Ernie Els has been voted Golf Course Designer of the Year at the 2015 World Golf Awards, part of the prestigious World Travel Awards.
Els, a four-time major winner, World Golf Hall of Fame member and acclaimed golf course designer, triumphed in a strong category of nominees populated by many other high-profile designers including Jack Nicklaus, Greg Norman, Gary Player and Sir Nick Faldo.
Ernie commented, “when I started my playing career, designing courses was a big interest of mine and it was always my intention to follow in the footsteps of guys like Gary and Jack, so to be nominated alongside them and to be voted the winner is phenomenal and a huge thrill. We have a great team of talented, dedicated people at Ernie Els Design and we’re passionate about what we do. It’s all about quality for us. The golf courses that we create are part of my legacy to the game of golf and it’s important to get it absolutely right. I’m sorry I couldn’t be at the Awards Ceremony in one of my favourite places in the world, Quinta do Lago, but I hear it was a great evening and I want to say thanks to everyone who voted for me. It really means a lot.”
This latest award completes impressive back-to-back wins for Els and his team at Ernie Els Design, after The Els Club Teluk Datai (pictured above) took the prize of World’s Best New Golf Course at the inaugural World Golf Awards in 2014. Indeed, the company is on something of a roll. When the Els-designed Albany (pictured below) in the Bahamas hosts the PGA TOUR’s Hero World Challenge this December it will become the fifth course in the Ernie Els Design portfolio to host a professional tour event, following The Els Club Dubai (Dubai Open Golf Championship), The Els Club Copperleaf (Tshwane Open), Anahita Four Seasons Golf Resort (Mauritius Golf Masters and 2016 AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open), and Wentworth’s West Course (BMW PGA Championship).
The World Golf Awards, part of the prestigious World Travel Awards now in its 22nd year, serves to celebrate and reward excellence in golf tourism, world class courses and golf destinations. Votes are cast by professionals working within the golf travel and tourism industry – senior executives, travel buyers, tour operators, agents and media professionals – and also by members of the public.
Speaking on behalf of the World Golf Awards, Managing Director Chris Frost commented, “I would like to congratulate Ernie on this remarkable achievement! Throughout the year a record number of votes have been cast by leading golf tourism professionals worldwide as well as hundreds of thousands of golf consumers in more than 100 countries. Golf tourism’s highest accolade is truly deserved and rewards your commitment to excellence and determination to become the undisputed market leader.”
The formal presentations took place in the Conrad Algarve at the famous Quinta do Lago Resort in Portugal on Saturday 7 November, representing the centrepiece of a three-day itinerary for this prestigious event. Receiving the award was President of Ernie Els Design, Thomas Rubi (pictured below, second from left), who commented, “As one of world’s leading boutique golf design firms, we count ourselves lucky to work with some of the finest developers around the world, who share the vision and passion on bringing truly remarkable golf courses from paper to reality. We take their trust in us seriously, and together have been able to deliver hugely successful world renowned projects.”
About Ernie Els Design
Ernie Els Design is a full-service golf course design company wholly owned by its principal, four-time major champion and World Golf Hall of Famer Ernie Els. The international scope of Ernie’s 70 professional career victories is mirrored in the increasingly global reach of his designs, with signature courses and renovations making an impact in emerging and established golf markets alike. Many Ernie Els Design courses have won prestigious industry awards and hosted professional Tour events.
Ernie Els Design enjoys unique relationships with the world’s finest developers who share the company’s ambitions, creating attractive destinations that adhere to the principles of sustainable development and sound environmental practice. The company employs the most experienced staff – including leading architect Greg Letsche as its senior design associate – and the latest technology from its two offices in Florida and South Africa. With additional field offices in Malaysia and Dubai, the company provides a near 24-hour service and applies the latest technologies and expertise to service its development partners and clients throughout the world.
Currently there are 13 Ernie Els Design courses open for play and another 10 in development, with many more exciting projects in the pipeline. In addition, the company’s portfolio extends beyond the golf course to feature the exclusive Els Club Collection, featuring The Els Performance Golf Academy, Els Club Estates, Big Easy Winebar & Grill, along with an award winning wine portfolio created by Ernie Els Wines in the heart of South Africa’s wine country, Stellenbosch.