A cup of coffee with Thibault de Saedeleer

A cup of coffee with the co-founder of the Belgian Golf League.

Matchplay is on the rise. Especially amongst young golfers. A few years ago Belgian Golf League was founded. A matchplay championship between golf clubs. Eleven clubs participated and Rinkven was crowned the first champion with Stefan Quy as top scorer of the League. The formula was a hit and every year more clubs joined in. And as most good golfers are connected with WAMP, a corporation between the two initiatives was evident.


BGL co-founder Thibault De Saedeleer tell us the story.
Christophe Descamps and I came up with the idea in 2017, and it eventually kicked off in 2018. The idea was to create a competition between clubs. Today, our communication agency Kick Up is in charge of the daily management and the development of the league.”


WAMP: Isn’t that what the Interclubs are for?
THIBAULT: True. But the Interclubs are just once a year, which is fine. But for us it was important to be able to play all year ‘round. I’ve always played hockey. The weekly get togethers, the encounters, the excitement. I missed it. The social aspect. After a while you get to know the other players and you’re looking forward to beat them the next time.


WAMP: What is the exact formula?
THIBAULT: It’s similar as to how a football competition is being played. If the Interclubs are the Cup, we’re the League. All clubs play against each other throughout the season. Four players play – lowest handicap first – single matchplay. No strokes. Every player can win one or ½ point. Add these four scores together and you have the club score. The club with the most points, wins 3 points in the ranking, or 1 in case of a draw.
Golf clubs seemed to like the formula. But we experienced a bit of a bottleneck when too many clubs wanted to sign up. That’s when we started talking to WAMP.


WAMP: Always a good idea.
THIBAULT: (Laugh) It sure is. Keeping scores, adding it all up, calculating the ranking and putting it all online…It would have been a lot of work for a small team. But then we noticed that almost every participant had the WAMP app on their smartphone. So if they would post their match on the app, all we had to do is link it to our website and done. Hence why we asked WAMP to develop the digital platform. Now it’s all automatic. It’s amazing. And we now finally have time to focus on the social aspect. The fun part. Plus, we can grow.


WAMP: More divisions?
THIBAULT: Exactly. But not like the Interclubs. Handicaps don’t matter here. No categories, no strokes. Every club must send their best five players, and that’s it. In 1st division, we now have 16 clubs. Clubs who sign up for the first time, will start in 2nd division, with the best 2 being promoted at the end of the season. Last 2 of 1st division will degrade.


WAMP: Indeed, just like in football. Will you have a title sponsor too?
THIBAULT: Well, that is the idea. The …. Golf League. All candidates are welcome. Same for 2nd division.


WAMP: And the ladies?
THIBAULT: Of course. Although at the moment, we only have one Ladies division. But as soon as there are more than 16 clubs who have a Ladies team, we’ll start a second division there too.
We’ll see how it goes. Now that we run on WAMP, a lot is possible.
Like the BGL Corporate. It’s the same concept as the league, but between companies instead of clubs. 16 companies have subscribed so far, which is promising.
Something else that’s new: All teams used to play Home or Away. Now every match day will be on one course, for all teams, which is going to be exciting for supporters. 16 teams competing with their 5 best players. It would mean you get to see the 80 best amateur golfers in the country, whilst you’re cheering for your own club. Those are going to be cool days for golf lovers.


WAMP: And all of this, you do with a staff of three?
THIBAULT: And with your genius WAMP app.


WAMP: That’s such a nice thing to say. When does the competition start?
THIBAULT: 29th May. After the Interclubs. And the final competition day will be on the defending champion’s course, which was Waterloo, on 23rd October 2021.


WAMP: Can we follow the results and check the calendar?
THIBAULT: Sure, you can check everything on our website www.belgiangolfleague.be. We also post all results on Instagram. But we do hope a lot of people will come out to cheer in real-time. ‘Cause that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? Golf is so introvert. A bit of competition spirit, combined with the social aspect, is healthy. It is different from “who has the nicest club house?”, right?


That’s right. Thank you Thibault De Saedeleer. We’re looking forward to your league.


If you want to register your club you can contact Thibault at thibault@kick-up.be