Chick Evans Biography

 

A young Chick Evans

 

The caddies' benefactor

Chicago’s legendary amateur golfer Charles “Chick” Evans Jr. was born on July 18, 1890. His family moved to Chicago in 1893, and five years later, he began caddying at Edgewater Golf Club at age 8.

From that early introduction to the game, Evans grew into the nation’s top amateur golfer. He earned his greatest fame in 1916, when he won both the U.S. Open and U.S. Amateur. No other golfer had won both championships in the same year, and only the great Bobby Jones has done it since.

As Evans’ fame grew, pressure mounted for him to turn professional, but Evans wasn’t interested in playing for money. He loved the game for its purity, tradition and sportsmanship. Still, he couldn’t avoid entering into agreements that brought money his way. To preserve his amateur status, Evans decided any earnings should be placed in an escrow fund. In his era, that could be done, and a golfer could remain an amateur.

A Commitment to Caddies

Evans, influenced by his mother, Lena, had a plan. His funds could finance college educations for needy caddies. That commitment grew from Evans’ own inability to complete his college education. He attended Northwestern University as a freshman, but had to drop out of school.

From his Edgewater days, Evans knew there were many worthy young caddies who showed academic promise, but whose families could not afford the costs of college. In 1928, Evans persuaded the Western Golf Association to oversee the trust fund, and in 1930, the first two Evans Scholars enrolled at Northwestern University. Chick Evans’ dream had become a reality.

A Champion Golfer

Along the way, Evans realized another dream, that of becoming a world-renowned amateur golfer. He entered the national spotlight in 1909 when he won the Western Amateur. The following year, he became the first amateur to win the Western Open, a feat unmatched for 75 years, until college player Scott Verplank beat the pros.  

Evans’ winning performance in the 1916 U.S. Open was among the best of his generation. Using just seven hickory-shafted clubs, Evans fired a two-under-par 286 at Minikahda Club in Minneapolis, the first sub-par finish in Open history and a score that wouldn’t be bettered for 20 years.

Evans won eight Western Amateurs and appeared in 50 consecutive U.S. Amateurs, winning a second in 1920 and making it to the semifinals or more 12 times. He played in the Western Open until 1967, when he was 77 years old. After that, he was the Western’s host. An honorary WGA vice president, Evans’ last appearance was at the 1978 Western at Butler National.

His Biggest Thrill

Chick Evans’ golfing career lasted six decades. He triumphed over such golfing luminaries as Bobby Jones, Francis Ouimet, Walter Hagen and Gene Sarazen, and competed in an inapproachable record of 50 consecutive U.S. Amateur Championships. And yet, when Chick died in 1979, his biggest thrill from the game of golf was not any of his 54 victories or numerous honors. It was the success of the Evans Scholars Foundation and the young people who were able to benefit from his dream.