—Image courtesy of the Western Golf Association
It looked easy enough on TV. But when Colorado Springs native George Solich picked up his first golf club, he could barely control it. It was a little too long for his nine-year-old frame and wasn’t intended for use by a leftie. He never expected that moment to tee off into a lifetime connection to the sport.
Today, Solich is the general chairman of the BMW Championship (part of the PGA Tour's FedExCup Playoffs, which is headed to Cherry Hills Country Club from September 1 to 7). Soon after picking up that first club, Solich began caddying at the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, eventually becoming an Evans Scholar. The “education through golf” program provides housing and tuition scholarships to “deserving” caddies across the United States; it’s funded, in part, by proceeds from the BMW Championship. With two degrees under his belt (one from the University of Colorado Boulder, the other from CU Denver), Solich eventually became an oil-and-gas magnate. He credits golf as the starting point for much of his success. “Without being too dramatic, I would tell you that getting the Evans Scholarship changed the whole course of my life,” he says. “I have four brothers. We were a lower-middle-class family, and a college education wasn’t guaranteed.”
For Solich, September’s BMW Championship is more than just a golf tournament. It’s the lifeblood of the Evans Scholars Foundation. Each year, 15 to 20 percent of the foundation’s total annual funds come from the BMW Championship—money that covers college attendance for 840 Evans Scholars each year. “This is about giving back to the Evans Scholars Foundation and to the game of golf for all that it’s given me,” he says.
So when those 70 pro golfers convene on Cherry Hills, they’ll be doing a lot more than playing a revered course for a nice purse. As Solich likes to say: One golfer wins, and 840 caddies do, too.