Everyday Heroes: Eastmoreland golf concessionaires fund gap in caddie-to-college program

Tenzing Norzin had only seen golf on TV before deciding to become a caddie at Eastmoreland Golf Course. (KATU)

When funding for the popular Eagle Caddie Program at Eastmoreland Golf Course was cut, two brothers who've run the concessions at the course for 40-plus years, stepped up.

And now a Franklin High School senior will get to attend the University of Oregon on a full scholarship.

During her sophomore year at Franklin High School, Tenzing Norzin heard about a job opening through school counselors.

The job?

A caddie at Eastmoreland Golf Course.

And if she successfully caddied over two years, making 80 loops on the 18-hole course, she'd be eligible for a scholarship.

“I decided I wanted to take this job opportunity, because I wanted to earn money, but going into it I didn’t know much about this program,” Tenzing said.

The program is called the Evans Scholarship.

Since 1930, more than 10,000 students nationwide received a full-ride to college through the program, with about 33 of them through Eastmoreland Golf Course's Eagle Caddie Program, said longtime general manager, Rob Cumpston.

“Several of the kids that over the years have gotten scholarships, they’re the first in their family to attend college,” Cumpston said.

Due to budget cuts, Portland Parks & Recreation stopped funding the program two years ago.

Cumpston and his brother Clark paid all of Tenzing's wages during the gap to make sure she qualified for the scholarship.

“We decided this was far too valuable a program to let disappear, so we funded Tenzing through our payroll,” he said.

Since then, the Western Golf Association, sponsors of the program nationwide, are funding the Oregon scholars -- three of them at Eastmoreland and another eight at other courses around Oregon.

“Several of the kids that over the years have gotten scholarships, they’re the first in their family to attend college,” Cumpston said.

Tenzing is one of them.

She and her parents and two brothers moved to Portland from India seven years ago.

She will be the first member of her family to attend a four-year university.

And she's learned a lot about golf.

“The first day I was actually really lucky to caddie for a really nice woman,” she said. “She understood that I didn’t know much about golf and she kind of taught me how everything worked out on the course.”

What makes a good caddie?

“What makes a good caddie is you’re respectful to your players and the group, and you’re a good companion out on the course,” she said.

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