Written By: Greg Johnson
FARMINGTON HILLS – Country Club of Lansing caddie Owen Brewer of the University of Michigan and Andrew Hendren of Michigan State University, a caddie at Red Run Golf Club in Royal Oak, are the 2023 winners of the James D. Standish Award.
The award is presented each year to an outstanding Evans Scholar at the Michigan State and Michigan chapters. The Executive Committee of the Golf Association of Michigan established the award in 1968, a year after the passing of James D. Standish, a former champion golfer, GAM and USGA president who helped Chick Evans of the Western Golf Association start the renown caddie scholarship program.
The Standish Award winners have demonstrated scholarship and leadership in their Evans Scholar chapter’s affairs. A permanent plaque that includes the inscribed names of each year’s winners is displayed in the lounge of each campus Evans Scholarship house, and each winner is presented with a replica of the plaque. The GAM will bestow the awards at its spring annual meeting.
Brewer, 21 and an Aerospace Engineering major with a 3.7 GPA, is the first Evans Scholar from the Country Club of Lansing to receive the Standish Award. He said he was inspired by the last three Standish winners from the Michigan Evans Scholar house – Erik Haneberg, Noah Zaatar and Reily Ellis.
“It is such a big capstone on my time here,” Brewer said. “I had great role models in this house and I really tried to make my impact on this place like I saw them make their impact. To be recognized with those three guys is such a great honor. It shows my effort put into growing our community is recognized.”
Hendren, 22 and a finance and psychology double major with a 3.9 GPA, plans to continue his education in law school. He said winning the Standish Award is an honor and he is grateful to be recognized for leadership in the MSU Chapter.
“I love being an Evans Scholar and this is a great way to close out my time as an undergraduate student,” he said. “As I am preparing for the next chapter in my life I will be able to look back on this award as a milestone in my journey.”
During his time at Michigan, Brewer was elected twice to serve on the Michigan Evans Scholars Executive Board. He was vice-president of community engagement in 2021 and chapter president in 2022. Last summer he completed a summer internship as a software development engineer at Apptio in Seattle, and will soon start his career in aerospace engineering with Raytheon Technologies, a missiles and defense company in Tucson, Ariz.
“I’ve already started to look at country clubs out there, specifically ones that have a caddie program,” he said. “I want to get to the point in my life where I can give back to the Western Golf Association and the Evans Scholarship program. I would not be where I am without it. Being an Evans Scholar will always be a part of me and I want to be that person that takes out a caddie at 8 a.m. on Saturday and helps them work toward the same things I wanted.”
The son of former golf professional Benton Brewer, he said he was introduced to golf by his father as soon as he could walk and his father also made him aware of the Evans Scholar opportunity.
“I’ve loved the game since I started and always had the desire to be around it,” Brewer said. “I learned to respect the traditions of the game and became a fan. When I was 12 and I could get $40 for being on a golf course as a caddie I was as giddy as can be. I was motivated early on. It was actually on my 12th birthday when I first started caddie training and going for an Evans Scholarship was a goal the second I stepped on the golf course.”
Brewer said golf is addicting and the most beautiful part of the game that sometimes is overlooked are the values the game teaches.
“As a caddie you learn to be a voice or reason, go for it or punch out, you learn patience, respect and calmness needed to execute in the game,” he said. “I have learned amazing life lessons. They are part of me now. Golf is part of me.”
During his time at Michigan State, Hendren was elected vice-president of finance for the chapter in 2021 and then elected as chapter president in 2022. He also served on campus as the president of the Wealth Management Association and spent two summers as a financial planning intern at Herbert Financial Group in Auburn Hills.
Hendren heard about being a caddie and the potential of a scholarship through Red Run Golf Club when he was in middle school.
“While a scholarship wasn’t something I necessarily was thinking about as a middle schooler, my parents encouraged me to apply as a caddie when I was old enough,” he said. “They explained the benefits of being a caddie compared to other jobs for kids my age, such as working outside, physical fitness, interacting with people. I received such great support from the members at Red Run and learned so much. I was able to get up early and ride my bike to the course and I ended up really enjoying my job and learning to love the game of golf.”
As a caddie Hendren said he focused on carrying the bag and knowing the rules, and he didn’t start playing the game regularly until he was in college.
“I know it’s going to be a lifelong passion and a lot of work, but my swing is improving,” he said. “I’m still in the learning phase. My favorite part of the game is being able to spend time with family and friends on the course. My dad always says, ‘drive for show, putt for dough,’ but a drive right down the middle is my favorite shot.”
He said while he is completing law school and establishing a career, golf will be part of his life.
“One of the things I’m most looking forward to is being in a position to pay it forward to other caddies,” he said. “Caddying was my first job and my first opportunity to earn money. I still remember my first time earning over $100 for a loop. I was 15 and I could hardly believe it. I thought the member had given me too much money by mistake, but that wasn’t the case. I’d love to make someone’s day and put some money in the pockets of young, deserving caddies.”