By Mike Cane Herald Writer
EVERETT — Six years ago Dayna Feller didn’t even play golf, but now she has a college scholarship because of her involvement in the sport.
Feller, a 2008 Cascade High School graduate, started golfing when she was 16 and played three seasons at Cascade. While she wasn’t an elite prep player, she found a way to earn a scholarship: by being a caddie.
Feller is one of four people from Washington who were awarded the Chick Evans Caddie Scholarship this year. The scholarship — part of an 80-year-old national program which pays full tuition and includes a housing stipend — is based on four criteria: caddie record, academics, financial need and character.
Golf caddies are responsible for things like carrying a player’s clubs, teeing up the ball, watching where the ball goes, knowing the rules and — depending on the player’s skill level — offering tips.
Feller, 20, caddied at Everett Golf &Country Club, where she still works.
The Cascade grad will return in September to the University of Washington, where she has already studied one year after transferring from Edmonds Community College.
Feller’s Evans Scholarship is worth an estimated $70,000 over four years, though she is on pace to graduate sooner than that.
The first time Feller applied for the scholarship she didn’t get it. She misunderstood the requirements and learned she needed to log more caddying time.
That’s unusually challenging at Everett Golf &Country Club, head pro Brent Webber said, because players at the club rarely request caddies.
But two club members stepped up and offered to help Feller. Both former caddies themselves, Herb Knudson and John Hulbert had Feller caddy for them. They were involved in the bulk of her required caddying time: 20 18-hole rounds per year for two consecutive years.
“Herb and John really helped me a lot,” Feller said.
Webber, who coordinated Feller’s caddy training, praised Feller for persevering after she did not meet the Evans Scholarship requirements the first time around.
“The number one thing is determination,” Webber said. “She just kept at it and we got it done.”
Caddying is often a thankless job but Feller said it was fun because she knows everyone so well at Everett G&CC, where she has worked four years. There were challenges though.
“Waking up early was probably the hardest for me. I’m not a morning person,” said Feller, who frequently caddied at weekend tournaments that started just after dawn.
The Evans Scholarship application process was a long one, Feller said. She resubmitted her application in the fall, found out she was a finalist in March and did a formal interview with scholarship committee members. Finally, she found out she won in late March.
During the interview about 20 curious, green-jacketed committee members asked Feller questions that ranged from what she does for fun to why her SAT and ACT scores weren’t as impressive as her high school grade-point average (She had a 4.0 GPA at Cascade.).
That was “probably the scariest” part of the scholarship-application process, Feller said.
These days Feller doesn’t have much time to play golf. She works in the Everett G&CC bag room, where she cleans members’ clubs. She also washes carts and picks up balls on the driving range.
But Feller plans to keep golfing for life, partly because it’s fun and partly because she knows it’s good for professional networking.
She wants to be a school counselor and plans to double major at the UW, possibly in psychology and communications.
For more information about the Chick Evans Caddie Scholarship go to www.evansscholarsfoundation.com.
Mike Cane: email@example.com. Check out the prep sports blog Double Team at www.heraldnet.com/doubleteam.