“And if Mr. Ouimet wins tomorrow, it’s because he’s the best, because of who he is. Not who his father was, not how much money he’s got, because of who he bloody is! And I’ll thank you to remember that. And I’ll thank you to show the respect a gentleman gives as a matter of course.” Stephen Dillan delivered those words as six-time U.S. Open champion and golfing legend Harry Vardon in the movie, The Greatest Game Ever Played. Harry was standing up for Francis on the eve of their U.S. Open playoff. 

The Greatest Game Ever Played was a 2005 sports biopic about Francis Ouimet. He caddied at The Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts, and grew up across the street from the 17th hole. In 1913, he entered the U.S. Open there, and, as an amateur, Ouimet took down Harry Vardon in a playoff to win at the age of 20. But Ouimet is only half of that remarkable story.

Some may remember his young caddie, Eddie Lowery, a 10-year-old. Ouimet took a big chance putting a 10-year old on the bag; it’s in that spirit that the Francis Ouimet Scholarship Fund takes a chance on young adults every year.

What Is the Francis Ouimet Scholarship Fund?

Since the inaugural class of 13 caddies in 1949, the Francis Ouimet Scholarship Fund has awarded over $44 million in scholarships to more than 6,500 individuals. While 55% of recipients are caddies, eligibility is now open to high school seniors or college students who have worked for two or more years at a golf course job In Massachusetts. 

So where does the money come from? Among other funding sources, the backbone of the scholarship fund is their Bag Tag initiative. Clubs around Massachusetts sell unique bag tags, and each member’s donation goes directly to support the scholarship. Members are then given tags annually to display their support for the Francis Ouimet Scholarship Fund.

francis ouimet scholarship fund golf employee

The Francis Ouimet Scholarship Fund Changes Lives

The Francis Ouimet Scholarship Fund is the largest independent scholarship fund in New England, and its impact spreads beyond golf. 

Current Suffolk University senior Kelsey Cronin worked the cart barn, events, and the beverage cart at The Ridge Club in Sandwich, Massachusetts, on Cape Cod. She’s studying art history and will go on to a career in the museum space thanks to support from Ouimet’s scholarship. 

Richard Asirifi graduated from UMass Lowell in 2016 and is now a systems engineer on a Navy Base thanks in part to golf and the scholarship he earned. “The lessons I learned on the golf course set me up to have the job I have now … This wasn’t an opportunity I applied for, but my interpersonal skills and work ethic got me recognized.” 

To truly understand the deeper impact the scholarships have beyond tuition dollars, listen to this story from the designer of Old Head Golf Links in Ireland and former Ouimet scholar, Ron Kirby. 

When Ron met Ouimet at the 1963 Fund dinner in Boston, Ron asked if Ouimet would sign his program book. Ouimet obliged and then did Ron one better:

“[Francis] told me to use his name as much as I could, and doing so gave me credibility that helped my career. Having that credential was the seal of approval for me to get my foot in the door because it gave me an edge over the other guy trying to get the job. Francis had the best reputation in golf, so saying I am a Ouimet Scholar carried some weight.”

In 2022, the Francis Ouimet Scholarship Fund will award over $3 million to nearly 400 recipients. Rooted in the history of the game, the scholarship carries on Ouimet’s legacy: taking a chance on something you believe in—especially yourself. 

Join the Legacy of Service and Opportunity

The Francis Ouimet Scholarship Fund showcases the good in golf by helping young adults working in golf pay for college, and, ultimately, it maintains the caddie’s legacy. To learn more about the Francis Ouimet Scholarship Fund or to donate, visit its website.

Bud Copeland

A self-taught stick with a hack brain, Bud grew up playing golf year-round in north Florida. Born-again New England, Bud learned what an “off-season” is. He now lives in Salem, MA with his wife, daughter, two cats, and dog, Miller. He is the sole Y chromosome in the house, believes we did land on the moon and strongly advocates for walk-up music on the first and eighteenth tees.