All the latest news and stories from the world of golf, Ernie Els Design, Ernie Els Wines, and across Ernie’s various philanthropic interests.
1. Two Ernie Els-designed courses hosting TOUR events in the next month
Later this month, Albany in the Bahamas (pictured above) plays host to the PGA TOUR’s Hero World Challenge for the fourth straight year. Meanwhile on the very same week, another of Ernie’s signature designs, Anahita Four Seasons Golf Resort, welcomes the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open for a second time. Ernie will in fact make his debut in this tri-sanctioned tournament between the European Tour, Sunshine Tour and Asian Tour.
“I’m really looking forward to playing in the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open,” said Ernie, who is an International Ambassador for the Asian Tour. “It was a privilege to design this golf course and we’re thrilled with how it has matured in the past 10 years. One of its strengths is that we were able to maximise the visual impact of the surrounding scenery, but at the same time preserve the coastline’s natural beauty. The hole routings move in and out of the trees, along the water, and back, giving players great variety and magnificent views of the ocean. It’s going to be a lot of fun playing it in tournament conditions.”
Albany, the luxury resort community in the Bahamas jointly owned by Joe Lewis of the Tavistock Group, Tiger Woods and Ernie Els, is nestled within 600 oceanfront acres on the southwestern end of New Providence island and is fast becoming known as the ‘Monaco of the Caribbean’. When the event was brought to Albany for the first time in 2015, it was the culmination of lengthy discussions with Joe Lewis and his team.
“Mr Lewis is a man for whom I have such a lot of respect and I was thrilled to have the opportunity to work side by side with him,” said Ernie. “In the initial site visits at Albany with our head of design, Greg Letsche, we quickly developed a vision of a links-style layout. We felt those types of playing conditions and shot values would suit its proximity to the ocean, where the wind would make the course play different from one day to the next. It’s worked out really beautifully.”
Ernie has also spoken previously about the positive reactions he’s received since the golf course opened in 2010. “We’ve had some wonderful feedback from people who have played the course; members of places like Shinnecock and Pine Valley – serious golfing connoisseurs – who just want to keep playing the course over and again,” said Ernie. “They’re very impressed. So too are a lot of my fellow tour professionals who have been to Albany, bought homes there, play the course and even use the incredible short game facility as preparation for The Masters at Augusta. Trust me, Albany is that good!”
To date, five golf courses in the Ernie Els Design portfolio (Albany, The Els Club Dubai, The Els Club Copperleaf, Anahita Four Seasons Golf Resort Mauritius and Wentworth’s renovated West Course) have now hosted professional Tour events. “It’s an accolade that we’re obviously very proud of,” said Ernie.
For more information please visit the website: ernieels.com/design.
2. Els Energy Bar aims to take a bite out of the sport snacks market
Ernie this month launched his latest lifestyle venture, the Els Energy Bar, suitable for golfers and athletes who crave sustenance to maintain optimum performance. The range debuts with a Chocolate Peanut flavour, followed soon by Oatmeal Raisin Yogurt.
“As a professional golfer I’m obviously aware of the need to have ‘gas in the tank’ when you’re playing golf, otherwise your performance can suffer,” says Ernie. “The Els Energy Bar fulfils that need; they taste great and they also give you a hit of energy that helps you stay the distance, whatever sport you’re playing.”
Ernie has revealed that the concept for this product has actually been in the pipeline for quite some time. However, it was only after a long period of research that The Els Group finally settled on a partner, Green Earth Beverage, a Florida-based company that has for some time enjoyed success in the golf snack bar business.
“We spent a lot of time with the guys at Green Earth,” adds Ernie, “we did a lot of tasting sessions, which was fun! It was also very informative. The result is we feel like we’ve come up with the best-tasting sports energy snack bar currently on the market. It really packs a punch in terms of nutritional value, too.”
The Els Chocolate Peanut bar is 50g per serving. Each bar has 220 calories, 10g of protein, 7g of dietary fibre and 26g of total carbohydrates. The bar is gluten free.
