In 2012, Meagan McEnery suffered a devastating knee injury.
What she didn’t know in that fateful middle-school moment was how it would eventually lead to a full tuition and housing scholarship.
Growing up in San Mateo, Meagan focused her energy as a young girl on basketball and volleyball, playing competitively until her knee injury in 8th grade. Golf was not even on her radar until other sports were no longer an option.
Looking for a way to harness her competitive nature after her injury, Meagan tried golf. With the guidance of her father, Meagan played and practiced at Poplar Creek, where she enjoyed the challenge of the game and saw her skills continued to improve.
With some more encouragement from her dad, she decided to join her high school golf team as a freshman. It was her golf coach who then introduced her to Youth on Course.
“My coach mentioned something about Youth on Course and I didn’t know much about it at first. My dad looked more online and realized it made golf affordable to play. It was great because golf is so expensive that it’s hard to play every day with the price.”
Once she joined Youth on Course, Meagan began to enjoy golf even more and grew better and stronger with each round. Soon, she and her dad were playing together every chance they could.
“[Golf] was great for me and my dad to start bonding over,” Meagan recalled. “We’d go out everyday and hit some balls on the range, go play 9 holes over the weekend. It just became a thing that we would do constantly every weekend together.”
Sometime during her junior year of high school, Meagan received an email from Youth on Course promoting the Caddie Academy, and again her father encouraged her to get involved. She was very hesitant at first.
“[Caddying] was a different aspect of the game and I thought I couldn’t do it.” Meagan said. “I tried golf and I liked it, but how could I be the person with advice, when I was always the one getting the advice?”
She decided to give the Caddie Academy orientation a chance, and it paid off tenfold.
Her confidence in her caddying abilities grew with the help of mentors at the course, and Meagan began challenging herself to learn more about golf and do even better during her loops. She worked hard to memorize the yardages and the subtleties of the course so that when a member would ask for advice she could answer, often leaving players in shock of her expertise.
After caddying for the entire summer at Cal Club (completing more than 50 loops – some on double-bags), Meagan felt like a different person. In the course of a summer, she had transformed from a shy and nervous person to an outgoing, go-getter.
“[Youth on Course] taught me how to be a leader and how to apply what I’ve learned in the real world,” Meagan said. “[As a caddie] I had to talk to people and I had to learn communications skills. [Youth on Course] helped me so much with that and helped me grow as a person.“
Prior to caddying, Meagan said she only pictured herself attending community college, but when she heard of the Chick Evans Scholarship, she changed her perspective and immediately set her goal to achieve it.
“It became my dream. I was so motivated to get there and to keep caddying and get my number of loops up.”
The Chick Evans Caddie Scholarship is a full tuition and housing college scholarship available only for golf caddies, and is renewable for up to four years. Each year, more than 900 deserving caddies across the country attend college on a four-year scholarship from the Evans Scholars Foundation. Selected applicants must have a strong caddie record, excellent grades, outstanding character and demonstrated financial need.
Meagan applied for the scholarship in September, and interviewed with the committee in early February. When she first heard she received the award, she was speechless.
“What a huge weight lifted off not only my shoulders, but my dad’s shoulders as well,” Meagan said. “Financially, to be able to go to a great school and have it all paid for – I’m so grateful.”
In September, Meagan will start classes at The University of Washington – free of student loans, tuition and boarding payments. She will study Pre-health Science with the end goal of medical school. She wants to get involved in a variety of activities and clubs as well as find a golf course to continue playing.
When Youth on Course began the Caddie Academy in 2014, one of the long-term objectives was to develop caddies that would qualify for the Evans Scholarship. Meagan is the first and only Youth on Course caddie to receive the award so far.
“Try anything that presents itself to you,” Meagan suggests to Youth on Course members considering caddying. “Any opportunity there is, branch out and get out of your comfort zone and don’t worry about failing.”