Go West, Young Caddy
Grand Junction welcomes the successful Solich Caddie and Leadership Academy program.
By Ryan Smith
The flagship program of the Colorado Golf Association is headed west in 2017. Thanks to a partnership with the City of Grand Junction, the Solich Caddie and Leadership Academy is establishing an outpost at Grand Junction’s Lincoln Park and Tiara Rado golf courses.
Now in its sixth year at CommonGround Golf Course in Aurora and third year at Meridian Golf Club in Englewood, the academy continues to gain recognition as an impactful program designed to instill life skills and develop character through caddieing, volunteerism and leadership training.
“Four lucky teenagers from Grand Junction will have the opporutunity to receive the formative experience of a lifetime,” says Colorado Golf Association Executive Director Ed Mate, a former caddie himself, who credits CGA Board Member and Grand Junction resident Frank Wilkinson for leading the academy’s westward charge.
“The program continues to be a success at CommonGround and Meridian, and we are grateful for the collaborative spirit we received from the city of Grand Junction,” Mate says. “These kids will learn so much through their experience caddieing, the weekly ethics curriculum they receive and the volunteer work the program requires.”
The Academy continues to see increased demand, with applications exceeding the number of spots available. The program also continues to see positive results from graduates.
Founded at CommonGround Golf Course, the home course of the CGA, the Solich Caddie and Leadership Academy puts kids on a path to an Evans Scholarship. Last year alone, three graduates of the academy received the scholarship, bringing the total to 12 program graduates who have received the four-year, full-tuition-and-housing scholarship to the University of Colorado in Boulder.
Through the Solich Academy, golfers in the Grand Junction or Denver areas can take caddies in the program in June and July free of charge—though a gratuity for good service is encouraged. The caddies receive an educational stipend on a biweekly basis, pending their completion of the program requirements: number of loops completed, attendance at weekly ethics and leadership training sessions and volunteer hours with local community programs.
The Academy is subsidized by contributions and sponsors locally and nationally. For more information about supporting the Solich Caddie and Leadership Program, visit coloradogolf.org
This article appears in the June 2017 issue of Colorado AvidGolfer. Subscribe today!
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