought-after scholarship, which is renewable for four years.
At Baldwin, Shoemaker is a member of the boys' tennis program and an editor for the school newspaper. He also played golf for three years.
The accumulation of academics, extracurriculars and an exceptional caddie record made Shoemaker an ideal candidate for the Evans scholarship, according to Western Golf Association manager of caddies and scholarship development Tim Orbon.
“He really showed us he had the ability to excel in the classroom and outside of the classroom,” Orbon said. “That's really a big portion of what we're looking for.”
In his five years at South Hills Country Club, Shoemaker learned that caddying is more than just showing up and carrying someone's golf bag.
“As caddies, we handle some of Pittsburgh's most successful people,” Shoemaker said. “You handle them for four hours. That's something not even their employees can say.”
It's that type of interpersonal communication Orbon believes make caddies well-rounded individuals coming out of high school, preparing them for productive college careers.
“I think that's where they learn the skills,” Orbon said. “It really just sets you up for success.”
The Evans scholarship foundation has houses at 14 colleges around the country, and plans to keep adding to that number as scholars can be found at other top universities.
Justin Criado is a freelance writer.