Athletically, Trinity senior Kayla Sims defines herself a track and field sprinter.

After freshman year, golf became her adopted sport when she began working as a caddie at Edgewood Valley Country Club in La Grange.

“My first season, I was so nervous because I didn’t know anything about golf. It seemed so boring, but once I became a caddie, I learned a lot,” Sims said. “I play golf just for fun. I’ve learned more about the game and I can see why people take it seriously now. I have a great deal of respect for the game.”

Recently, Sims was among 12 Chicago-area caddies who were awarded Chick Evans Scholarships, a full, four-year housing and tuition college scholarship based upon academics, financial need and character.

Sims will attend the University of Illinois and major in kinesiology with hopes of becoming a physical therapist.

“To be honest, throughout the whole process I was really nervous because it was a big deal and they select only so many people to even go in and do an interview,” Sims said. “After the interview and the whole process, I was relieved. I was thinking the whole time, ‘What if I didn’t get it? It would just be horrible.’ But I waited patiently and eventually got my letter.”

Sims lives in Chicago and is a Daniel Murphy Scholar, which provides tuition assistance for her to attend Trinity. The caddie job was among the program’s summer employment opportunities, including daily transportation to Edgewood Valley.

The tradeoff was Sims spent the summer in housing at Elmhurst College.

“When the opportunity first presented itself, I didn’t want to do it. My mom kind of pushed me and encouraged me a lot,” Sims said. “At first, it was a hard transition because it’s hard living away from home. It was a big transition, but afterwards I had people with me that made it more fun. It teaches you a lot and prepares you for college.”
The past three years, from early June to early August, Sims has left for work at 5:30 a.m. six days a week. The length of her work days vary, as well as the people she gets to meet – her favorite aspect of the job.

“I couldn’t be more thrilled for her to receive a scholarship. Just watching her grow the last three years as an individual was a pleasure,” said John McVey, caddy master at Edgewood Valley. “She always had a smile on her face when she came to work. Her work ethic was great – what she had to do just to get to work. She certainly put in 100 percent effort.”

“I’ve enjoyed it for the most part. Even days I didn’t feel like working, I knew at the end there was something rewarding,” Sims said. “I think overall I’ve become more independent and self-sufficient because of caddying. I was able to buy my first car. I think the caddie experience itself is pure discipline.”

Sims has competed for Trinity’s track team the past three seasons and twice has been a state meet alternate. Battling her own knee inflammation has influenced her interest in physical therapy.

“I’m fascinated in how people get better and I love helping people,” Sims said.
Last summer, one of Sims’ more memorable golfers found out she was a sprinter. He challenged her to a race – right in the middle of the fairway.

“It was my most fun moment because it was so unexpected — and he was serious,” Sims said. “Yeah (I won). He was pretty old.”

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