King Fok, a senior at Notre Dame, reminisces on his journey from caddying in high school to earning a full tuition and board scholarship at one of the nation’s most premier universities.
Fok started caddying at Waverley Country Club in Portland, Oregon. Although Fok was earning good money over his two summers of caddying, the conditions were less than ideal. “Brutal heat, 30-pound bags, 18 holes, five to six days a week, and aching body,” he said of the experience. In fact, Fok told USA Today: “By the time I got home each night, my entire body ached, especially my hip. I suffer from Legg-Calve-Perthes disease, which interrupts blood flow to my hip joint, causing the bone to collapse on itself. As a result, I experience a lot of pain.”
How caddying helped me earn a full ride at a prestigious college https://t.co/aKT2zLhr99
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Despite this, Fok approached the daily 138-acre walk with passion and excitement. Why? Because he had one goal: earn the Chick Evans Scholarship for Caddies supported by the Western Golf Association.
“Once, golf was completely unfamiliar to me. I’m a Chinese immigrant. My parents have never set foot on a golf course. In Hong Kong, you typically have to be wealthy to play the sport. But then I learned of the Evans Scholarship, which sounded too good to be true: I could earn a full housing and tuition scholarship to a prestigious university — by caddying.”
In order to be an Evans Scholar, one must demonstrate a strong caddie record, excellent academics, outstanding character and financial need. Fok met all the requirements but one; he didn’t know how to caddy. But he didn’t let that stop him from throwing everything he had into learning.
“Arriving at Waverly Country Club, Fok met former caddie manager, Josiah Neuhaus, who interviewed and hired him. Neuhaus always gave tips to Fok, and worked with the young caddy throughout the process. “Neuhaus, among many others, always had confidence in me, even when I didn’t believe in myself. On top of the physical issues that come with my Legg-Calve-Perthes disease, I also faced emotional struggles. I was the victim of childhood abuse, something that I work every day to move past. But a chance to go to the college of my dreams was all the motivation I needed.”