Park City High School senior could get a full scholarship for caddying
Park City High School senior Jack Hanskat has a turned working the green into a golden opportunity.
By Caddying for the past three summers, he qualifies for a caddy-specific scholarship funded by The Evans Scholars Foundation. On Feb. 28, Hanskat will travel to Seattle, where he will done a suit he borrowed from his neighbor and speak in front of 50 to 100 adults, who will ask him questions about golf, caddying, his academic and athletic aspirations, his leadership skills and whatever else they feel like. If they like what they hear, Hanskat will get a full scholarship to either the University of Oregon, the University of Washington, or the University of Colorado, Boulder. He would also officially be an Evans scholar — the first from Utah.
The Evans Scholars Foundation was started by Charles “Chick” Evans Jr. in 1930 after he paid his way through college by caddying. Alice Mayerstein and her husband, Buffy Mayerstein, chairman of the Western Golf Association, brought the prospect to Park City High School three years ago in a push to establish the Evans scholarship in Utah as part of a broader effort to reach 1,000 enrolled scholars by 2020.
“Right now there’s 965 scholars and colleagues at 14 different universities, and it’s a nationwide program,” Buffy said. “We thought it would be interesting to try and start it here with people like Jack.”
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By people like Jack, he meant students with serious golfing chops, a high ACT score and a certain amount of financial need.
Buffy said the program is exceptional because it includes housing and tuition, which the Western Golf Association claims averages out to $100,000 per scholarship. The organization also claims to spend $17.6 million per year on scholarships.
“I was ecstatic,” Hanskat said, recalling his initial reaction to the program. “I was so excited, because, it just seemed like such a cool job — being able to be out on the golf course and help read puts, help give advice. I was thrilled for sure.”
As with any new program, there were some kinks. Hanskat said at first, there were very few people that wanted a caddie, which made earning the requisite 100 loops (caddying outings) difficult.
“I would get a text saying, ‘Hey, can you come caddy in half an hour?’ And whether I was out with friends or whatever I was doing, I would say, ‘I’ll be right over,’ and I would run to my house, grab my caddy stuff, and head over,” he said. “But as the years went on, it definitely got more organized. And there was less of a time crunch, but it still happened for sure.”
Hanskat said over the three years that he has participated in the program, he has made between 80 and 90 loops, but the Western Golf Association has been flexible with him because the program in Park City is new. Over those jobs, he said he has learned a lot about caddying.
“Aside from just being able to be comfortable around new people and trying to make other people be as comfortable as possible around me, it taught me that I really needed to be dedicated,” Hanskat said. “Whenever I would get a text or anything about the possibility of having a loop, I would just drop everything and go caddie.”
Most of his loops were what is called forecaddying, where he would lead a group of golfers and spot their drives, marking them on the fairway. But he said carrying for individuals was a more personal and satisfying experience. In particular, Hanskat recalled helping an older woman sink the perfect putt during a tournament.
“I said, ‘Hit it right to this spot,’ and this other lady said, ‘Oh, you hit his spot,’ sarcastically, like she was going to miss,” Hanskat said. “Then she just drained it from 90 feet away.”
Aside from technical advice, which, as a member of Park City High School’s 10th consecutive state championship golf team, Hanskat is well qualified to give, he said a caddy can make golfing more enjoyable.
“It’s not just carrying the clubs, obviously,” he said. “You’re there for moral support, and to give advice, and be a good companion for the golfer, and really get to know them and make them feel comfortable out there.”
He hopes that, as the Evans Scholarship catches on among the PCHS golf athletes, more people start to support it at local clubs.
“As of right now, it’s definitely a bit of a struggle,” he said. “People don’t really want to take a whole lot of caddies at Park Meadows. They figure they know the course better — granted if they have been playing here for 20, 30 years, they know the course like the back of their hand — but it would help out the scholarship a lot if more people were willing to take caddies and wanted to take caddies. And having that mental support, if you have a bad hole, your caddie can help talk you out of it and pick you back up again. Aside from just being great company out there.”
Now, Hanskat’s late-Febraury interview is the last part of his application process.
“This is do or die, and it’s a very confidential vote,” Buffy said. “A week later he will receive a letter in the mail … saying ‘Congratulations’ or ‘Thank you for applying.’”
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It’s going to be at least another month before Summit County’s high school athletes have any chance of getting onto the field again.