When Xeve Perez was two and visited Toys ‘R Us with his parents, he immediately headed for the plastic golf club section. During some of his first days on the golf course, he would play three holes, get a bottle, and then take a nap. Before the age of 3, Xeve won a closing tournament at a camp he was initially told he was too young to participate in. Instead of cartoons, Xeve grew up watching instructional shows on the Golf Channel.
Now 11, the youngster nicknamed ‘X-Man’ has won more than 250 golf tournaments over the past eight years, made appearances on national morning shows and is considered one of the best golfers around. country’s juniors.
With his teenage years still ahead of him, Xeve could also be the youngest golfer to team up with a major golf brand, establishing a long-term partnership with OnCore Golf. The company has been supplying young Xeve with his golf balls for years, ever since he shared a photo of himself on social media and tagged OnCore when he was 5½.
But the new official partnership is not limited to golf balls. It’s about allowing Xeve to pursue her passion and helping her parents, Miguel and Christine, make that dream a reality. Miguel spent 33 years in the military as an Army Ranger and didn’t even really start playing golf until Xeve fell in love with the game. Christine homeschools Xeve from a van from conversion the family purchased to allow them to travel to golf tournaments in their home state of Georgia and beyond.
“When you have a kid as talented as him, you often see parents being overbearing and making that kid’s dream their dream. I can honestly say that Xeve loves golf,” said OnCore co-founder Bret Blakely. “The passion is in him. The personality, the caring nature, the courteous approach that he takes not only to the game, but to relationships with everyone he meets, it’s genuine. We are really become like family with the Perezes. It’s such a bond between us. Now it’s getting to the point where this kid is getting to the age where I can’t wait to walk the course with him and see him compete at some increasingly higher levels.
The founders of OnCore first met Xeve when he was 5 years old, when all the company owned – and was known for – was a hollow metal ball. They traveled to Georgia after seeing a pint-sized Xeve holding one of their balls and saying how much he loved it. When they arrived in Georgia, they met a kid with a pure swing beyond his years. They also met a youngster who exuded genuine kindness beyond his years, with a personality and politeness that caught them off guard.
“It was one of those things where I said, ‘Wow, this kid is special. It doesn’t matter what he does,” Blakely said. “At this point, we hadn’t developed a touring ball. Nothing in the relationship at the time contemplated golf. We didn’t even know if the company would exist the following year, let alone 6 or 10 years later. It was more that there was a really good bond immediately and we were excited to watch young Xeve’s journey and see if it was something he was going to pursue.
It wasn’t until years later that Blakely and the OnCore team approached Miguel for more support. Yes, Xeve continues to use golf balls from OnCore, currently playing with the Vero X1, but the partnership allows for so much more – from making sure the family can get to tournaments to making sure he can play during practice rounds at competition venues. instead of being cold. OnCore and the Perez family did not disclose specific terms of the partnership.
As Miguel and Christina hear inevitable questions about whether Xeve is too young to have a deal like this in place, they try to disconnect from the noise outside.
“It’s just an everyday passion,” said Miguel Perez. “We just watched the movie The greatest game ever played for the 600and time because he likes it. So how do you say enough is enough? Most of the time, we have to tell him if you don’t do that or if you don’t clean your room, we take the sticks out. With that kind of passion, how can it be too much? It’s the only thing he wants to do. We will have to put on the earmuffs and continue to help him and continue to feed him. Fortunately, we have help from great people. It’s about Xavier and his dream.
Miguel’s military background might evoke similarities to the father of another former prodigy. But really, the only time Miguel played was when his Army buddies forced him to. So how did Xeve get into the game and get his dad to play too? It didn’t hurt that their home at the time was on the tee of 6and hole of a golf course in Louisiana.
“I saw everyone there hitting balls and having a good time. I became hypnotized by the game. I just fell in love with it, sir,” Xeve said exitingly during a chat peppered with “gentlemen”.
To say Xeve is serious about the game is an understatement. He has a long game coach in Charlotte and one of his short game coaches is in Alabama. After his home schooling ends around 1 p.m., he will often play and practice golf until the sun goes down. He typically competes against teens and adults rather than kids his own age, including playing regularly in a boys’ group, and in 2020 was the Georgia State Golf Association’s Player of the Year in the 12-a-side division. at 14 at the age of ten.
Last year, Xeve became the youngest golfer ever to compete in the International Junior Masters, advancing to the semi-finals after beating two highly ranked juniors (aged 17 and 18) and finishing at third place. The tournament was held at East Aurora Country Club outside of Buffalo, New York, not far from OnCore headquarters, so Blakely and other OnCore team members were there in person to see his 280 drives. at 285 yards in the middle of the fairway. They also got to see Xeve’s infectious personality rub off on the other attendees.
“A lot of these other kids, they are very high-strung. They are nervous, they want to play well, they are laser focused. Xeve is focused, but he does it differently,” says Blakely. “On the second hole, these kids who were all alone, without saying anything, Xeve makes them smile. It improves them because it relaxes them. At every hole we went, you saw other children shouting: “Hey Xeve, how are you playing today? It is special. To be able to turn your competitors into companions in the middle of the competition, I don’t know if there are many people who can do this.
Although polite and kind – he always takes off his hat and shakes hands with new people he meets – Xeve is also a fierce competitor. The family’s overflowing trophy box is proof enough.
And if you ask Xeve about a bad day on the golf course, he’ll tell you he never had one. It’s certainly not for lack of days either.
“The only problem we have is that when he wakes up, Xavier is already ready to leave. Christine and I sometimes look at each other and say, ‘Okay, whose turn is it today to take her on the course?’ said Miguel laughing. “He’s ready every morning and he has an agenda on what needs to improve. Often we force it, yeah, but we force it that it is do not is going to play golf, that he is going to do something with the family.
Xeve Perez, 11, joins an eclectic mix of OnCore ambassadors, a roster that includes Gary Player, 86 and nine-time major champion, as well as NFL stars Josh Allen and Ezekiel Elliott, billionaire financier Charles Schwab, golf tour -artist Tania Tare and professional golfer Eric Compton.
Blakely says he knows other companies could potentially provide “life-changing opportunities” for Xeve and her family that OnCore likely wouldn’t be able to match. He’s had those talks with Miguel, but right now his focus is more on whether young Xeve can pursue his dream of becoming a professional golfer. After going through his daily schedule, the youngster shifted gears to speak optimistically of a day greeting family and friends as he walked the fairways of Augusta National, not far from the family home in Georgia .
“If something should change, we would agree. But we feel very lucky,” Blakely said. “Because of the relationship we’ve built, they know we’re not here to make Xeve money. We’re here to make sure Xeve has every opportunity to succeed and become who he wants to be, whether it’s golf, college, whatever. There are a lot of good golfers who just don’t succeed because they just don’t have the right opportunities available to them.
“It was really fun to be part of Xeve’s journey.”
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