• Els for Autism: Gathering pace

    Els for Autism golf
    Fun and games

    Back-to-back events at Serengeti Golf and Wildlife Estate and Waterkloof Golf Club were a hit, with the final at Lost City just five months away, writes WADE PRETORIUS.

    As the Els for Autism golf series winds its way through the country, barely any time has been allocated to take stock as momentum towards the finale – and the coveted spots at the Nedbank Golf Challenge Pro Am – continues to grow.

    Serengeti, host of the Sunshine Tour’s Tour Championship, welcomed a field of 97 excited participants on a balmy day. The field was kept in check by the presence of UFC fighter Garreth ‘Soldierboy’ McLellan, a keen golfer when not training for a battle in the hexagon. Another celebrity addition to the field was former Proteas batsman Jacques Rudolph, someone with a little more experience of strokeplay as he plays off a nine handicap out of Silver Lakes Golf Estate.

    ‘We have to thank Mark Renwick and his team for all their hard work,’ says Nico van Rensburg, the driving force behind the hugely successful push to help families living with autism.

    ‘To take the event to such a top course helps put us on the map and we are grateful for the support given on the day as we continue to raise much-needed funds for the work done around the country by the E4A centre.’

    The perfectly manicured Jack Nicklaus layout is known for being a wonderful test of golf but the combination of Clint Poppesque and Dave Stanley did not buy into any of the pre-round chatter about how tough Serengeti can be. The duo booked their place at Lost City with a staggering 48 Stableford points, some way clear of their nearest challengers.

    Like all Els for Autism golf days, the action on the course is secondary to the efforts of creating awareness around the charity drive. The golf excitement spilled over into the auction and dinner as the members and guests reached deep into their pockets to raise funds for Ernie’s great cause.

    The 112 players at Waterkloof were not to be outdone as Gerhard Lombard and his team pulled out all the stops in their debut appearance on the circuit.

    The course was found to be in great condition with slick greens and there was more than a gentle breeze on offer. Again, the scoring was found to be out of the top drawer with William Nichols and Christo de Koning walking away with top honours.

    The pair edged out a strong field with 47 points proving more than enough to see them qualify for the final.

    ‘It was a great day out,’ says Van Rensburg. ‘There wasn’t a hint out there that the club was hosting their first day, such was the professionalism from start to finish.

    ‘We always try to generate a good spirit among the participants but we didn’t need to encourage the Waterkloof players to come to the party. They were fantastic and we certainly will be back.’

    HOW CAN READERS HELP?

    Els for Autism funds its centre mainly through golf days, which form part of the ‘Els for Autism Drive to Sun City’. You can enter these golf days:

    27 June: Randpark Golf Club

    17 August: Highland Gate Golf Estate

    3 October: Silver Lakes Golf Estate

    24 October: Ebotse Golf Estate

    30-31 October: Lost City (final)

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