Being a caddie has improved Saul Galvan’s golf game and his life.
As a freshman, Galvan shot a 121 when he was trying out for the Nazareth Academy golf team. Since that time, he has cut his handicap from 29 to 13. For non-golfers, that means he typically now shoots around 85 on a par-72 course.
A caddie’s life also has taught him about living in another part of the country. He toted golf bags two of the past three summers in Massachusetts.
Best of all, his caddie career has given him four years of college free of ever worrying about where he’ll get money for tuition and housing. The 17-year-old Nazareth Academy senior from Berwyn is a Chick Evans Scholarship recipient.
The program designed to give caddies a better chance in life has helped 1,070 students since its inception in 1930.
“It’s incredible,” Galvan said. “It’s such a blessing, not just for me but for my family as well. They were the ones who kept pushing me. It was emotional for all of us.
“I just want to make them proud. I could not be more grateful to receive this opportunity.”
His parents are Luz and Raul Galvan. His older brother, who caddied at Beverly Country Club, also is named Raul.
Galvan caddies at Sankaty Head Golf Club in Nantucket, Massachusetts, some 1,080 miles from Berwyn.
During his freshman year, Galvan learned through the Daniel Murphy Foundation, which pays for his high school education, that he could possibly earn a Chick Evans scholarship.
The program at Sankaty Head Golf Club is a caddie camp, he said.
“It’s been going on a very long time. It’s a really good program. Only 60 caddies are invited each year,” he said.
He caddied there in 2019 and 2021. He missed the 2020 summer because the camp was put on hold by the pandemic.
“Both times were absolutely incredible,” he said.
Being so far from home and his family “took a little getting used to, but the guys treat you like you are part of the group right away. It’s like a brotherhood.”
“I was a little hesitant because golf wasn’t my main sport yet, but you know what [I thought] I might as well give this a shot,” he said of being a caddie. “Naturally, I thought I would be close to home.
“Then they told me about the program because they wanted some new guys. I thought it would be a good opportunity to get away, see another part of the country. I have no regrets.”
Galvan will caddie again there this summer and perhaps a few more, he said.
How can he not when the course “makes you feel like you’re in paradise. You’re right on the ocean. It’s really incredible.”
Galvan was on Nazareth’s golf team the past four years. He also played second base for the baseball team for three seasons.
As a Chick Evans scholarship recipient, he must attend a university that has a Chick Evans House. That’s where he will reside.
Right now, he’s got it narrowed down to five contenders: Illinois, Oregon, Ohio State, Miami of Ohio and Penn State.
He will major in journalism or sports medicine.
“I love reading newspaper articles. I’m a big sports guy,” he said.
“Wherever they end up sending me, I’ll be entirely grateful,” he said. “I’m going to get my college [costs] covered. It’s something not a lot of kids get, so just to receive another four years for free, I’m going to take it.”
An Evans scholar must be a caddie and get good grades. Galvan is par for the course with a 4.08 grade-point average after the first semester of his senior year.
He has long hours as a caddie, but doesn’t mind.
“For me, it’s all about getting better,” Galvan said. “What being a caddie has taught me is dedication [and] hard work. Every time, always, greet the golfer with a smile, a handshake. When I’m on the course, make sure I hustle.
“It feels good to do a good job,” he added.
Nazareth Principal Therese Hawkins in a prepared statement said: “The entire Nazareth Academy community congratulates Saul on this honor.
“Saul is a young man who completely embodies the values of scholarship, service, spirit and unity that we value so highly,” Hawkins said. “We have no doubt he will represent Nazareth Academy and the Evans Scholars in a most excellent manner.”
The Evans Scholars Foundation offers the award to about 200 scholars each year. Most attend one of the universities where the Evans Scholars Foundation owns and operates a scholarship house. At those houses, students live and work together cooperatively.