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Xavier Aerts (43) – volunteer GC De Wijnvelden, hosting hole 2.

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Hello Xavier, tell us a little bit more about yourself. Who are you, where are you from and which club are you member of?

I’m Xavier Aerts, 43 years old and I’m living with my wife Ilse, daughter Mayté and son Matthew in the lovely village of Hofstade, situated between Mechelen and Zemst. Hofstade is known for its large ‘Sport Vlaanderen’ recreational domain.

I’m member at GC De Wijnvelden, which is a short 9 hole course. I have the luxury of living within a somewhat equal distance of 3 other golf clubs (Brabantse Golf, GC Kampenhout & The National). I chose De Wijnvelden, as it was a start-to-golf school, they have a great driving range and I appreciate the flexibility of being able to squeeze in 9 holes in an acceptable time and not having to worry about tee time reservations.  It’s not an easy course though. The slightest mishit is punished.

I am also a passionate active member of Golf IT United, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this season!  All members are professionally affiliated with the IT industry. Its great to network with like-minded golfers and it give me the change of playing at various full 18 holes courses in and around Belgium.

 

What do you do in your day-to-day life?

I work as an IT Director Europe, Middle East & Africa for Edelman, which is a leading global communications marketing firm, helping business and organisations evolve, promote and protect their brands and reputations. It’s a very international job, which I love very much.

 

For how long have you been playing golf and what’s your current handicap?

Along with three neighbors, I started about 8 years ago. My handicap is way too high still. It’s work in progress and I’m hoping to drop below 18 (one day 😉 ).

I really hope that we will be offered much more qualifying options to increase your chances posting good rounds, just like these options exist in other countries. Taking a day off to play a tournament during the week or give up your weekend  is not always possible or appreciated by your family. That’s the Achilles’ heel of the game, it can take so much time! It’s enjoyable for yourself but a hard sell if your family aren’t playing themselves.

 

What do you like most about golf?

I could say a lot of words about this! Being with friends or like-minded company in beautiful outdoor conditions, is probably the number one for many golfers. But I also like a personal challenge, and rest assured, golf is quite a challenge. It’s incredibly difficult but oh so addictive! You can have a total off-day but there will be this one flush drive flying past 200 meters in the middle of the fairway, this super long clutch putt or a chip-in to save par or better. And exactly those endorphins continuously drag you back to the course and make you want to do better, as you know you could pull it off. Now you just need to pull it off on every hole!

 

What was your most beautiful golf experience or course that you played at?

While being on holiday I’ve played a few courses, these are usually bathing in sun and under perfect conditions. But, I have to say that Belgium really has beautiful courses. I really like Royal Golf Club du Hainaut in the French part of Belgium and in Flanders I really like Royal Limburg Golf (Houthalen) and Rinkven – where the BKO will take place.

I’d love to play at Lofoten one day (or night!) under the northern light in Norway; the Tracian cliffs in Bulgaria and Pebble Beach in California, as well.

 

How did you end up at BKO and why did you want to cooperate?

I responded to the call for volunteers through Golf Vlaanderen. I like following golf tournaments – unfortunately media coverage in Belgium is not what golf deserves, in my opinion. You have to consult the websites from the European Tour and the PGA Tour, but often content is geotagged and not available for everyone. The call for volunteers for a European Tour even on Belgian soil was just a unique opportunity I didn’t want to miss. It even got better when I got offered to become hole captain!

 

Who is your favourite player and why?

Obviously I am a fan of our three Belgian Bombers; Nicolas Colsaerts, Thomas Pieters and Thomas Detry.    Since Nicolas was our only man out when I picked up the game, I started following him more closely and he’s still my favorite. I think I just like his relaxed Brussels attitude; ‘The Dude’ suits him well. I also like his swing style.

 

What are you looking forward to the most during the event?

The overall experience of being on the front row of a European Tour event and ensuring my team and myself are making hole 2 the best marshalled hole of the BKO!

 

What makes BKO unique, according to you?

I really like Keith Pelley, CEO of the European Tour. He’s open to new formats and I really think golf needs it. Every game could have the potential for drama like the Ryder Cup usually offers. The BKO will bring together the most popular formats in one event, strokeplay and matchplay. I think a format like this could become a game changer for the game of golf.

 

Why should everybody go to BKO?

It is just a unique experience on Belgian soil. We don’t have a plethora of top golf tournaments like they have in the UK or the US. Even as non-golfer you should come to get a taste of the atmosphere. Don’t miss out on the opportunity!

 

The organization for volunteers for the Belgian Knockout is organized and coordinated by Golf Vlaanderen, in close liaison with Rinkven International Golf Club & PietersProductions. Besides the organization for volunteers, Golf Vlaanderen will commit to the promotion of the Belgian Knockout, to enthuse as many non-golfers as possible, for golf and the event.