• Els for Autism: Home stretch

    E4A at Highland Gate
    E4A at Highland Gate

    The scramble to qualify for the Els for Autism golf day final saw plenty of thrills and spills, writes WADE PRETORIUS.

    The Els for Autism roadshow travels to some of the country’s best courses but a trip to Dullstroom was one to tick off the bucket list when Highland Gate Country Club hosted one of the final qualifiers. The drive of nearly two and a half hours from Johannesburg to the Steenkampsberg mountain range is spent in anticipation. No matter the age, a childlike excitement always takes over.

    The Ernie Els design has quickly moved up the ranks as one of the best golf experiences in the country and it was only fitting that a large field
    was treated to a great afternoon out. In the end, it took a count-out to decide the winning pair on 47 points – quite a feat when the next best combination managed only 42.

    The fresh air and on-course camaraderie led to another special evening where the players dug deep to put their weight behind the South African push to spread awareness of those living with autism.

    There was a quick turnaround for the penultimate qualifier at the popular Peter Matkovich-designed Silver Lakes Golf and Wildlife Estate. Golfers came from far and wide to enjoy the day with as many as 140 turning up to test their skills.

    It was a day that had something for everyone. The on-course action was some of the best displayed all year, young Kristoff van Rensburg went
    shirtless in an attempt to escape from a hazard, with 51 points needed to win the overall prize. There was some redemption for Van Rensburg, who walked away with the prize for closest to the pin on the 16th.

    But, like all the fundraisers before, the serious golf talk was quickly shelved for jovial banter. A deck shootout gathered some attention as did the lavish dinner before the legendary auction offered some prized memorabilia.

    For those not lucky enough to book a place at the Lost City for the final, there’s always next year.

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