The life of a caddy can be low-key, demanding and grueling.

Yet it can also be one of life’s most important roles.

“When I started, I didn’t think golf was super fun,” said Liam Jeninga.

As Jeninga strolls the golf course at Big Foot Country Club in Fontana-on-Geneva-Lake, the future freshman’s opinions are very different from six years ago.

“You know, you have four hours to walk with the golfers here,” Jeninga said. “And it’s just wonderful to have an open ear and talk with the people here because they’re all business owners, entrepreneurs, all of these wonderful people that you can learn so much from.”

Like Jeninga, fellow caddies Sarah Teske and Owen Stauffer have been carrying bags and getting to know members for years here.

“When I started, I wasn’t a very social person at all,” Stauffer said. “But I learned over about 200 rounds how to interact with people, how to befriend people, how to work with people in a short time and thus develop relationships.”

“Being here, around people who are very successful in their professions, has helped me gain confidence to be who I am,” Teske said.

While all three gained confidence, they also all earned the prestigious Evans Scholarship, a full college scholarship for caddies.

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“I think we’re all very proud of each other,” Jeninga said. “We’re very proud of Bigfoot for preparing us for this. I think Bigfoot is very proud of us for getting this far. And there’s a lot of happiness and joy around us.”

Former club president and Western Golf Association Director Mike George has seen the caddy program grow from the start.

“We were able to build awareness of the program, provide scholarship opportunities for our caddies and from there the program has thrived beyond that,” George said.

“The members and our pros know what it takes to make an Evan’s Scholar,” Stauffer said. “What they’re going to do is they’re good at scouting candidates early on and giving them opportunities to prove themselves, like me, Liam and Sarah.”

From there, it’s the caddies who make sure they take the necessary steps to win the scholarship, get good grades, get involved in their community, and work really hard at the club.

“If you persevere and get through those 5:30, 5:30 a.m. finish times, and are willing to work hard, and make sure your pro knows you want to work hard, it will pay off,” , Stauffer said.

“Every morning,” Jeninga said. “It’s really important to get things done in your day. So when you wake up at 5 a.m. to get here, it will help you along the way.”

“It pushed me a bit to always be at my best,” Teske said. “And even if you have a day off, there’s always tomorrow to be better.”

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For Sarah, Owen and Liam, tomorrow looks brighter as they enter college understanding how Big Foot’s endeavors will impact the rest of their lives.

“I would say I have to prove myself from now on,” Stauffer said. “I have to, essentially, earn Evan’s Scholar next to my name for the rest of my life. I’m so grateful to be coming out of college debt-free.”

Owen and Sarah will go to UW-Madison in the fall while Liam will head to Northwestern.

The four years of study, as well as accommodation and meals, are covered by the scholarship.

The Evans Scholars Foundation is the largest scholarship program for caddies in the nation.