Ernie’s latest news – 2 May

02 May

Since my last tournament at Hilton Head I’ve enjoyed a really nice couple of weeks off, mostly at our family home in Florida.

As you’d expect, I’ve spent quite a bit of time working on my game and playing some social golf here on my home track, the Bear’s Club. That’s always a lot of fun and as a group we keep things pretty competitive, with a decent wager. It helps focus the mind!

One of the highlights of the last few weeks, and indeed one of the more special days of my life as a parent, was visiting Stanford University for a day last week with my daughter Samantha. She’s worked so hard to achieve this and she starts there in the fall. Liezl and I honestly couldn’t be more proud.

Meanwhile, there’s plenty of news on the golf course design front. Firstly I want to send my congratulations to the team at the Els Performance Golf Academy in Vietnam, which hosted what I understand was a very successful summit last week in association with the Asian Golf Industry Federation. We’re really excited about the facility that we’ve created there, with our partners at Ecopark and Troon, and it’s wonderful that we’re able to demonstrate through events such as this our passion for growing golf in that region and introducing new people to the game. Click here for more information about our EPGA programs.

Over in the UK things are taking shape beautifully at the remodelled West Course, home to this month’s BMW PGA Championship, the flagship event on the European Tour schedule. I wish everyone well for the media day that’s taking place there this week and trust they’ll enjoy the golf course. From the recent photos I’ve seen, and the feedback I’ve had from the guys on the ground, the golf course is looking in amazing shape and I can’t wait to tee it up there in a few weeks’ time. Hats off to the team at Ernie Els Design on the completion of this latest phase of works. Big thanks also to our partners at the European Tour and at European Golf Design.

Finally, before we jump back into the tournament scene, I want to personally thank everyone who supported us throughout Autism Awareness Month and got involved in our various fundraising campaigns at Els for Autism. In particular, a big thank you to RBC for supporting the #4Miles4Autism campaign, which was a big success thanks also to the participation of some of my fellow Tour pros and members of the public. The fundraising total for that campaign was $32,845, so thank you to every one of you who contributed. Congratulations also to Vincent Cole, who was the lucky winner of tickets to the Grand Finale at the wonderful Breakers Hotel in Palm Beach later this year.

If you’d like to be at The Breakers, too, I’d invite you to get involved in this year’s Els for Autism Golf Challenge. The first events on this year’s schedule are coming up very soon and we have many more wonderful venues for you to play between now and September. Please click here for details.

So, moving on to this week. We kicked things off with a golf day in North Carolina with my long-time sponsor SAP and some of their top customers. Thank you to everyone at SAP for the hospitality. As always, it was a pleasure to spend time with you guys.

I’m now looking forward to getting back into the swing of tournament golf at this week’s Wells Fargo Championship. This event is usually held at Quail Hollow, but that club is hosting the PGA Championship in a few month’s time, so we’re at Eagle Point this year. It’s a relatively new golf course, opening less than 20 years ago, but Tom Fazio clearly did a really wonderful job there because I’ve noticed a few players posting some glowing reviews on social media in recent weeks.

From the photos that I’ve seen, Eagle Point has that ‘modern-classic’ feel about it with lots of mature trees, sweeping elevation changes, great bunkering and a variety of water hazards. It looks in incredible shape, too. In terms of its aesthetic and strategic qualities, people are drawing comparisons with Augusta National. That can’t be bad! Anyway, it sounds like we’re in for a real treat. It’s a new week, a new venue on the PGA TOUR, and as always I can’t wait to get started.

Follow me on Twitter @TheBig_Easy.



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