Norton, MA —- At the 1913 US Open at The Country Club in Brookline, Francis Ouimet, a 20 year old caddie, defeated two of the greatest British golfers of all time in a playoff. Not only did he win, but he did so with 10 year old fellow caddie Eddie Lowery carrying his bag. This victory was a catalyst for golf in America, and began a lifelong amateur career that is still one of the best ever, as well as a lifelong dedication to helping young people. To honor the man that was credited with sparking the boom in American golf, a scholarship fund was created in his name in 1949 to help those who had worked as caddies obtain higher education. What was known then as The Francis Ouimet Caddie Scholarship Fund is now known as the Francis Ouimet Scholarship Fund. While the premise remains the same, it has expanded to those who work on the grounds staff or in pro shop operations, as well as caddies.
In 1949 the inaugural class had 13 members, each receiving on average just over $350. Today, with over 325 current scholars, the average student receives $6,000 towards college expenses. In total, the Fund will have awarded $19.2 Million to over 4,500 scholars over 60 years! In the last five years alone, the Fund has more than doubled its total scholarship dollars awarded from $700,000 in 2004 to $1.5 Million in 2008.
With the financial needs of college students continuing to rise every year, and now with the credit crisis and loans drying up, the Fund is stepping up its efforts. To coincide with the 60th Anniversary, the Fund is increasing its Bag Tag to $60, up $10 from last year’s amount. The Bag Tag program is the backbone of the Fund, and with the help of the 90 Bag Tag sponsor clubs, this will help to increase the average award for the scholars.
Aside from the Bag Tag program, the Fund runs the largest golf marathon in the United States, as well as what is believed to be the world’s largest golf dinner. The Fund also oversees its subsidiary, the Francis Ouimet Society, which is a membership group that holds outings to raise money for the Fund, and is celebrating its 40th Anniversary this year. The Fund also runs a prestigious amateur tournament, The Ouimet Memorial, which began in 1968, the year after Francis died. The operation is a complicated one, but one that is navigated by a small staff of five, and with an administrative expense ratio below 7%, an exemplary number on par with any comparable charity.
For information regarding the Fund, please call 774.430.9090 or visit www.ouimet.org.WHAT'S YOUR REACTION?