As the cost of college rises, many high school students find themselves at a loss for how to afford a college degree. And though it’s not uncommon for top student athletes to sign with colleges, it’s rare for caddying to pave the way to free education. However, for McMinnville High School senior Molly Beyer, caddying has opened countless doors both in education and in life experience. Beyer was recently named a Western Golf Association Evans Scholar—meaning she will be attending the University of Oregon on a full scholarship this fall, an opportunity that would not have been available to her if she hadn’t been so passionate about golfing and caddying.

“Caddying is a great opportunity,” said Beyer when asked to describe her experience caddying at Portland Golf Club. “You get to interact with the golfers you’re caddying for, you get to build a relationship with them. You can learn so much more about golf, if you golf yourself—or even if you don’t… You can just have a lot of fun with it and make real world connections with people.”

Beyer, who has been golfing since she was ten years old, found caddying to be an exciting way to further her experience with golfing—an activity she’s been heavily involved in over her four years at McMinnville High School. Beyer has been a standout on the MHS girl’s golf team since her freshman year, and though COVID-19 made it difficult for her to interact with her team to the extent that she wanted, her senior year has been a rewarding return to normalcy, both in school and on the golf course. With that return to normalcy came the chance for Beyer to take up caddying, an opportunity she discovered through Portland Golf Club. 

“I started getting more involved and taking golf lessons, and that eventually led me to Portland Golf Club, where I met my mentor Rick Lamberton. He was such a great influence. For me, he was a really great teacher—he taught me a lot about golf, taught me a lot about being a person. He also introduced me to the caddie program they were offering up at Portland Golf Club,” Beyer said. “That’s when I really started to learn what it means to be a caddie.”

Caddying, along with providing unbeatable experience within the world of golfing, also serves as a part time job for Beyer. However, she never could have imagined caddying would be the path to free college education. The Evans Scholarship—which Beyer earned this winter—is meant to give qualified caddies with high academic achievement and valuable caddying experience the opportunity to pursue further education without looming financial burden—a reality that many high school students face as they prepare to graduate. 

“I feel really lucky that I was chosen for this opportunity,” Beyer said. “One of the last steps, after they comb through all the applicants, is doing a formal interview. And that was a really, really great experience because I got to see everyone else that had made it that far. And they’re all wonderful people who have a lot of love for the game of golf and for caddying.”

Beyer, who will be attending University of Oregon with plans to study biology, has her own love and passion for gold and caddying that is impossible not to notice. “I plan on caddying when I can in college, to earn some extra money and for the experience. I love being out there and I love caddying… And I will definitely continue to play golf,” she said. 

Beyer also acknowledges that her time on the McMinnville High School golf team has been vital to her growth as a golfer. She represented her team at the Oregon State Golf Tournament in May, scoring a 91 and 88. The girls golf team, which competes every spring, is a tight-knit group, and Beyer’s participation on it has been a fundamental part of her high school career.

“It’s been such a wonderful experience to be around girls who care about golf as much as I do,” Beyer admitted. “I love the relationship I’ve built with my team, old and new.” 

And though golfing—along with caddying—has presented Beyer with the opportunity of a lifetime, it’s clear that the most important part of her golfing experience has been the community she has found within it.