The pattern of me playing better than I scored, which has been the story for much of the last 18 months, continued in my last two events of 2017, the OHL Classic at Mayakoba in Mexico and the RSM Classic at beautiful Sea Island Resort in Georgia.
It’s been a disappointing year results-wise and that is frustrating because, as I said, I feel like my game has been in better shape than the scores suggested. The consistency hasn’t been there, though, and the consequences of that are obvious. Still, I’ll be working hard over the off-season to try to give myself the best chance of making a strong start to 2018. My next tournament will be the BMW SA Open in mid-January, where I’m on hosting duty as well as playing. That is always a very special week. There’ll be opportunities for me to tell you more about that nearer the time.
For now, I want to turn attention to some of my off-course endeavours because we’ve had a run of good news stories in recent weeks. I have a really great team of people around me, which is obviously one of the keys to success in any business, so it’s nice for me to be able to give them a bit of a shout-out here and publicly congratulate them on their efforts.
First of all, it’s been a wonderful year for Ernie Els Wines. The team continues to do a great job at the winery in Stellenbosch, the heart of South African wine country, and that’s reflected in some of the recent industry accolades bestowed on many of the wines in the portfolio. Click here for the full list. As you’ll see, the critics are really loving our wines!
The Els Club Desaru Coast’s Valley Course, which opened earlier this year, also had some great news last week when it was voted ‘Best New Course in Asia Pacific’ at the recent Asian Golf Awards. This latest recognition adds to the tally of awards that The Els Club Malaysia brand has received in recent years. In this latest accolade, the judging panel were taking into account various factors such as course design, golfing experience and overall customer service, so it’s an award that reflects the many great qualities at The Els Club Desaru Coast. You can click here to read the full story…and perhaps book a flight to Malaysia and check out this incredible resort for yourself. Trust me, you’ll love it.
You may recall that earlier this year we also celebrated the official opening of The Big Easy Winebar & Grill in Miami, which was a great night, and since then the restaurant has been a big success. Customer feedback has been strong and the local media in Miami have given us some great reviews. I think one of the standout features, from what I hear at least, is the number of special events and promotions that the team have been running all year. That’s really engaged with the public on a big scale. The latest initiative is the Barrel Club, which has many great perks including a personalised wine cabinet, complimentary bottles and discounts on the extensive wine list. For more information, and to make a reservation at The Big Easy Miami, visit the website: http://www.bigeasy.miami.
Last but not least, after 15 events around South Africa, our 2017 Drive to SA Open series reached its conclusion last week with a grand finale at the Ernie Els Design layout Highland Gate. It sounds like it was an eventful day, with some seriously wild weather. Four of the players – Eben Kruger, Francois De Jager, Paul Janse Van Rensburg and his son Paul Junior – even got struck by lightning! Not sure they signed-up for that, but happily they were fine.
Anyway, even though there were some rain delays on day one, everyone made the best of it and then enjoyed a fantastic night, hosted by Dan Nichol and Nico Van Rensburg, with singer Monique Steyn providing the entertainment. The second day started bright and early at 7am, with everyone having to play 27 holes to decide the winners. Big congrats to Bobby Woodbourne – still playing nicely at the age of 85 – and his partner Karl Straszacker. They win a place in the BMW SA Open pro-am in January. I’ll see you guys there!
So, it’s been a very successful series and I send my personal thanks to everyone who took part in the 15 regional events and to the golf clubs that hosted us so well. Thank you also to our sponsors and to my old friend Nico Van Rensburg who ran this whole show. Next year, he tells me the grand finale is moving to Sun City, the week before the Nedbank Golf Challenge, so that’s going to be amazing. In 2018 we also welcome new sponsors Sun International and Imperial KWS Logistics. It’s going to be bigger and better than ever so we hope you’ll be able to join us at one of the events. We’ll announce the schedule in the New Year.
Okay, that’s about it for now. I’ll write again soon. In the meantime, you can follow me on Twitter @TheBig_Easy.