Ziemer's B.C. Golf Notes: Another Victoria Golf Club caddie lands prestigious Evans Scholarship; Monterey magic continues for Taylor; Former McCleery, Mayfair Lakes pro Pat Dunn passes

Evans Caddie Scholarship Recipient Aleksej Milojevic - Images Courtesy A. Milojevic/Victoria GC

By Brad Ziemer, British Columbia Golf

When he began caddying for members at Victoria Golf Club two years ago, Aleksej Milojevic had no idea how profoundly it would change his life.

He was 15 and as green as the grass he walked on to complete his first caddying loops on the scenic oceanside layout. Milojevic knew very little about golf or life...

“I was one of the most shy people you would meet in your life,” he said.

“I kept to myself, I was not outgoing whatsoever. But having the opportunity to caddie at the club has really helped me open up. I feel so much more comfortable and happy to be around other people. It has really opened up that part of my life. There’s all these wonderful people at Victoria Golf Club who I have a chance to talk to and learn from.”

His caddying is going to allow Milojevic to do a lot more learning. The Grade 12 Mount Douglas Secondary student was recently notified that he had earned a prestigious Chick Evans Caddie Scholarship that will take him to the University of Washington in Seattle this fall. That scholarship, which includes tuition and housing, is estimated to be worth close to $200,000.

“The scholarship is my gateway into studying in America, which is something that has been a goal of mine since I started high school,” Milojevic says. “I never would have thought, especially with my family’s financial situation, that this would be possible. It’s just a dream come true to be able to go and study at the University of Washington this coming September.”

The Evans Scholars Foundation was founded in 1930 with money donated by amateur golfer Charles (Chick) Evans. The foundation has helped more than 10,000 caddies graduate from college. Victoria Golf Club started its Evans caddie program — the only one in Canada — in 2006 and Milojevic is the 12th caddie from the program to earn a scholarship.

Caddies are required to do 100 loops to become eligible for the scholarship. But they also must meet rigorous academic standards and applicants are also judged on their character. They also must come from modest means. In other words, country club kids need not apply.

Victoria GC - courtesy https://www.victoriagolf.com/evans-scholars-foundation

Milojevic started caddying at Victoria Golf Club later than most. Most begin while in Grade 8 or 9. He was deep into Grade 10 when he started. He quickly made up for lost time. “I think I set the club record by caddying 74 rounds in my first year,” he said.

Lindsay Bernakevitch, the head professional at Victoria GC, said Milojevic was a perfect fit for the program. “He is one of our most keen and hardest-working caddies,” Bernakevitch said. “He was not a golfer when he came here, but he picked it up so fast. He’s just an extremely bright kid, an extremely dedicated hard-working kid. He is exactly what we look for in ideal candidates for this program.”

Milojevic plans to do more caddying between now and when he heads south to the University of Washington. He said he feels blessed every time he sets foot on Victoria GC. “Every time I go I am shocked by the absolute beauty of the course,” he said. “It truly is a special place.”

Milojevic has come to know every nook and cranny of the course, which is annually ranked among Canada’s best. He has become particularly adept at finding member’s stray shots. “When a ball goes off line I can usually guess within a metre of where the ball will be,” he said. “Some of the members are impressed and they say I have an eagle eye.”

Milojevic plans to study business administration at the University of Washington. He will live with about 30 other Evans scholars at Scholarship House, which the Evans Foundation opened four years ago at UW. He said he and his family feel they have been blessed by the Victoria Golf Club members and staff. “I could not have done this without their support every day,” he said.

“They’re always asking, ‘hey, how many rounds do you have, how’s it going, are you enjoying your time as a caddie?’ It was super-inspirational and I thank everyone there so much.”

MONTEREY MAGIC: Nick Taylor’s love affair with California’s Monterey Peninsula and the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am shows no sign of waning. Taylor closed this year’s tourney with a three-under 69 to finish tied for 20h. That 69 was Taylor’s 20th straight round of par or better — the longest active streak — at the tournament, which the Abbotsford native won in 2020. Taylor, who earned $88,950 at Pebble Beach, is in the field for this week’s WM Phoenix Open, which boasts a $20-million purse. Fellow Abbotsford product Adam Hadwin and Surrey’s Adam Svensson are also in what is a star-studded field.

DUNN PASSES: Patrick Dunn, a life professional with the PGA of BC who served as the longtime head professional at Mayfair Lakes Golf & Country Club and McCleery Golf Course, has died at the age of 72. Dunn joined McCleery in the early 1980s, where he worked under head professional Alvie Thompson. Dunn joined Mayfair Lakes as head pro in 1989 and remained there until 1997. He returned to McCleery in 1999 and served as head pro until 2012. Dunn is survived by his mother, Bertha Dunn, wife Jacqueline Dunn, son Patrick and daughter Kat Rosene.

MUSEUM FUNDRAISER: Registration is now open for the 33rd annual Golf Classic, which benefits the B.C. Golf Museum. This year’s tourney goes Monday, May 15 at Point Grey Golf & Country Club in Vancouver. Entry is $225 and includes lunch, dinner, tee gift and team prizes. Registration is available at bcgolfhouse.com.

EARLY EXIT: Merritt’s Roger Sloan withdrew during the second round of a Korn Ferry Tour event in Panama. He’s in the field this week as the Korn Ferry Tour visits Bogota, Colombia.

CHIP SHOTS: Josh Horsthuis has left The Harvest Golf Club in Kelowna to join Summerland Golf & Country Club as head professional. . .Shawn Keough is the new head professional at Big Sky Golf Club in Pemberton . . .Kelowna’s Megan Osland was third at a Cactus tour event at Sundance Golf Club in Buckeye, Ariz.