For more information, please visit the website: https://elsbar.com.
3. Ernie shares designs for the future at The Els Club Malaysia
Ernie took time out of his schedule while on-site during the PGA Tour’s CIMB Classic in Malaysia to meet with Stephen Havrilla, The Els Club Malaysia Group General Manager, and his team to get an update on the progress of his signature designs in the country. They discussed a wide range of topics, from golf course maturation to Ernie’s future visits, helping to establish, in the eyes of the designer, the strategic vision for each of The Els Club Malaysia locations.
“I’m extremely proud of The Els Club Malaysia,” said Ernie. “The courses have turned out really well and the team there are doing a fantastic job. Stephen updated me on how well the courses have progressed since I was last there and the news was very positive. The courses are so strong at The Els Club Malaysia that I truly believe the sky is the limit for the destinations, and I’m already planning my next trip out there!”
Stephen Havrilla, The Els Club Malaysia Group General Manager, said: “It’s always great to catch up with Ernie. Amazingly, despite his busy schedule, he’s very hands on with all of his ventures and wants to hear first-hand how we’re doing, so it was a pleasure to give him an update. We spoke about our plans for the future and his feedback was very positive, so we’re looking forward to welcoming him back as soon as possible.”
During his visit, Ernie was also updated on the progress of Desaru Coast, home to The Els Club Desaru Coast. The destination gradually opened its components this year, beginning with the Riverside retail village in June, followed by the Desaru Coast Adventure Waterpark in July and the Hard Rock Hotel Desaru Coast in September. This follows the commencement of operations of The Els Club Desaru Coast’s Ocean Course in September 2016 and the Valley Course in March 2017.
The updates were shared by Roslina Arbak, Chief Executive Officer – Destination Resorts Southern Region and Phil Whitaker, Chief Commercial Officer & Chief Executive Officer Integrated Themed Parks & Attractions of Themed Attraction Resorts & Hotels Sdn Bhd.
The Els Club Malaysia, managed by Troon’s International Division, is comprised of two world-class golf locations in separate locations, each utilising its natural surroundings to create a breath-taking setting for golf. In the north, upon the picturesque island of Langkawi, is The Els Club Teluk Datai. Home to the Ernie Els-designed Rainforest Course, Teluk Datai has earned a reputation amongst the world’s very best courses, with a testing design nestled amongst ancient Malaysian Rainforest that will test every standard of golfer. The facility boasts world-class facilities and is accompanied by outstanding accommodation and off-course activities to offer a comprehensive proposition for the golfing tourist. In 2014, The Els Club Teluk Datai was voted the ‘World’s Best New Golf Course’ at the inaugural World Golf Awards. In 2016, it became the first golf course in the Ernie Els Design portfolio to feature on Golf Digest’s prestigious top-100 courses list.
In the South East, upon the shores of the South China Sea, is The Els Club Desaru Coast, a 45-hole facility with two championship courses designed by Els and his close friend, Vijay Singh. Els’ Ocean Course is an open, expansive design with many of the holes offering a view of the scenic coastline. The course takes inspiration from a traditional links with large rolling greens and testing run off areas aimed to challenge the short game.
The Valley Course, the inspiration of three-time major champion, Singh, offers a different aesthetic, built on a dramatic piece of land, the course owes much of its character and challenges to the sheer undulations and smaller greens.
For more information visit www.elsclubmalaysia.com.
4. Ernie Els Wines toasts its latest awards and high ratings
Ernie Els Wines Proprietors Blend 2016 has received a 5-star rating from the prestigious Platter Wine Guide, South Africa’s definitive wine buying guide. It was also crowned ‘Red Blend of the Year’, another in a long line of accolades for the winemaking team.
“Huge congratulations to [head winemaker] Louis Strydom and Leander Koekemoer and their respective teams for crafting yet another world class wine,” commented Ernie. “You guys are doing such a wonderful job.”
