23 April 2019

Volunteer of the week: Stefan Cramers

Name: Stefan Cramers

Age: 31 years old

Residence: Edegem

Club: AGS (Antwerp Golf School)

Handicap: 12.8

 

What do you do in your daily life?

I work as a maintenance technician for Coca Cola, where I first started as an intern. After graduating I wanted to increase my work experience so I stayed.

Besides working, I love playing golf. Some say that I live at AGS as I spend a lot of time here. It started as a hobby and became a passion along the way. At a certain moment, I started as starters captain (coach of starting golfers, the biggest group at our club).
After 5 years of being a starters captain, I switched to Youngsters / Young Adults captain. I myself have been part of this group for several years, but when the previous captain left I was happy to succeed him. We try to meet up with as many young adults as possible and to have fun.

Last but not least, once a year I take part in the “Joyful Theatre Initiative” in Kontich. For years I have been part of the technical team, then I started cooking, and now for 3 years, I started playing theatre myself.

For how long have you been playing golf?

I started playing golf thanks to my parents. My father lives abroad and started playing golf, and my mother quickly followed. I also wanted to try. So, my parents, brother and I started playing golf in 2005 or 2006. I’ve been a member of AGS ever since, in my opinion, the best formula to learn how to play golf and also to lower your handicap.

At the moment I have a handicap of 12.8. During our openings cup (handicap 14.3 back then) I lowered my handicap by 1.5. Training during winter definitely paid off. At the beginning of this year, I set a new goal… Reach handicap 12.8. The season just started and everything is still possible. My pro thinks that I’m even able to lower my handicap to 10 this year. Lots of training and competitions will help me to get there. I made a calendar but I’m concerned that I’ll have to look for a sponsor if I want to stick to it. ( laughs)

What do you like most about golf?

The most important things for me are: having fun, being outside, playing 18 holes and being with friends. My ultimate goal is to get as far as possible. This year there a couple of Mid-Am series planned.

I also planned to obtain my initiator degree. Unfortunately, due to other activities, I won’t be able to find the time.

How did you end up at BKO and why did you want to contribute to this event?

When I saw that the European Tour was coming to Belgium, there was no doubt. I wanted to be part of this event and registered myself immediately as a volunteer. The experience that you gain during the tournament, seemed like a lot of fun. You get the opportunity to watch professional players play from the first row. I even took a week off from work.

When Jochem (Golf Vlaanderen) asked me to be controlling marshal, I immediately – after reading the job description- said yes. Jochem knew me before BKO and knew that I volunteered regularly at AGS for many years.

Last year you also were part of the BKO-family. How was your experience and do you think it was a successful event?

The first experience was AMAZING. As I have said before, I took a week off from work to be part of it. I understood the responsibility that was resting on my shoulders. I had to manage 6 holes. 6 holes, where potentially something could go wrong. I wanted to give all hole captains and marshalls helpful tips and tricks and did this during practice days. I made sure to check all possible landing zones in order to put the spotters in the right place.

I also helped with the finishing touches of the event (building the entrance, hang up signage, unload the material for the volunteers’ tent and so much more). This year, it is my intention to do this all over again.

What were your main duties during BKO18?

I was controlling marshal. Controlling marshals are responsible for a bigger part of the course (6 holes in my case). I am the point of contact/ coordinator for the hole captains. The hole captains then coordinate the hole marshals. Guiding, coordinating and handling adequately are, together with crowd control, some of the most important tasks during the 4 tournament days. Whenever problems occur, acting fast is key, but keeping the best tactful strategy in mind.

What is your most beautiful memory from BKO18?

During the knockout stages, the flights on hole 18 were encouraged by a slow clap and a Mexican wave. This was an amazing moment.

Who was your favorite player at BKO18 and who would you like to see at BKO19?

A tricky question in my opinion. We were all hoping that one of our Belgian players would win. It would be nice if a couple of important/well-known players would take part in BKO19. Adrian Otaegui should be there to defend his title of course.

Did you enjoy it yourself and what made you come back this year?

I absolutely enjoyed it to be part of this big event. Due to the fact that I enjoyed it so much, I even went to the Turkish Open 2018 to work as a Walking Marshal. I was over the moon as I got the opportunity to stand next to Justin Rose, Tommy Fleetwood and Thornbjørn Oleson (thank you Peter van Baekel and Maartje Mex). I also had a nice chat with Thomas Pieters, who player -9 the next day (WOW)!

I didn’t have to think twice when Jochem asked me to be controlling marchall for another year. I had so much fun working at both events, I immediately took a week off at work.

Would you recommend it to others to become a BKO volunteer and why?

I found it to be a wonderful experience, so… YES. Everybody should get this opportunity and gain the experience. You get the chance to be much closer to high-level players than during other events. A nice extra is the volunteer outfit you receive.

What is your most memorable golf experience or club you have played?

This is a difficult question because I’ve played at many courses.
Le National in Paris, Black Mountain & Banyan in Hua Hin Thailand, Carya (by night) in Turkey, Lumine in Spain, … to name but a few.

If you ask me my best golf experience for this year, it’s much easier.
Playing the Pro-Am with Kevin Hesbois, Emma van de Rostyne & Jorgo Mahieu. At a certain moment, Kevin asked me if I wanted to join him for a Pro-Am. My reaction back then was: “Wow, looks awesome, but it depends on the time, the place and the price. In the end, I chose the Pro-Am at Lumine Golf in Spain. 4 days of golf with lots of fun. After 3 days, we took second place (we were even first, after day 2).

What makes BKO unique?

The first 2 days of the “regular” game, followed by the Knockout stages. It’s a tough formula where anything can happen.

Why should everyone come to BKO?

The chance to watch the pro’s play up close.

Also, the Club Knockout is something you want to watch as well! The club champions will experience something one of a kind.

What are you looking forward to the most at BKO19?

The same experience as BKO18. The entertainment, helping the European Tour, the slow claps and Mexican wave, … And I hope to see one of our Belgian players in the final!!