Avon, Indiana — Simbarashe “Simba” Hlupo picked up caddying at Hillcrest Country Club a couple summers ago.
Hlupo was first introduced to golf by his father who fell in love with the sport while in Zimbabwe and later in the United States with the rise of Tiger Woods.
“Golf and everything, I thought it was boring sport,” Hlupo said. “But as I came into caddying myself, golf, it really changed my mindset into how I approached the sport in general.”
The teen from Avon knew the long-term potential of the job.
“First, I had to keep up with good grades, obviously, for the scholarship, but then also had to show that I had great character,” Hlupo said.
This year, he earned a full-ride scholarship to Indiana University through the Evans Scholarship program. It helps hardworking caddies who thrive in the classroom and could use financial support.
“Simba just didn’t have a lot of golf exposure, which is absolutely fine and things that we can teach him, but his hard work and just that attitude that he brought every day and the big smile that he puts out there, it’s just been a joy to watch,” said Chandler Shirer, who oversees the caddie program at Hillcrest.
The summer job helped ease some of the financial burden of chasing his dream.
“I wanted to be a neurosurgeon since I was in kindergarten,” Hlupo said.
Simba’s parents are immigrants from Zimbabwe and struggled financially at times when their son was growing up.
“This is one thing that we used to tell him, you know, we don’t have money,” said Julia Wenjerie, Simba’s mother.
“The only thing that’s going to happen by the time that you graduate, you’re going to owe some money because you’re going to have school loans. You have to do good in school, that’s the way you can get scholarships.”
When the Western Golf Association called Simba’s parents to tell them their son had been selected, it was a moment they’ll never forget.
“For me, it is a dream come true,” said Wenjere. “This is all I want for my kids.” his really gives me peace of mind.”
Simba will attend Indiana University this fall and plans to study neurology.
“For me to get this scholarship, it really lifted a great weight off my shoulders,” Hlupo said. “Knowing that I can go through college, knowing that is paid off and focus more on how I should approach my school, rather than how I should approach it financially.”
Simba will join three other Evans Scholar recipients from Hillcrest Country Club headed to college this year.