The Proprietors Blend has always been a special wine as it is the purest expression you will get of Ernie Els Wines in a bottle. A blend of all of the cultivars planted on the Estate, it is a true reflection of the meticulous attention to detail that is paid to the vineyards and the wine in the cellar.
“The 2016 is medium to full-bodied and the wine is strewn with black fruits, exotic spice and chards of dark chocolate. Spicy oak melts into a dense, powerfully-fruited and structured core. The majority Cabernet Sauvignon gives a cassis purity and salty edge, while the Shiraz component adds a meaty, savoury and spicy edge. The blend is rounded off by the remaining Bordeaux cultivars in a complexity explosion from start to finish. It is exquisitely textured and finely tuned, the 2016 will open up over the next five years and age for a decade or more.” – Roland Peens, Wine Cellar
Adding to this, below is a summary of accolades we have received on all of our current vintage wines…
Ernie Els Signature 2014
Top 10 South African Red Blend over the past 10 years according to:
2018 SA Wine Cellar Classification
93 Points – Tim Atkin
93 Points – Wine Magazine
Gold – IWSC – London
Proprietors Cabernet Sauvignon 2015
94 Points – Tim Atkin
Veritas Double Gold
Proprietors Syrah 2015
92 Points – Tim Atkin
Ernie Els Cabernet Sauvignon 2016
Gold Outstanding (93+) – IWSC – London
Double Gold – Vitis Vinifera
Ernie Els Merlot 2015
91 Points – Wine Spectator
Ernie Els Big Easy Red Blend 2016
92 Points – Wine Magazine
Ernie Els Big Easy Chenin Blanc 2018
Gold – Vitis Vinifera
For more information please visit the website: ernieelswines.com.
5. The Big Easy Winebar & Grill wins best restaurant at Hilton awards
The Big Easy Winebar & Grill Durban by Ernie Els was announced as ‘Restaurant of the Year’ within Hilton Middle East, Africa and Turkey (MEAT) region at their annual Food and Beverage Conference 2018 held in Durban. This year Hilton Durban hosted the annual MEAT Food and Beverage Conference, which took place from 22-26 October. The conference, which hosted over 180 members from across the food and beverage division, focused on key issues of developing talent within the sector, female diversity in the workplace, mindful leadership, along with a focus on new developments and Food and Beverage trends in the hotel restaurant sector.
“This is the most important conference for the food and beverage division and we are honoured to have hosted this year’s conference in Durban,” says Markus Fritz, Hilton Durban General Manager. “It was a fantastic week and we were delighted to hear that our very own Big Easy Winebar & Grill Durban by Ernie Els won the Restaurant of the Year award, acknowledging the hard work that the team puts in, to deliver a quality product and world-class service to our patrons.”
The theme for this year was #KYFMEA (Keep Your Focus Middle East Africa) and global Hilton leadership addressed the conference. President of Hilton Worldwide MEA and Turkey, Rudi Jagersbacher, welcomed delegates to the conference, reminding them of why it is an honour to be part of the Hilton Family and to focus on our values, deliver guest experience, grow loyalty and satisfaction. Vice-President Operations of Africa and Indian Ocean, Jan van der Putten, and other Vice President’s representing the other sub-regions within MEAT also addressed delegates on regional food and beverage priorities for 2019.
Fritz added, “We are delighted with the outcome of this inspiring week and had this great opportunity to showcase the Hilton Durban, the city of Durban and were left with some motivating words for 2019 from the Director of Culinary Europe, Middle East & Africa, Ciaran Hickey who said – “Our vision is to be the benchmark of excellence in food and to be the employer of choice for culinary talent.” And from Senior Director of Food and Beverage Operations Europe, Middle East & Africa, Christian Gradnitzer on Hilton’s commitment to a more responsible future.
Hilton Hotels and Resorts remain the stylish and forward-thinking global leader of hospitality helping to make traveling easier with their smart design, innovative concepts, authentic hospitality and commitment to the global community.