SUGAR GROVE, IL – The Kids Golf Foundation of Illinois is proud to announce Kaneland High School Seniors, Joshua Pehl and Gavin Woods, as the first two recipients of the Arnold Palmer and Jerry Rich Scholarship. The scholarship awards $5,000 to Illinois high school seniors who will be attending an Illinois accredited college or university and have been a hardworking caddie within the state for at least two seasons.
Established in 2021 in honor of the Arnold Palmer Cup hosted by Rich Harvest Farms, the Arnold Palmer and Jerry Rich Scholarship is a joint venture between the Arnold & Winnie Palmer Foundation and the Rich Foundation. The scholarship furthers Mr. Palmer and Mr. Rich’s mission of growing the game of golf and helping young caddies further their educational goals.
“The Kids Golf Foundation was thrilled to take part in this process,” said Michala Mika, Director of the Kids Golf Foundation. “Part of our mission is to provide opportunities for personal growth, and the Arnold Palmer and Jerry Rich Scholarship is a wonderful addition which will help us continue to spread our mission across the state.”
Pehl is a caddie at Black Sheep Golf Club and works part-time at Orchard Valley Golf Course. He decided to solely focus on golf after qualifying for the Drive, Chip, & Putt National Championship at Augusta National when he was 14 years old. His dedication to the sport resulted in him being named MVP from 2019-2021 and co-captain in 2022 for the Kaneland High School Golf Team. He applied for the scholarship after seeing a post about it on the Illinois Junior Golf Association’s Instagram page.
“I saw ‘Arnold Palmer’ and ‘Jerry Rich,’” he said. “I thought, ‘There’s a lot of good things associated with those names.’”
Woods was even more familiar with the name ‘Jerry Rich,’ being a third-year caddie at Rich Harvest Farms when he heard about the scholarship. As a Boy Scout and Kaneland golfer who recently earned Academic All-Conference and Golf All-Conference, he felt it was especially tailored for him. Besides being a high school student, an Illinois resident, and a regular and successful caddie for at least two seasons, the scholarship also requires recipients to demonstrate excellent character, leadership, responsibility, and academic achievement. Woods credits caddying for helping him fulfill the criteria.
“I’ve learned how to get out of my comfort zone, talking to a lot of new people,” he said. “It gets me to experience the world so I can talk to people without getting nervous.”
Likewise, Pehl knew he would not be where he is today without the positive impact of golf.
“It’s taught me about patience. It’s taught me about success. Enjoying the process and having fun with it. I’d love to compete at a high level and play well, but, if I’m having fun along the way, enjoying the process, and learning life lessons—that’s what’s important.”
Pehl will attend Illinois Wesleyan University for Accounting with a minor in Spanish, building on his time in Kaneland’s World Languages Club. Woods will enroll at Waubonsee Community College for two years before transferring to University of Illinois – Chicago and eventually getting into the medical field. Both caddies will continue their golfing careers as well, having made their respective collegiate teams.
“Mr. Pehl and Mr. Woods are wonderful young men who truly deserve this scholarship,” Mika said. “Their accomplishments, their character, and how they conducted themselves throughout the entire process was quite impressive. Mr. Palmer and Mr. Rich would be proud.”
Pehl and Woods were honored to receive the scholarship and viewed the accomplishment as a chance to be role models like Mr. Palmer and Mr. Rich.
“We were very excited,” said Kristen Pehl, Joshua Pehl’s mother, when asked her thoughts on her son receiving such a prestigious scholarship. “The fact that it’s ‘Arnold Palmer’ and ‘Jerry Rich’ really means a lot to our family, and to [our son] specifically to carry on that name of ‘Arnold.’ He was an amazing person, and [Joshua] always looked up to him. Rich Harvest Farms too has done so much for the community around here, so that goes a long way with us as well.”
“We’re grateful and it’s just such an honor to be associated with Mr. Rich and Mr. Palmer because we’re such huge golf fans,” added Alan Pehl, Joshua Pehl’s father. “We couldn’t be prouder.”
If you or someone you know is interested in applying for the Arnold Palmer and Jerry Rich Scholarship for 2023, please visit the Kids Golf Foundation website at https://www.kidsgolffoundation.org/scholarship-opportunities/ for more information.