Ernie Els Design has achieved the unique distinction of having two of its courses host professional tournaments across four of the world’s four major golf tours in the same week, with Ernie himself teeing it up and making the cut in one of the events.
Albany in the Bahamas was the venue for the PGA TOUR’s Hero World Challenge for the fourth straight year, while the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open, tri-sanctioned between the European Tour, Sunshine Tour and Asian Tour, returned for a second time to Anahita Four Seasons Golf Resort (pictured above) on the beautiful island of Mauritius. There, making his debut in the tournament, Ernie shot rounds of 69, 70, 71, 75 to finish in a tied for 47th.
“It was really exciting to be back,” said Anahita course designer Ernie Els. “This golf course is like an oasis, it looks so beautiful. I haven’t been here since we officially opened the course many years ago and I’m impressed. The course has matured really nicely. And what a setting! Liezl is here with me all week…it’s so relaxing! And it’s nice to see some old friends, get reacquainted with the things that we did here.
“And obviously it’s wonderful to have a tournament of this stature played on our golf course. I know the guys have enjoyed it and I want to thank everyone for playing. Thank you also to Four Seasons Anahita Mauritius for doing such a wonderful job hosting us and, of course, to the European Tour, Asian Tour and Sunshine Tour for helping make this happen. We started this whole project from scratch well over 10 years ago and to be here this week, seeing people enjoying it so much, is very satisfying.”
The golf course at Albany (pictured below), also designed by Ernie, is part of a luxury resort community in the Bahamas jointly owned by Joe Lewis of the Tavistock Group, Tiger Woods and Ernie Els. It 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.
“It was fun for me to be there a few years ago and see the guys playing in tournament conditions, seeing how they handled this layout that we’re all so proud of,” 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.