Western Golf Association
Founded in 1899, the Western Golf Association (WGA) is one of the United States' oldest golf organizations, and its headquarters are located in Golf, Illinois. The WGA sponsors three prestigious golf tournaments: the Western Junior, the Western Amateur and the BMW Championship, a FedEx Cup playoff event. In 2016, the organization announced that it will manage the 2018 Constellation Senior Players Championship, to be held at Exmoor Country Club in Highland Park, Illinois. Founded in 1899, the WGA has also administered the Chick Evans Scholarship Program for deserving caddies since its inception in 1930 through the Evans Scholars Foundation.
More than 460 member clubs, organizations and affiliations are part of the WGA. Par Club members and 100,000 golfers participate in the WGA Bag Tag Program in support of the Evans Scholars Foundation, one of the nation's largest individually funded scholarship programs. The program is also supported by 25 affiliated golf associations and proceeds from the BMW Championship, a PGA Tour FedEx Cup Playoff event whose 2017 edition will be held September 12–17 at Conway Farms Golf Club in Lake Forest, Illinois.
In addition to a dedicated staff made up of many Evans Scholars Alumni, the WGA's mission is furthered by officers who volunteer their time to operate the organization. They are called WGA Directors. David Robinson is the current Chairman of the WGA/ESF and John Kaczkowski is the current President/CEO.
Evans Scholars Foundation
Since 1930, the Evans Scholars Foundation has awarded full tuition and housing scholarships to deserving caddies across the country. The foundation was started by Charles "Chick" Evans Jr. It is overseen by the WGA and aided by affiliated U.S. country clubs.
Currently, there are 935 Scholars attending top universities in the United States. More than 10,400 caddies have graduated from college as Evans Scholars.
To qualify for the scholarship, students must have outstanding academic and caddie records, good character and leadership skills and financial need. The Scholarship is renewed on a yearly basis.
Most Scholars live at one of the 15 universities that has a Foundation-owned Scholarship House. The 15 chapters are as follows in order of foundation: Northwestern University (1940), University of Illinois (1951), University of Michigan (1952), University of Wisconsin (1953), Michigan State University (1955), Marquette University (1955), University of Minnesota (1958), Ohio State University (1962), Purdue University (1967), University of Colorado (1967), University of Missouri (1968), Indiana University (1969), Miami University (1974), Northern Illinois University (1987), and University of Oregon (2016).
In 2013, The Evans Scholars Foundation sent Scholars to the University of Notre Dame. Their enrollment marked the first time the program has sent its caddies to the private university in South Bend, Indiana in nearly 50 years.
These scholarship houses are majorly maintained by the Scholars within the house, with the WGA stepping in to aid in larger projects.
Originally formed as a rulesmaking body, the WGA was born because U.S. western golf clubs (the current Midwest was "the west" in the 1890s) felt that they weren't being properly represented in the United States Golf Association, based then in New York. But after 20 stormy years followed by negotiations, the WGA officially recognized the USGA's authority as the rulesmaking body in the U.S.
The WGA oversees and hosts professional and amateur events. Today it has conducted more than 300 tournaments. Its first tournaments were held at the Glen View Club. The events the WGA runs today are the Western Amateur, the Western Junior, and the BMW Championship.
- Western Junior: Park Ridge Country Club, Park Ridge, Illinois, June 19–22
- Western Amateur: Skokie Country Club, Glencoe, Illinois, July 31 – August 5
- BMW Championship, Conway Farms Golf Club, Lake Forest, Illinois, September 14–17
- "PGA Tour names Exmoor Country Club as host of 2018 Constellation Senior Players Championship". Retrieved January 7, 2017.
- "Evans Scholarship house opens at University of Oregon". Retrieved January 7, 2017.